Disney movies and Broadway are just an obvious pairing. The
Bonjour, Disneyheads! Here are some things you may not have known about the classic 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast. This list features guest appearances from Sir Patrick Stewart, Tim Curry, and… Regis Philbin?
- The man behind Lumiere’s overexaggerated French accent–hon hon hon–is none other than Jerry Orbach, who played the grizzled Detective Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order for 13 seasons. DUN-DUN.
- An unfinished version of Beauty and the Beast premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1991, where it got a 10-minute standing ovation despite the fact that approximately 30% of the film was still storyboards and uninked pencil tests.
- Beauty and the Beast lyricist Howard Ashman, who eventually won an Oscar (with composer Alan Menken) for its titular song, never saw the finished film–he died of AIDS-related complications eight months before its release. The film is dedicated to him.
- Beauty and the Beast was the animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Only two films have been since: Up and Toy Story 3.
- The Beast was never given a name in the film or any subsequent sequels, and in directors’ commentary he’s referred to simply as “The Beast” or “The Prince.” However, the officially licensed 1998 video game The D Show refers to him as “Adam.”
- The role of Cogsworth was written for John Cleese, who turned it down. Sir Patrick Stewart passed as well due to scheduling conflicts with Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- This is the first Disney film to have a pop version of the main song over its ending credits.
- Despite its legendary status, Beauty and the Beast is only the 41st highest-grossing animated film of all time; films that made more than it include Cars 2, Shrek Forever After, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Thanks, inflation.
- Laurence Fishburne, Val Kilmer, Mandy Patinkin, and Tim Curry were considered for the voice of The Beast. Regis Philbin auditioned for the role as well.
- The smoke seen when the Beast transforms to the Prince at the end of the film is real smoke, not animated, and was originally used in Disney’s The Black Cauldron. The animation of Belle and the Prince dancing at the end of the film was similarly repurposed from Sleeping Beauty due to time constraints.