When a director like Christophe Gans takes charge of a fairytale adaptation, you know things are not going to be like Disney’s version of the story. Gans has directed some superb films over his career, including Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill and Crying Freeman and he also directed one of the segments of horror anthology Necronomicon. Needless to say, Gans directing Beauty and the Beast is a very exciting project indeed.
Add to the fact that the truly amazing French actor Vincent Cassel is playing The Beast, we have ourselves a film to really look forward to. The rather lovely French actress Lea Seydoux (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Midnight in Paris) is naturally playing the Beauty of the title, and we now have our very first look at the two characters. Also revealed is a directors statement by Gans, who also wrote the film, and here is the statement:
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the adaptation of a story by Madame de Villeneuve. Published anonymously in 1740 as La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins, it paints a portrait of Belle, a joyful and touching young girl who falls in love with the Beast, a cursed creature in search of love and redemption. In 1760, a condensed children’s version was published. It was from this version that Jean Cocteau and then Walt Disney drew their famous adaptations. Overshadowed, the original version by Madame de Villeneuve has never been adapted for the screen… until now!
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the story of a family going through a crisis, having lost all of its possessions when the father was ruined. The encounter – at first terrifying, but then voluptuous – with this mythical Beast provides our characters with an opportunity to get back on their feet. I like to think that this film is a metaphor for the situation that is currently afflicting the world. That is one of the advantages of fairy tales, to present an ensemble of values that endure through the ages.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST speaks, among other things, of the power of dreams and love over materialism and corruption – a theme more topical now than ever. It was time to pay tribute to Madame de Villeneuve’s story: an amazingly contemporary tale, in which the poem of love is also a message of hope.