As fans worldwide celebrate the 30th anniversary of the beloved animated 1991 classic, Disney+ announced the greenlight of a limited musical series, “Beauty and the Beast” (working title) from Disney Branded Television and ABC Signature.
An eight-episode prequel to the 2017 live-action film, “Beauty and the Beast” will star Luke Evans (“The Alienist”) and Josh Gad (“Frozen 2”), reprising their roles as Gaston and LeFou (Louie), and introduce Briana Middleton (“The Tender Bar”) as Louie’s stepsister, Tilly.
“Beauty and the Beast” is developed, executive-produced and written by Gad, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (“Once Upon a Time”), each serving as a co-showrunner. The series’ creative team also includes Tony Award-nominated director Liesl Tommy (“Eclipsed,” “Respect”), who has come on board as an executive producer and will direct the first episode.
The project will feature an original soundtrack from the EGOT Award-winning composer Alan Menken, who will also serve as executive producer, and lyrics for the first episode will be by Oscar-nominee Glenn Slater (“Tangled”). Production will begin in spring 2022.
Set in the iconic kingdom of “Beauty and the Beast” years before the Beast and Belle’s epic romance, the series will follow Gaston and LeFou as they set off with LeFou’s step-sister, Tilly, after a surprising revelation from her past comes to light, sending the unlikely trio off on an unexpected journey filled with romance, comedy, and adventure. While the mysteries of the past are uncovered and the dangers of the present grow, old friends and new enemies reveal that this familiar kingdom harbours many secrets.
“For anyone who’s ever wondered how a brute like Gaston and a goof like LeFou could have ever become friends and partners, or how a mystical enchantress came to cast that fateful spell on the prince-turned-beast, this series will finally provide those answers…and provoke a whole new set of questions,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Branded Television.
“There are few more precious gems in the Disney library than this iconic franchise, and this prequel is both a love letter to what’s come before and its own spectacular adventure,” commented Jonnie Davis, president, ABC Signature. “Josh, Eddy and Adam’s vision gives us a window into the origin of Luke’s Gaston and Josh’s LeFou with the twist of a new partner in crime—Tilly, played by the luminous Briana Middleton. This dream team would not be complete without the genius Alan Menken returning to write even more glorious music for the franchise he helped create. We’re so grateful to Gary, Ayo, Michael and everyone at Disney Branded Television and Disney+ for their unwavering support. We cannot wait to start shooting.”
“For three decades, this tale as old as time has inspired generations of fans around the world,” stated Michael Paull, president, Disney+ and ESPN+. “We can’t wait to welcome our guests back to the magical and musical world of “Beauty and the Beast” for an all new chapter with LeFou, Gaston, and a fantastic new cast of characters.”
Gad, whose recent credits include starring roles in “Avenue 5,” “Marshall” and “Central Park,” is currently in production on Peacock series “Wolf Like Me.” Evans is currently filming the lead role in “Echo 3,” the Apple drama series for Mark Boal and was recently cast as the lead role in Hulu’s “Nine Perfect Strangers.” Middleton will be making her feature film debut in Amazon Studios’ forthcoming George Clooney-directed adaptation of “The Tender Bar,” based on the memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning Writer J.R. Moehringer and is currently shooting “The Last Will and Testament of Charles Abernathy” for Netflix.
“Beauty and the Beast” is executive produced by Gad, Kitsis, Horowitz, Menken and Tommy and produced by Evans. Gad, Kitsis and Horowitz are co-showrunners and writers for the limited series. The soundtrack will be released by Walt Disney Records.