Beauty and the Beast: The Challenges of Adapting a Classic

On The Business, Kim Masters sits down to talk with the Bill Condon, director of the 2017 remake of the classic Disney film Beauty and the Beast. One of the many interesting things that Masters and Condon discuss through the thirty minute podcast is how much freedom Disney gave to Condon during the production. Masters questions Condon about whether the “giant [Disney] machine” pressured him to keep the film within a certain form or the characters portrayed in a certain way due to Disney’s need to reproduce them for theme parks and merchandising. Surprisingly, Condon is adamant throughout the interview that Disney was very open to his ideas and did not pressure him throughout the entire production, even in the controversial depiction of Disney’s first gay character; moreover, Condon states that in some ways he was even more protective of the film staying true to the original in many ways as he was apart of the generation that was able to see it in theaters. One thing that Condon made clear throughout the interview was that even though he felt this connection to the animated film, he believed that as few things should be CG as possible, so that they could further differentiate themselves from the original animated film and keep this film feeling more grounded in reality. Not surprisingly, this led to some huge sets being constructed with Condon claiming some could take up to five minutes to walk across. This interview felt similar to Masters interview of the Zootopia directors a few weeks ago as both films were given tremendous  financial and creative support by Disney of their filmmakers and the rewards that these relationships between studio and filmmaker can have as Zootopia grossed over $1 billion and Beauty and the Beast grossed over $175 million in its opening weekend.

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