As Beauty and The Beast slowly comes to our big screens in a few months, the people behind the musical number Be Our Guest gave some sneak peeks of the intricate concept art that went through behind the scenes.
Who can forget the musical number of Lumiere as he leads the household staff in welcoming Belle in the enchanted castle? In the live-action adaptation, filmmaker Bill Condon faces big challenges in making the sequence “very real.”
It is challenging to direct a choreography for inanimate objects and singers and dancers that are not actually there behind the scenes. What ensued is six months of planning, over a month of shooting the first and second unit, and then a year to stitch everything together. All that for a four-minute musical number.
Condon guesses that Be Our Guest’s concept art is “far up there in terms of most intricate and elaborate musical numbers ever shot.” The budget for the single number alone costs more than the entire budget of Mr. Holmes, Condon’s 2015 mystery/crime film.
The choreography of the musical sequence needs to be done by a real choreographer, of course. Beauty and the Beast’s choreographer Anthony Van Laast from Mamma Mia! admitted that he never once imagined he would make dance steps for a candelabra, a clock and a teapot. Well, someone had to do the job.
Giving some sneak peeks of the concept art behind the sequence’s dancing, Laast reveals it is a “huge number to choreograph using animation.” They choreography used pre-viz, or previsualization, which Laast admits he did not know anything about before. Therefore, he had to go on a short course to learn what it is in order to conduct the choreography for Be Our Guest.
On the other side of the spectacle is Ewan McGregor who voices Lumiere that had to do mo-cap while wearing a “skintight suit” and “very stupid hat.” And since many people want to watch behind the scenes, he just felt too uncomfortable doing it and joked he had to “get everyone out.”
Condon says it is “the most intricate thing” he has ever worked on, but from the sneak peeks, Emma Watson who plays Belle says the number “looks spectacular” and everyone’s efforts “paid off.”
That sure is such an interesting scene to look out for in Beauty and the Beast as it hits the big screens on March 17, 2017.
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