Attention, Anglophiles: Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens will star opposite Harry Potter alum Emma Watson in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Since Stevens requested that the Downton writers dispatch Matthew Crawley from the popular BBC show, he has flexed his acting muscles, starring as a drug trafficker in Walk Among the Tombstones, a potential murderer in The Guest and a cross-dresser who dabbles in smoking pot in the online show High Maintenance. Now it seems Stevens will return to a more debonair character, as a prince cursed to be a beast, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It will be his most high-profile role to date.
Watson, too, will re-enter the spotlight with Beauty and the Beast. After retiring Hermione Granger in 2011, she has starred in smaller films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring and made the occasional brief appearance in summer blockbusters like This Is the End.
Disney looks to be bringing together an all-British cast for the film, plucking stars from the most popular English franchises. Welsh-born Luke Evans, who starred in The Hobbit and the last Fast & Furious movie, is in talks to play the villain, Gaston. The studio similarly chose British leads for the live-action Cinderella movie, which opens March 13 and stars Game of Thrones' Richard Madden and another Downton Abbey actor, Lily James.
The company set in motion a plan to remake several of its classic animated films as live-action movies after the Sleeping Beauty-inspired Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, grossed $758.4 million worldwide last year.