17 magical facts about "Beauty and the Beast" that are heartwarming tales as old as time
As a landmark in cinematic history, Beauty and the Beast will always be one of our most beloved films. And when Disney’s Beauty and the Beast hit theaters 25 years ago today, we instantly fell in love. Of course, we’re not the only ones to recognize its greatness, because Beauty and the Beast went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) and was the FIRST animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And in 2002, the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry selected it for preservation.
Basically, Beauty and the Beast is Disney’s greatest film.
And while we know the story and music like the backs of our hands, here are some magical facts you may NOT have known about this landmark film.
1. Paige O’Hara, aka the voice of Belle, recorded the ENTIRE film in one day.
Although she and the filmmakers did come back many times to add and change things, particularly once they cast Robby Benson as Beast a month later.
2. Gaston looked REALLY different in early sketches for the film.
Lead animator, Andreas Deja, described his initial design for Gaston as much more classically “European.”
3. It was actually producer Jeffrey Katzenberg’s (then, a Disney executive) idea to make Gaston more classically “handsome.”
Until then, Gaston still looked more traditionally villainous.
4. Supervising “Belle” Animator, James Baxter, studied the movements of ballerinas.
He really wanted to nail the graceful movements required for Belle.
5. The color of Belle’s iconic ballroom dress was decided over…PIZZA?!
The movie’s creators were having a late night at work, drinking and eating pizza and, as producer Don Hahn recalled, “It donned on me it was just a bunch of guys eating pizza deciding what every girl is gonna wear on Halloween for years to come…it was sad.” LOL.
6. Everyone in the recording studio cried when Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts) sang her first take of “Beauty and the Beast.”
And this take subsequently became THE take that made it into the film!
7. The original version of the “Beauty and the Beast” song pitched to Angela Lansbury apparently had a more “rock” feel.
Angela said she took the song and re-recorded a sample for the studio in the style more like what SHE felt it should be. And, yes, that’s the version we all know and love today.
8. There’s a deleted song called “Human Again,” and you can hear it right here.
This song was replaced in the original theatrical release with “Something There.” But it was re-added to the movie for its 2002 IMAX Special Edition and DVD/Blu-Ray releases.
9. Gaston’s glorious chest hair almost looked like weird, long, wavy locks.
Supervising animator Andreas Deja handed off that scene to one of his animators and it came back looking “strange.” And, obviously, that’s not the version that ended up in the movie.
10. There’s actually a foreshadowing shot in Belle’s book that she’s reading at the fountain.
You can see a brunette woman in a blue dress (like Belle!) and a handsome prince (charming) in front of a castle!
11. Paige O’Hara went through FIVE auditions to land the part of Belle.
She kept trying to alter her voice in each audition, but the filmmakers finally convinced her to just use her natural voice.
12. Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson (Beast) actually ad-libbed a lot of their dialogue.
They were heavily encouraged by the filmmakers!
13. It took 600 animators and artists FOUR YEARS to complete the film.
For comparison’s sake, 20 seconds of animation would take one week.
14. The animators literally ran up and down the hallways with a massive cape to study the movements of it for Beast.
They wanted the action to be as life-like as possible.
15. Supervising Animator, Glen Keane bought a stuffed Buffalo head from a taxidermy store for his office.
He felt he wanted to REALLY HAVE the presence of Beast in his workspace.
16. Angela Lansbury has a massive collection of teapots IRL. Seriously.
But mainly because lots of people sent her those teapots during the time that the film came out.
17. And finally, there was an early UNFINISHED screening of the film in September 1991 (two months before the theatrical release).
It premiered at the 29th New York Film Festival as a work in progress with 1/3 of the film unfinished! That last part was shown only as storyboards and artwork, but Beauty and the Beast STILL received a standing ovation.
Because of course it did!
If there’s anything that can stand the test of time, it’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Happy 25th anniversary!