Angela Lansbury, who voiced the role of Mrs. Potts in the 1991 international hit animated film Beauty and the Beast, recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about that motion picture and the forthcoming live-action version of the Disney classic.
The five-time Tony winner said the original film, which also featured the voices of Robby Benson, Paige O'Hara, and Jerry Orbach, will remain a classic because the world of animation has changed since Beauty was released. “Ever since Toy Story, I think was the first time when they used a different process, and they were no longer drawing each movement of each character individually, as they did then,” the original Mame explained. “They don’t do that anymore. So it’s a very rich, extraordinary piece of work in every respect, from that point of view. It’s a treasure. A legendary treasure as far as cartoon work is concerned.”
About the upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast, which will feature Emma Watson as Belle opposite Downton Abbey cast member Dan Stevens as the Beast, Lansbury said she initially thought, “’Why? Why are we doing this over again?’… But they are, and it will be interesting to see what they do with it. These are live action pieces and I know very well the actress who’s playing Mrs. Potts and she’s a very good friend of mine. It’s Emma Thompson.”
“I can’t understand what they’re going to do with it that will be better than what we’ve already done,” Lansbury added. “And how they’re doing it live — it may turn out to be very entertaining and wonderful. It won’t be like the cartoon that we did, but it’s a good story — it’s one of the famous fairy stories that is known worldwide by children. Therefore, why not? I don’t blame them for doing it. But, I’m sorry, they’re not really on our territory. We did it as cartoon characters, and that is quite different from live actors.”
Beauty and the Beast is scheduled to be released in 3D March 17, 2017. Also featured are Luke Evans (Gaston), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Audra McDonald (Garderobe), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Josh Gad (Le Fou), Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), Kevin Kline (Maurice), Stanley Tucci (Cadenza), and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette).
The 1991 Beauty and the Beast film featured songs by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. The 1994 Broadway musical had additional songs by Menken and Tim Rice, who penned lyrics for the new songs for the forthcoming live-action film.
Watch Angela Lansbury perform the title song at a recent event celebrating the film's 25th anniversary:
Watch the trailer for the upcoming film below: