March 4, 2015 9:28 PM EST 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. Read more: 10 Things Beauty and the Beast’ s Belle and Harry Potter’ s Hermione Have in Common
] THR Meet the Voices of the Disney Princesses Anna: Kristen Bell
Best known for her role as Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell plays Anna, the younger sister of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen. Although Anna will not be officially added to the pantheon of Disney princesses until she’s inducted in an official ceremony at a later date, Bell was nonetheless excited for the part. “Oh, I was in glee.” Bell said in an interview with wegotthiscovered.com. “I have always wanted to be part of a Disney animated feature. I grew up watching all of the old Disney musicals, and was especially obsessed with The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. It had always been my dream as a little girl to be a Disney princess, like it is everybody’s.” Disney; Imeh Akpanudosen—WireImage Elsa: Idina Menzel
Fans of Broadway and Glee will instantly recognize Idina Menzel. The storied thespian was part of the original casts of Rent and Wicked as Maureen Johnson and Elphaba respectively. She also played Shelby Corcoran, Rachel Berry’s mother, in Glee. Like Anna, Elsa will not be officially known as a princess until the character is inducted at a later date. Disney; Imeh Akpanudosen—WireImage Merida: Kelly Macdonald
The Scottish actress made her movie debut in the cult classic Trainspotting and played Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 before voicing Merida, the first Disney princess produced by Pixar. Disney; Todd Williamson—Invision/AP Rapunzel: Mandy Moore
The Grammy-winning pop star made her music debut with the single “Candy” in 1999. Ten years later she was singing a different tune as a Disney princess. “To be a Disney princess in a Disney film, it really has been a total dream come true.” said Moore in an interview with SheKnows.com. Disney; Brian Dowling—PictureGroup/AP Tiana: Anika Noni Rose
It was Anika Noni Rose’s lifelong dream to work for Disney. “Since I was a little kid I wanted to work for Disney—and I didn’t need to be the Princess! I would have been a tick or a flea!” The Tony Award winning actress got her wish when she was chosen to voice Tiana in The Frog Princess. In 2011, Rose would also be inducted into the Disney Legends, a hall of fame for those who have made a significant impact on the Disney legacy. Disney; Todd Wawrychuk—Disney Channel/Getty Images Mulan: Ming-Na Wen
The Chinese-American actress made her television debut on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1985 as a Royal Trumpeter and starred in The Joy Luck Club as June Woo before she became the voice of Mulan. She currently plays Melinda May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Disney; Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage/Getty Images Pocahontas: Irene Bedard
Born in Alaska, Irene Bedard is of Inupiat, Inuit and Métis descent. Bedard was not only the voice of Pocahontas, animators also incorporated some of her facial expressions into the character. Disney; Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage/Getty Images Jasmine: Linda Larkin
“Aladdin was my first big job, and it definitely opened a lot of doors for me,” Larkin once said. “I think being the voice of Princess Jasmine has given me an extra advantage in getting some of the jobs I’ve had—although sometimes they find out about me being Princess Jasmine after they’ve hired me, and that’s always fun!” She would continue her acting career on TV series such as Wings and Law & Order: Criminal Intent and was honored as a Disney Legend in 2011. Disney (2) Belle: Paige O’Hara
Paige O’Hara auditioned for Belle five times before she got the role. “I had been a Disney fanatic from the time I was little,” O’Hara once said. “As soon as I heard about the project, I called my agent and said, ‘I have to be seen for this.’ She would go on to have a musical career spanning the opera and Broadway and was inducted into the Disney Legends in 2011. Disney; Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage/Getty Images Ariel: Jodi Benson
Jodi Benson’s goal was always to make it to Broadway, but along the way she beat out over 500 other actresses to become the voice of Ariel. She was also the voice of Barbie in Pixar’s Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 and also became a Disney Legend in 2011. Disney; Jordan Strauss—Invision / AP Aurora: Mary Costa
Mary Costa’s first professional singing job was as the voice of Aurora. “I really had no experience, but by the time the movie was released, I was singing in the opera. It was a very fast, exciting time for me.” Costa would go on to perform in 44 operatic roles throughout the United States and Europe and joined the Disney Legends in 1999. Disney; Disney/AP Cinderella: Ilene Woods Ilene Woods lucked into the role of Cinderella by singing “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” and “So This Is Love” for her songwriter friends Mack David and Jerry Livingston. Walt Disney heard her recordings and hired her to be the voice of Cinderella. Woods would be honored as a part of the Disney Legends in 2003. Disney (2) Snow White: Adriana Caselotti
More than 150 girls had already auditioned for the role of Snow White before Adriana Caselotti was chosen to voice the first Disney princess. She recalled in 1987, “I’d never worked in show business before (Snow White). I feel very blessed. Not everyone gets the chance to be part of a genuine classic like Snow White.” Caselotti would also be inducted into the Disney Legends in 1994. Disney; AP More Must-Reads From TIME Meet the 2024 Women of the Year Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment In the Belly of MrBeast The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap How Long Should You Isolate With COVID-19? The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time