Walt Disney Productions
With Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast already in production, it’s been strange not knowing who is playing Lumiere. Well, now Variety reports that an actor has finally been cast in that role of the butler-turned-talking-candlestick: Ewan McGregor. He is said to be still at the negotiation stage, though, and I wonder if he’s a late choice for the project.
Maybe director Bill Condon and company were really indeed trying to lock Patrick Stewart for the part, as it would have reunited the actor with his BFF and fellow X-Men star Ian McKellen, who is playing Cogsworth the clock. McGregor is great and all, but he’s a real disappointment in the context of our dreams here. We don’t even know if he’ll have good chemistry with McKellen and may not find out until we actually sit down to watch the movie.
What we do now know is that Lumiere, who was voiced by the late Jerry Orbach in the 1991 animated version, will also not be portrayed by actress Hattie Morahan. She was named as being present at the movie’s first read-through by the cast, according to McKellen’s own report. But we didn’t know then nor do we yet know now who Morahan is actually playing. She’s not Plumette, the feather duster, a part we recently learned went to Belle (unrelated) star Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Perhaps Morahan will be Belle’s mother, who like most Disney moms is dead in the original feature?
We know McGregor can sing, thanks to Moulin Rouge and all the training he was put through for that movie, so we can at least look forward to hearing him belt “Be Our Guest” and other tunes, possibly including the new numbers written specifically for the remake by Alan Menken and Tim Rice. In the 1991 version, Lumiere sang “Be Our Guest” with Mrs. Potts, who this time will be played by Emma Thompson. The duet will sort of be a reunion for McGregor and Thompson, who both appear in Nanny McPhee Returns.
In addition to McGregor, Variety separately reported today that Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games) has also joined the ensemble. His character, a neurotic piano named Cadenza, is newly created for the movie.
Beauty and the Beast, which stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the title pair, is due in theaters on March 17, 2017.