MANILA, Philippines — A two-hour animated and live-action hybrid special of the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast” will be airing this December to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary.
The “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” special will feature never-before-seen musical performances, brand new costumes and set designs all inspired from the original French fairytale.
A cast for the special is yet to be announced, but songs from the 1991 animated film will be performed in front of a live audience at Disney Studios where the special will be shot.
“Crazy Rich Asians” and “In The Heights” director Jon M. Chu serves as one of the special’s executive producers alongside director Hamish Hamilton.
Chu considers the original animated movie a gamechanger and had watched it multiple times during its opening weekend, “It showed me the outer limits of what animated artists and storytellers could achieve.”
Disney had done a similar special for “The Little Mermaid” — another special directed by Hamilton — which had “Moana” actress Auli’i Cravalho, rapper Shaggy and Queen Latifah performing songs from the 1989 film.
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“Beauty and the Beast” was one of the peaks of Disney’s renaissance era and was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, a feat that would not be repeated until 2010 and 2011 for “Up” and “Toy Story 3.”
The titular characters were voiced by Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson, and the film would go on to win Best Original Score and Best Original Song for the title track at the 1992 Oscars.
A live-action remake was released in 2017, this time with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the lead roles. They were also joined by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline.
“Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” will air on December 15 on ABC in the United States, and will be available for streaming on Disney+ the following day.
Chu is currently preparing for the film adapation of the Broadway musical “Wicked” starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, which was recently announced to have two parts in order to do justice to the original material.
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