Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' Co-Producer Steve Gaub On Future Disney Sequels & How They Shot 'Be Our Guest' Musical Number

BeautyAndTheBeast BeOurGuest behindthescenes

Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the live-action adaptation of the studio's animated classic, was a massive hit at movie theaters, and now the movie starring Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor and Dan Stevens is available on Digital HD, Blu-ray™, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand. Co-producer Steve Gaub reveals some of the behind the scenes details of the Disney movie and hints at possible follow-up to the highly successful film.

In 80 days since its release, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has earned over a $1.2 billion nationwide. Did Disney imagine in their wildest dreams that a live-action remake of the classic animated film could top the original?  

“It was intimidating just because the first one did so well, and more importantly it was so beloved,” co-producer Steve Gaub tells CineMovie. “We were mostly nervous about making sure that Disney would feel proud of it and all the die-hards would embrace it because if we didn’t have them, we probably wouldn’t have succeeded. But I think we got them, and then everything else fell in place. It was incredibly creatively rewarding.”

Aside from his co-producer role, Gaub’s responsibilities were expansive when he joined the Bill Condon-directed remake in late 2014. He had a hand in everything including storyboarding, the visual effects as the VFX producer and the post producer focusing on sound and editorial. His primary goal was to ensure the director’s vision hit the screen.

Josh Gad Couldn't Tame The Beast in 'Beauty and the Beast'

Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast

Adding to that vision was actress Emma Watson who plays Belle. When Emma Watson signed on to play the iconic Disney character, she had her own idea how to modernize Belle even more so than the original. The former Harry Potter star told Entertainment Weekly before the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST theatrical release that it was important to bring more of a feminist side to Belle. As the former UN Women goodwill ambassador, the actress and activist has often spoken out about gender equality and education through books. She wanted to reflect that in the backstory to Belle. The 2.0 Belle is now an inventor and urges little girls to read. How did Emma’s input fit into Disney and Condon’s well-laid plans?

“Her notes were good. They were right and they were timely,” says Gaub of the changes Emma suggested. “She wanted a Belle for the 21st Century. She wanted someone who is inventive, progressive and opinionated in a good way, and intelligent and sort of looking to claim for herself. She wanted to make Belle her own as much as possible.”

Watson’s fans fell more in love with the 27-year-old actress for that portrayal and she gained new admirers.

Watch Emma Watson Sing in 'Beauty and the Beast

Feminism wasn’t the only upgrade. Technically, Disney and Bill Condon’s team achieved the impossible in mixing live action with a partially animated musical number with inanimate objects. How do you get knives and spoons to sing and dance while the room spins? Gaub explains that scene was the most time-consuming in what he calls “people hours” and comprehensive in scope. Ninety percent of that sequence was shot in-camera which means there was not much animation. He breaks down the process and the starting point.
 
Before the technical aspect came into play, Condon and choreographer Anthony Van Laast watched dance videos throughout history on YouTube for inspiration. Dancers were brought in and the production recorded their moves which were later used by the animators to animate Lumiere, Lunette and the rest of the household objects’ dance numbers.

Then came the technical part. How would they combine live action elements with moving objects? A technodolly was brought in to record the room. The technodolly is a motorized telescopic crane that moves with precision using keyframe programming and a hand held record button. (Watch a technodolly in motion) https://vimeo.com/123751722

“We took the room into the computer. We took everything that technodolly could do into the computer and everything was pre-animated and then set coordinates basically into the camera dolly and crane and hit play, “ says the VFX producer. “And it executed millimeter precision to the camera moves in our room that was getting actual theatrical lighting. It was a massive stage production that we happen to be filming, and then we had to place the CG characters into it.”

The result was an awe-inspiring sequence with Ewan McGregor singing is heart out as Lumiere, and the most memorable scene from the live action film.

Given the success of the movie, Gaub confirms Disney is mulling over its options for a follow-up.

“There’s been talk. There was talk in off shoot characters or those popular spin-offs. There was talk of prequels. There was talk of a few ideas for a sequel. It’s out there but I’ll leave it to Disney to decide what they ultimately want to do.”  

In the meantime, enjoy those repeat viewings when Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST arrives on Digital HD and Blu-ray June 6th with three ways to watch the movie - the original theatrical cut, the premiere cut with overture, and a musical experience with a sing-along version.

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