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Beauty and the Beast: Production Notes

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.


Technology, artistry and imagination join forces to make the 10th anniversary of Walt Disney Pictures' timeless animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, a real cause for celebration. For this special return engagement, the film makes its giant-screen debut in a digitally-remastered format with improved picture and sound quality. Adding to the excitement is a never-before-seen animated sequence featuring the song "Human Again," written for the original film by Academy-Award®-winning songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

This newly animated scene features Belle, the Beast and an ensemble of enchanted objects (Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth, etc.) which expresses their hopes and desires to resume their human forms. Based on the beloved fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast follows the fantastic adventures of Belle, a beautiful young French girl who yearns to escape the tedium of her provincial life and the advances of her macho-but-conceited suitor, Gaston. Belle's life takes an unexpected turn when she finds herself imprisoned by a brooding Beast, whose mysterious past holds the key to their future. "Be Our Guest" and see why this animated favorite ranks as one of the Studios best, and the only animated feature to ever receive a Best Picture nomination.

On January 1, 2002, "Be Our Guest" as one of the most popular Disney titles of all time debuts exclusively in IMAX® and other Giant Screen Theatres around the world, featuring an all-new musical sequence with the original song, "Human Again," by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. The song was written for the original version and storyboarded, but not animated.


In celebration of its tenth anniversary, Walt Disney Pictures' timeless animated classic, Beauty and the Beast makes its Giant Screen debut at theaters around the world with a large format cinema special edition. Adding to the excitement of this release is the introduction of a newly animated six-minute musical sequence that features the song "Human Again," written for the original film by Academy Award® -winning songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

Working from the film's original digitally stored files, Beauty and the Beast has been meticuously and painstakingly reformatted one frame at a time to take full advantage of the Giant Screen. Led by the original filmmaking team -- producer Don Hahn and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale -- a group of Disney's top artists and technicians launched a major effort to remove dust and dirt, add detail and effects, and create new animation for this occasion. Nearly all of the original animators created the character animation for the new sequence and all of the film's stellar voice cast -- including Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers and Jo Anne Worley -- reprised their roles. The film's Oscar®-nominated team of sound re-recording experts also lent their talents to this special release by remixing the original tracks to utilize the full range of acoustic dynamics offered by the large format venues. New film stocks and technological advances also contributed to making this release look better than ever.

Beauty and the Beast was only the second Disney animated film to be produced digitally. All of the film's original artwork and production elements were stored digitally on 8mm magnetic tape and subsequently transferred and archived on 9000 CD-ROMs. The latter became the source material for creating three different large format versions of the film that could play in IMAX® and other Giant Screen venues. Special camera heads and film printers worked around the clock to reformat the original film for the Giant Screen and to create new prints (in 8 and 15 perf formats) that would provide an unprecedented level of clarity, dimension and superior sound quality.

Originally released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast proved to be a major success at the box office (the first animated feature to cross the $100 million plateau in its initial release), a favorite with moviegoers all over the world and an important milestone for the art of animation. The film became the first and only animated feature to ever receive a Best Picture Nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical. In all, the film received six Oscar® nominations and took home trophies in 1992 for Best Song (Beauty and the Beast) and Best Original Score (composed byAlan Menken). Additional kudos came from the music industry as the film garnered two Grammy Awards.

At the time of its initial release, Beauty and the Beast enchanted critics and played a major role in resurrecting interest in movie musicals. Additionally, the film also helped revive Broadway musicals and was launched as a stage musical itself in 1994. That production, which included new songs by composer Alan Menken (with additional lyrics by Tim Rice), is still playing on Broadway after more than 3,000 performaces and has become the tenth-longest running musical in Broadway history. It was nominated for nine Tony Awards (and won in the Costume category). Touring versions of the show have played across the U.S. and in such countries as England, Germany, Spain and Japan.

No less than New York's most influential and powerful theater critic Frank Rich (of The New York Times) observed, "What is the best Broadway musical comedy score of 1991? Make no mistake about it, it is the score that Alan Menken and Howard Ashman wrote for 'Beauty and the Beast,' the animated Walt Disney movie that opened this week." He went on to note "Their goosebump-inducing accomplishment in 'Beauty and the Beast' ... accentuates what is missing from the Broadway musical scene."

The late film critic Gene Siskel gave the film a "thumbs up," proclaiming, "The musical has been basically dead for the last 20 years in American film; this one brings it back alive with a great score. And they've even got the details right." The New York Post's Jami Bernard noted, "The most wondrous thing about this movie is the character animation and the sophisticated use of 'camera angles' -- like the complicated shot where we swirl from the chandelier on down to two figures dancing in an empty ballroom."

Most importantly, the success of Beauty and the Beast gave Walt Disney Feature Animation a tremendous boost and further fueled the creative resurgence that had begun two years earlier with the release of "The Little Mermaid" (which also included songs by Ashman and Menken). Animated features began to be seen as serious filmmaking efforts and new attention was focused on the art form. Disney followed this success with the release of such other animated muscicals as "Aladdin," "The Lion King," "Pocahontas," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Hercules," "Mulan," and "Tarzan."

Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Buena Vista Theatrical Group, views the film's enduring popularity in this way: "There's something deep at the core of 'Beauty and the Beast'; something about the relationship between Belle and the Beast; and something about what the music says to people. Not only is it inviting and inclusive with songs like "Be Our Guest,' but it also has a lot to say about the transforming power of love. Love is a healing force, and every single person who has seen the film or the stage play is profoundly moved by that. No matter what time we live in or what language you hear it in, that's an affirming message."

Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of The Walt Disney Company, admits, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie of the past decade. It's just a wonderful piece of work. And there is this great family feel about it for everyone who worked on it. It was bigger than anything we had done before and the Oscar® nomination made it very special for all of us. The film played at The New York Film Festival and in Cannes and got standing ovations all over the world. 'Beauty' was clearly a story we needed to do and Howard Ashman and Alan Menken brought this enormous sense of Broadway theatrical comedy to the process. It was in the canon of fairy tales and the tradition of what we had done before, but it had a freshness and originality to it that really engaged audiences the world over."

Commenting on the film's large format debut, Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, says, "The tenth anniversary of 'Beauty and the Beast' is really exciting because it give us an opportunity to bring the film back for a whole new generation. Many of the moviegoers who saw it ten years ago now have children fo their own that they can share the film with. This special edition presents the film bigger and better than ever and with a new sequence that was originally planned for the 1991 release. It's always been a magical film and seeing it on the big screen is exciting, fun and a great emotional experience.

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Producer Don Hahn adds, "This film was made for the big screen. You want to be able to see the Beast's castle and the ballroom with Belle in her beautiful ball gown six stories tall. What better way to exhibit the film than on these Giant screens. It not only puts you in the presence of these characters but it actually puts you in the presence of the movie. You feel like you're not only watching it but you're there in the movie."

Beauty and the Beast remains one of the most popular and enduring romantic adventures the world has ever known and provided a rich source of material for Walt Disney's 30th full-length animated feature. This classic fairy tale about a beautiful young girl and her encounter with an enchanted beast has long fascinated and intrigued storytellers, filmmakers and their audiences. With the artistry and imagination of the Disney creative team, an inspired song score by two Academy Award®-winning songwriters and the contributions of an enormously talented vocal ensemble, this age old fantasy took on exciting new dimensions that were only possible throught the magic of animation.

Set in and around a small French village during the late 18th century, Beauty and the Beast follows the fantastic adventures of Belle, a bright and beautiful young woman who finds escape from her ordinary provincial life -- and the relentless advances of a handsome but boorish suitor, Gaston -- by reading books. When her inventor father stumbles onto the castle of a hideous beast and is taken prisoner, Belle comes ot the rescue and agrees to take her father's place. With the assistance of the castle's enchanted staff -- a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others -- she soon learns to see beneath the Beast's exterior to discover the heart and soul of a human prince. Meanwhile, consumed by rejection and jealously, Gaston reveals that he has the heart of a beast and leads a mob to the castle for a climactic confrontation.

Beauty and the Beast was only the fifth classic fairy tale to be adapted as a Disney animated feature. The tradition began in 1937 with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," which was based on the famous story by the Brothers Grimm. In the 1950s, Walt Disney and his animators successfully tackled two classic folk tales by French author Charles Perrault -- "Cinderella" (1950) and "Sleeping Beauty" (1959). Another famous purveyor of fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen, was the source of "The Little Mermaid," Disney's 1989 release.

Transforming Beauty and the Beast into a Disney animated feature was a challenging assignment that took over 3 1/2 years to accomplish and required the talents of nearly 600 animators, artists and technicians, not to mention over a million drawings and 226,000 individually painted cels. Heading up the team was producer Don Hahn, a 25-year Disney veteran, and two talented young directors, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, who made their debut in that capacity on this film. This same filmmaking trio reteamed to create "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1996) and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" (2001). Ten supervising animators were assigned to specific characters and took on the task of bringing them to life with the assistance of an impressive group of character animators, clean-up artists and other key supporting players. Animators at Disney's satellite facility at the Disney-MGM Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida also contributed to the production.

Using the timeless themes and basic elements of the classic fairy tale as a starting point, writer Linda Woolverton created a fresh and stylish screenplay which became the structural and emotional blueprint for the visual development and Ashman also contributed greatly to the development and structure of the story from the earliest stages on. Roger Allers was in charge of story supervision while Brian McEntee and Ed Ghertner handled the art direction and layout duties, respectively. Lisa Keene supervised a team of 14 artists who created 1,300 backgrounds for the film. Sarah McArthur was the associate producer and John Carnochan ("The Little Mermaid") served as the film's editor.

Overseeing the creation of the new "Human Again" animated segment for the large format special edition were art director Ed Ghertner and artistic coordinator Dave Bossert. The segment's artistic supervisors were John Sanford (Story), Mitchell Bernal (Layout), Alex Topete (Clean-up), Dean Gordon (Background) and Steve Moore (Special Effects). Marshall Toomey was the layout supervisor for the large format special edition, with Lisa Keene overseeing backgrounds and Tom Baker guiding scene planning. Ellen Keneshea served as the editor for this special edition.

Woven into the fabric of the story are seven outstanding songs by the Academy Award®-winning team fo Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the songwriters responsible for Disney's 1989 animated musical blockbuster "The Little Mermaid" and the 1992 hit comedy, "Aladdin." Here again, Ashman's sophisticated lyrics combine with Menken's memorable melodies to provide songs that are not only enjoyable musical interludes but also serve as important story elements that advance the plot and contribute to the development of the characters. Menken, an eight-time Oscar® winner, also provides an inspired underscore for this latest project as well. The untimely death of Howard Ashman in March 1991 (eight months before "Beauty" opened) deprived the world of one of the preeminent creative talents of our time, but his genius lives on in his beloved films for Disney and the musical theater.

Contributing to the creation of the characters from a vocal standpoint are a talented group of actors and actresses who provided the speaking and singing voices. Veteran stage actress and singer Paige O'Hara was selected to play the female lead, Belle, from among hundreds of top Broadway talents who auditioned for the part. Her sincerity as an actress combined with her fine singing skills made her the perfect voice choice for the independent, adventure-loving, romantic-minded heroine. Equally impressive in his ability to give the kind of well-rounded performance the filmmakers were looking for was actor Robby Benson, who was cast as the Beast on the basis of his winning audition. The actor brings a sense of humor and humanity to this hideous looking creature who must learn to love and be loved in return in order to break the spell he is under.

Stage actor Richard White is the macho voice behind Gaston, a handsome and comically conceited character who is intent on marrying Belle. When things don't go quite according to plan, he reveals the heart of a beast beneath his handsome exterior. Through good times or bad, Gaston can always count on his faithful sidekick Le Fou, hilariously brought to life through the vocal performance of actor Jesse Corti. The late Rex Everhart, another fine stage actor, gave an inventive turn as Maurice, Belle's inventor father whose unconventional Rube Goldberg-like creations are ahead of their time.

Providing voices for the principal enchanted objects -- the maids and servants of the castle who were transformed at the same time that an enchantresses' spell turned the selfish Prince into a hideous beast -- are a first rate cast of performers. Angela Lansbury, a four-time Tony Award winner, acclaimed screen star and television favorite, gives a bubbly performance as a perky teapot named Mrs. Potts who likes to spout motherly advice to her son Chip (voice of Bradley Pierce) and Belle. Veteran stage, screen and television star Jerry Orbach shines as the voice behind a hot-blooded candelabra named Lumiere, the former maitre d' whose charm and boulevardier personality turn an ordinary meal into a major event. Actor David Ogden Stiers is superb as the voice of Cogsworth, a tightly-wound mantel clock who functions as the head of the household and attempts to run things like clockwork. Rounding out the vocal cast is comedienne Jo Anne Worley, who lends her vocal talents to a wacky wardrobe.

The Beauty and the Beast story is indeed a "tale as old as time" with variations on the central theme dating as far back as Greek mythology. In 1550, Italian author Giovan Straparalo wrote the first account of the story as it is generally known. The tale grew in popularity during the 18th century with books by French authors Madam Le Prince De Beaumont and Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve. In 1946, acclaimed French director Jean Cocteau used cinematic imagery and lyrical expression to bring this story imaginatively to the big screen ("La Belle et la Bete"). Other film interpretations have followed as well as a popular television show in 1987 which shifted the setting to contemporary New York.

"Doing your own version of 'Beauty and the Beast' is as much a tradition as is the story itself," says producer Don Hahn. "Part of the fun is that each generation and culture adapts this story to be its own. The themes, you can't judge a book by its cover and beauty is only skin deep, are as relevant today as ever."

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton agrees, "The lessons of this story are truly timeless. It tells viewers to look beyond the surface and beyond materialism and that what is in their hearts and souls are the things that really matter."


© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Among the original songs that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken wrote for the animated version of Beauty and the Beast was a melodic and "sweeping" waltz called "Human Again." The song was intended to be sung by Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and the other objects in the Beast's castle as time passes and their master becomes closer to his reluctant house guest, Belle. Although it remained a favorite with both the songwriters and the filmmakers, the song posed story problems which couldn¹t be solved in a timely manner. Originally conceived as an 11-minute musical number, the song was ultimately replaced with the shorter and more direct "Something There." Subsequently, in 1994, "Human Again" found a place in "Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical" and emerged as a showstopper in that Tony Award-winning hit. Heartened by that response, Hahn and the directors began exploring ways to add the number back into the film years later when the opportunity presented itself.

Hahn recalls, "About four years ago, Kirk and Gary and I were sitting around talking about the 'Star Wars Special Edition' that had just come out and Kirk jokingly suggested, wouldn¹t it be fun to do a special edition of 'Beauty' with 'Human Again¹ or new material in it.' When the head of Feature Animation said he thought it was a great idea, we stopped joking and began thinking about how we could actually do it. We had storyboarded the sequence for the original production, but completely reworked it for this special edition of the film. We discovered that there was a perfect place for the song following 'Something There' and it added a greater emotional depth to the story. A new scene with Cogsworth instructing the staff to create the most romantic atmosphere known to man or beast sets up the song beautifully." Director Gary Trousdale adds, "'Human Again' was written for the original film but for a variety of reasons we couldn't make it work. The song was taking the audience away from the plight of Belle and the Beast and it was getting longer and longer. Finally after eight years of perspective, 20/20 hindsight and seeing how well it worked in the Broadway stage version, we were able to make it work for the film."

Kirk Wise observes, "I like to think that the addition of 'Human Again' deepens the story a bit. You get to know the objects in a more personal way and really learn what their hopes and aspirations are when the spell is finally broken. You also get new insights into Belle and Beast's relationship. We discover a secret about the Beast that he hasn't shared with anyone and that is that he's been a beast so long that he¹s completely forgotten how to read. That was Howard's idea. He thought that it would be very touching if Belle imparted this gift of helping him learn to read. This was another way for him to regain his humanity and it was really effective. The song has Howard's trademark wit, fun and humor."

Menken adds, "'Human Again' was probably the most ambitious number that Howard and I wrote for the film. It was this exuberant waltz where the objects sing about how their fate is about to change and how they¹ll be human again. The song contained a motif about time passing. The lyrics included 'Tick-tock, the time goes.' It was a very sweet motif that said time is passing and they're getting closer to achieving their desire. But we had a problem because Maurice is lost in the woods this entire time and Belle is out there trying to rescue him. We knew he couldn't be lost in the woods for nine months and we never could figure out how to make this work. This passage of time really stymied us and so we wrote the song 'Something There' to take its place."

"'Human Again' was sort of our great lost song," adds Menken. "One of the wonderful things about this special anniversary release is that it gave us an opportunity to revisit the material and change things that we didn¹t have time to deal with ten years ago. Audiences are going to have a completely new experience now that ''Human Again' has been incorporated back into the film.

For Paige O'Hara, who provided the voice of Belle, the recording and addition of "Human Again" was a dream come true. She notes, "I¹m very emotional about 'Human Again.' It was Howard's favorite song and I was really disappointed when it didn't end up in the film. Now that its back, I know Howard is watching somewhere and is so happy that this is happening. It really is a wonderful song because it shows another dimension and a vulnerability to the other characters in the castle. We get to hear about their hopes and ambitions to get their lives back."

"Working with Howard and Alan was one of those life changing experiences. There are those rare geniuses that come around every now and again, like Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and I think Ashman and Menken are in that category. There was real magic between the two of them and just watching them and being around them was so exciting and intimidating. They had that indefinable thing. Their music is so charismatic."

Hahn adds, "'Human Again' is a great song and we always loved it and certainly the audiences did on Broadway, which I think gave us an extra level of courage to do it. Putting it back in the film is a tribute to Howard. Here's one of the last great songs that Howard Ashman wrote and it's a real treat for the audience."

For the animators, the addition of the "Human Again" sequence gave them a chance to revisit their old friends. The original team was called upon to contribute new animation for this new musical number. Animation began in 1998 and took almost a year to complete.

Nik Ranieri, the supervising animator for Lumiere, recalls, "I was really excited to be working on this character again and 'Human Again' had a good role in it for Lumiere. My first thought was, 'Can I handle this character? It's been ten years and I don¹t know if I can still draw him.' I got out the old model sheet and started drawing and it just started to come back. It was like visiting an old friend. I really enjoyed getting to work with him again. It was nice to know I could still draw him."

"When I think about it, it feels like its been a long time since I worked on the film," observes Will Finn, supervising animator for Cogsworth, "but when I feel it, it feels like only yesterday. It was such a vivid, exciting experience and to see it come together and transform into this jewel of a movie is amazing. It is still the movie that I most enjoy having worked on. I can still watch it and experience it as a story instead of flashing back to where I was when I was making it. It was very satisfying. Cogsworth was a wonderful character to work on and David Ogden Stiers is as rich and funny and versatile a voice as you could ever hope to work with."

Background supervisor Lisa Keene recalls, "It's interesting to watch the film ten years later because you think you're going to be very removed from it and be able to watch it as an audience member. But it didn't work that way. I actually got to go through the experience again. I had the rare opportunity to be able to go through the film one more time and address some of the issues that we didn't get to the first time. It was very rewarding. Technology has changed and improved so we were able to do things that we couldn't do before. Dust on the original images looked like tennis balls on the screen. At the time, we weren't able to do a digital touch-up and remove all the imperfections. For this release, we looked at the entire film and decided what was charming and what really needed to be fixed. Today it's a very simple matter to correct these things digitally. Those small little adjustments really helped."

Beauty and the Beast: ONE DECADE LATER

A decade has passed since Disney's animated version of Beauty and the Beast first cast its spell over audiences. Yet for those filmmakers and voice talents who were involved in creating this classic, the experience is as memorable as ever. Producer Don Hahn observes, "'Beauty and the Beast' was one of those once in a lifetime movies. I really believe that it is the greatest love story ever told and when we were making it we felt that it was the last of the red-hot fairy tales. It was also an occasion where we had some of the greatest artists and storytellers as well as the great Howard Ashman and Alan Menken working together. Looking back on this period, I truly believe we did capture a light beam in a bottle for those two years that we were in production. It was a very special project."

Director Kirk Wise adds, "I think 'Beauty and the Beast' was special because it had this kind of magic combination of humor and music and artistry that just seemed to come together as the right movie at the right time. When we were working on it, we knew it was pretty special but we had no idea that it would become such a classic. Working with Howard and Alan was amazing. They were so good and to this day have no parallel when it comes to creating songs that not only move the story forward but give you insights into the characters. You never feel like the whole movie is suddenly grinding to a halt just for the sake of the singing. The songs flow so naturally into the story that it just seems like a part of it."

"Howard's wit and clever lyrics were a joy to listen to," adds director Gary Trousdale. "They really gave us, as filmmakers, something to work with. Our challenge was always to come up with animation to match the cleverness of the lyrics. According to Alan Menken, "'Beauty and the Beast' has been a huge part of my life. Anything that can appeal to so many people over so many years in an ever-changing world is very special and extraordinary. It has become a very deep part of my life for lots of reasons. It allowed me to work with a lot of talented people ­ actors, animators, choreographers, etc. This has been an amazing odyssey. The film raised the level of sophistication for an animated musical. I remember when Howard and I first played the songs 'Belle and Be Our Guest' for the filmmakers, we had a lot of trepidation not knowing whether we were going to get laughed off the project or not.

"My reaction to seeing the film the first time and every time since has been to think of Howard, especially at the end where we have this dedication to him. He worked so hard on this picture and yet he died six months before it was finished and never lived to see how well it worked. Because of that, 'Beauty' is a very emotional project for me and for the people who knew and loved Howard Ashman. He had an incredible ability to create characters with a lot of comedy and sophistication like Gaston. He gave us a perspective on this character that allowed us to laugh at the same time that he functions as a villain. The idea of telling a serious story without having the comic side is unthinkable for a musical. Howard had so much passion for this film and contributed so much. When we were recording 'Human Again' a few years ago, I could really feel that he was there in spirit with us in the studio."

Robby Benson, the talented actor who provided the voice of the Beast, notes, "When I heard that the film was going to be released again, I was ecstatic. First of all, it gave me a chance to work together again with some great actors who have become great friends. The idea that the film is going to be seen on the Giant Screen is thrilling. I loved doing the voice of the Beast because there is so much going on inside him. He's a tortured soul and not just some greedy little prince who has turned into a big old shouting animated figure. He wants to do what's right and he¹s angry at himself a lot. Being able to revisit the part is great. My daughter, who is now 15, watched the whole thing happen ten years ago and now my five-year-old son gets a shot at all this too."

Jerry Orbach, the voice of Lumiere, observes, "It's like being Jiminy Cricket. Lumiere is a character who is ageless, timeless and wonderful to be associated with. When I saw the grandeur of the movie and the animation and production values, it reminded me of such great Disney classics as 'Pinocchio' and 'Cinderella.' I think the reason that people love 'Beauty and the Beast' so much is because of the notion that anybody can find love, even the ugliest creature on the planet. This is a beautiful lesson and I think it gives people a lot of hope. This film has a real power to it and a lasting quality that is wonderful." David Ogden Stiers, the versatile voice behind Cogsworth, adds, "It's a Disney classic. When we started working on the film more than ten years ago, we all jumped on board and we've never jumped off. One of the things that made it so great was the way the songs were woven so seamlessly into the story. They were all reflections of character or advanced the plot and that's very rare. Adding 'Human Again' back to the body of the film feels like a lovely circle closing and now it has actually been placed where it belongs."

For Glen Keane, the acclaimed animator who designed and animated the Beast, the return of the film is cause for celebration. "When I look back on this film and my character, I feel that there is something very genuine about it," says Keane. "There's a sincerity that comes through the animation. I was really striving to make the character real and pure. The Beast is really a unique character, bigger than any of us ever thought he would be. I never anticipated the effect it was going to have on other people. He was just real to me and I got to animate him. I actually got letters from abused children and adults who had been abused who really related to the character.

"It's a strange sensation when you¹re drawing a character," adds Keane. "There's a period where you're searching for the character and seeking to find out who they are. I've had it happen on every character that I've worked on from Beast and Ariel to Tarzan. Suddenly the lines hit the right place and there they are. And you know its them. It's like, 'There you are!' And then you try and draw them from another angle and they're gone. With me, Beast was like that. I got the chance to open the cage and let him out. He's no longer mine now. I didn't draw him. I just let him out."

Andreas Deja, another of Disney's superstar animators and the supervisor for Gaston, recalls, "This was probably one of our best stories ever. Everything just clicked in the same way that 'Cinderella,' another of my favorite stories, did. 'Beauty and the Beast' had a real honest feeling coming through all of the characters. There was also a nice balance of drama and comedy throughout. At first, I was confused by the character of Gaston. This was not your standard villain. Here is a bad guy who looks like the good guy. He turns from interesting, funny and handsome to a sort of a buffoon and then a leader of a mob. You have this great arc, which is great to play with. It's always nice for a character to change and that was certainly the case with Gaston."


Creating a large format version of "Beauty and the Beast" took lots of time, manpower and tremendous effort on the part of Disney's technical team.

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

The film was only the second Disney feature to be produced digitally, using the Studio's Academy Award®-winning CAPS system (Computer Aided Production System), and it is because of that innovation that newly reformatted prints for the Giant Screen were possible. CAPS allowed the animators' hand-drawn cleaned-up artwork to be digitized into the computer, where it was electronically inked and painted and composited with the various background and effects elements. Originally stored on 8mm magnetic tape, Beauty and the Beast was subsequently transferred and archived onto 9,000 CD-ROMs. From this digital source material, Disney's camera department used special camera heads and film recorders to create new prints exclusively for large format venues.

Instead of simply blowing up an existing 35mm negative to a large format, the filmmakers chose to create new elements from the original digital information. This allows for greater clarity in the image. In the process of reformatting the film frame-by-frame, they set out to remove any dirt particles and artifacts from the original production and correct any images that would appear unsightly or inappropriate when projected seven stories high. The average large-format screen is actually 8-10 times larger than the typical 35mm screen.

Hahn notes, "The only reason we could do a large format version of this movie is because it was digitally archived. We were able to go back, not to some small negative somewhere but to this digital material, and create a new print just for the Giant Screen."

"Large format film gave us a new way to see this film," says Roy E. Disney. "The digital records of the original film elements exist in a way that it could be recreated for that great big screen. It gave us a whole different way to look at the movie. Your eye is actually free to wander around the space you're in. You'll actually find yourself looking down at the corner. You might see a little squirrel down there doing something you would never have thought to look at before on a smaller screen." Overseeing the creation of the large format prints was artistic director Dave Bossert and Joe Jiuliano, director of the camera department. Jiuliano and his team actually printed the film in three different large formats ­ IMAX (15 perfs wide), dome projection, and 8 perf. Two special 65mm camera heads were used to shoot each of the digitally stored frames onto large format film. The camera heads were placed on top of film recorders to create the final output. Each frame took about 2- 1/2 minutes to shoot. The recorders ran on a 24- hour schedule to meet the demands of the production.

Hahn explains, "Creating a large format version of the film required a number of adjustments. Each frame of film is normally stored at a resolution of 2000 lines, but when you project the film on the Giant Screen the image begins to pixilate. Therefore, we decided to double the number of pixels to 4000 per frame. This boosted the clarity and gave the film a flawless look." Hahn and directors Wise and Trousdale carefully scrutinized each frame of film to determine if any "fixes" were required. Going from a 35mm print to a large format print amplifies any imperfections that were present in the original film. Missing faces on background characters, incomplete set dressing in castle hallways and details that never would have been noticed on a regular size screen had to be identified and corrected. Nearly 200 scenes in all required some additional animation, effects, background painting or other details. Art director Ed Ghertner and background supervisor Lisa Keene lead the group responsible for making these changes and additions.

The addition of the musical sequence, "Human Again," created a whole new set of considerations for the filmmakers. In the song, the objects give a thorough housecleaning to the castle in preparation for the romantic encounter they are hoping will come. After mopping and dusting and cleaning, the castle is spotless. Hahn explains, "Before we added in this song, we had several scenes in the latter part of the film where the castle is in a shambles. So the minute they sang 'Human Again,' we had to literally go into the rest of the film and clean up the castle. This affected about 80 to 85 shots and we had to digitally repair ripped wall paper, straighten crooked picture frames and generally look for any inconsistencies created by the addition."

Jiuliano adds, "This edition of 'Beauty' is really a new way of looking at an existing movie. What audiences will be seeing is a print from a new negative. We start with old data, but now we're able to put it on the best film stocks that are much better than what we had ten years ago. We're able to take advantage of new formats, new technology and new projection systems. We're really making the movie new again. The digital world allows us to continue the Disney tradition of preserving our films for future audiences and presenting them in a whole new way."

With regard to sound, the large format edition of Beauty and the Beast presented a wide range of possibilities for the original Oscar®-nominated sound team. Sound re-recording engineer Terry Porter explains, "Large format theaters are spectacular. As mixers, we can take a film to a little more extreme as far as dynamic range and balance. The sound amplification and speaker systems are huge so we were able to do things a little more dramatically than we could for a regular theatrical mix. In a traditional movie theater, a lot of sound comes from behind the screen through the center speaker. In large format houses, the audience will feel like they're sitting in the middle of the movie and become more involved. We used the surround and top speakers to full advantage to create this effect."


The real genesis of Beauty and the Beast as an animated feature goes back over five decades to the early days of the Disney Studios when Walt and his story team gave serious consideration to making such a film. The project was eventually sidelined when no satisfactory solution could be found for the story's claustrophobic second half when Belle is imprisoned in the Beast's castle. In mid 1989, as work was winding down on "The Little Mermaid," producer Don Hahn led a small group of artists and animators (including supervisors Glen Keane and Andreas Deja) to London for a 10-week period of development and preproduction on "Beauty and the Beast." There, they worked on the story and experimented with character design, while soaking up the flavor and atmosphere of the film's European setting. A field trip to the Loire valley in France and the beautiful provincial countryside resulted in sketches and video that later served as inspiration to the art direction and overall look of the production. According to Hahn, "This was a very challenging story to tell. In the original fairy tale, Beauty's father goes to the castle and picks a rose. The Beast is enraged, throws him in a dungeon but agrees to let him go if he sends his daughter back in his place. She very passively follows her father's instructions and the rest of the story is essentially about two people having dinner together every night with the Beast repeatedly asking her to marry him.

"We felt we needed to energize the story by creating more dramatic scenarios and making our heroine move things forward by valiantly going to the castle on her own to fight for her father¹s release. Howard Ashman came up with the idea of turning the enchanted objects into living creatures with unique personalities, which was a big breakthrough. He was also the driving creative force in terms of musicalizing the script." The result of the London session was a well-crafted, serious drama with no music and very little humor. It was decided to start from scratch and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale were brought in to take a crack at it. By December, 1989, the decision was made to turn the project into a musical. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton was dispatched to Cold Spring, New York, the residence of "Little Mermaid" lyricist/producer Howard Ashman, to work with him for over a month on the placement of songs in the new script and the overall structure of the project. Ashman became the driving creative force on the film and pushed to give the enchanted objects individual personalities and a key role in the story.

Another major difference between this Disney adaptation and previous versions of the fairy tale is the role of the Beast. "Our version is the Beast's story," observes Hahn. "It's not about a young girl who wants her man and has to sacrifice things to get there like Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid.' It's about a guy with a very serious problem and he has to redeem himself through a series of events. For him, the meter's ticking and he has to find somebody to love him before the flag tips over. The rose in our story becomes the ticking clock."

Also unique to this story is the absence of any clear-cut villain. According to supervising animator Glen Keane, "In most of our films, the hero has some outside obstacle that he's fighting against, whether it's a witch or a dragon or a madman. In this film, although Gaston becomes a definite threat, the Beast's real foe is himself and the real struggle is an internal one with his own nature. This made the character much more interesting to work with."


In creating the look of "Beauty and the Beast," the filmmakers wanted to come up with a rich colorful style suggestive of the film's European setting which would also have the quality of the classic Disney features. Art director Brian McEntee studied great French romantic painters like Fragonard and Boucher for inspiration. He also closely analyzed the beautiful understated simplicity of the Disney classic "Bambi" and tried to incorporate the realistic yet stylized approach used in that film. McEntee worked with the directors and background artistic supervisor Lisa Keene to develop a unique color theory which extends throughout the entire film.

"Color plays an important part in telling this story," explains McEntee. "From the very beginning, we used color to visually set Belle apart from the rest of the village by making her the only one dressed in blue. This supports the idea that she really doesn't fit in with others."

Adds Hahn, "We tried to tell the story as much with colors as with shapes. The seasons became a metaphor for our story and they change along with the moods and action of the film. We start out with very October colors, pumpkins and falling leaves. When Maurice gets lost in the woods, we get a real chill in the air and things begin to turn very cool. By the time Belle arrives at the castle, a cold winter climate becomes evident. The first snows of winter appear when Belle attempts to escape but by the time she and the Beast start getting closer and fall in love, the snows begin to melt and the blossoms are on the trees. Gaston leads the mob attack on the Beast's castle during a spring thunderstorm. At the end of the film, as the spell is lifted and Belle and the Prince are reunited, spring is in full bloom and there is a full release of color. The palette reflects all these seasonal changes and adds to the dramatic impact of the story."

For artistic supervisor Lisa Keene and the 14 artists who created the film's 1,300 backgrounds, Beauty and the Beast had its own set of challenges. "Most of the film takes place at night or inside the castle," says Keene. "To avoid the obvious dark and gloomy possibilities, we had to be very creative and come up with things that were fun. 'Be Our Guest' was certainly one example and here the backgrounds were like confetti, very loud and punchy. To create the right emotion for the romantic ballroom scene, we used a very soft gold interior with a very satisfying vibrant blue on the outside."

Also adding to the exquisite look of "Beauty and the Beast" was the introduction of the CAPS system which allowed artists an unlimited color palette. Several of the main characters in this film had as many as 17 paint colors and 7 different colored ink outlines. According to Ink and Paint manager Gretchen Albrecht, "This kind of incredible detail hasn't been seen in an animated film since the Golden Age of animation. We're even able to give the effect of rouged cheeks on Belle and Mrs. Potts using a sophisticated new blending technique that was pioneered on this film."


Creating the characters for "Beauty and the Beast" was a thoughtful, time-consuming process involving the collaborative efforts of many different people. In the final analysis, however, it is the supervising animator and his team that must bring those characters convincingly to life and provide the credibility, personality and entertainment that appears on the screen. Glen Keane was the supervising animator who designed and drew the Beast and oversaw the six character animators who also worked on him. This 27-year Disney veteran, whose previous work includes animating the climactic bear fight in "The Fox and the Hound," Professor Ratigan in "The Great Mouse Detective," Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" and the magnificent eagle Marahute in "The Rescuers Down Under," has since lent his considerable talents to the title characters of "Aladdin," "Pocahontas," and "Tarzan," and is currently animating John Silver for Walt Disney Pictures' holiday 2002 release, "Treasure Planet."

"There's never been a character like the Beast before," explains Keane "so there was nothing to fall back on. I began creating the Beast by figuring out who the character really is inside. He's a guy trapped between two worlds. He¹s part animal and part human and he's not comfortable with either. His design had to show the human side -- heart, warmth and the ability to love. The ferocious, hideous animal side had to reflect his incredible power and agility. I filled my mind with all of these things and began processing it into a final design. Numerous trips to the zoo, studying National Geographic videos and analysis of stuffed animals helped in the process."

In the end, Keane created his own hybrid beast taking the mane of a lion, the beard and head structure of a buffalo, the tusks and nose bridge of a wild boar, the heavily muscled brow of a gorilla, the legs and tail of a wolf, and the big and bulky body of a bear. To all of the above, he added the most important ingredient ­ sincerity. "The eyes are the window to the soul," says Keane. "When Belle looks into Beast's eyes she must see his human heart and soul. She must see sincerity and believe that she can actually truly love this creature. This had to come across in our animation."

Another thing Keane strived for in his work was realism. This involved thinking the way an animal might. "The character has to be real to you," he says. "In the scene where Belle refuses to come down to dinner and the Beast loses his temper, the script called for him to run up the stairs in a rage. But an enraged animal would scamper on all fours and leap from the stairs to the landing, almost sailing through the air, which is the way we ended up doing it."

The more Keane got to know his character, the better he was able to analyze the complex personality. "In my mind, there were really three different Beasts. There's the completely ferocious animal-like Beast who fights off the wolves and moves on all fours. There's the comedic Beast, who's a guy frustrated with himself and trying to control his temper. I had Jackie Gleason in mind and I drew the character with his eyes opened a little wider. Finally, there's the heartfelt Beast, the one who expresses deep emotion, something like the Elephant Man. This required more sensitivity in the way he was drawn."

The animator credits Robby Benson with providing the right inspiration for the Beast through his vocal interpretation. "He was the best actor that we heard by far and his performance really helped us get the emotional edge that we needed for the character," says Keane. "His voice was rich, deep and mellow yet he still sounded like there was a 20 year old guy inside that Belle could fall in love with."


For the character of Belle, supervising animators James Baxter and Mark Henn set out to create a somewhat different Disney heroine. "Physically, we tried to make her a little bit more European looking with fuller lips, a little bit darker eyebrows and slightly smaller eyes than Ariel," explains Baxter. "She's also a few years older than Ariel and a lot more worldly because she's always reading. We tried to make her movements very real whether she¹s simply walking or waltzing with the Beast in the ballroom sequence."

In the latter scene, Baxter animated both Belle and the Beast since the two characters are so interconnected. He studied reference footage of actual dancers and even took a few waltz lessons himself just to get a better understanding of the intricate movements.

Henn, who had previously served as a supervising animator on Ariel and went on to supervise such other heroines as Jasmine and Mulan, found this female creation to be a big challenge. "Belle was more difficult to do because she's so real and has a greater emotional level," says the animator. "With a fantasy character like a mermaid you can get away with a lot, but when your character is human and walking around on two legs, everyone knows what to expect and she has to be believable in order for the film to succeed."

Screenwriter Woolverton sees Belle as "a very strong, smart, courageous woman. She trades her freedom, the very thing she's been wanting from the start of the film, in order to save her father. Because she is an avid reader, she has a point of view of her life and that doesn't necessarily involve a man getting her there." The challenge for supervising animator Andreas Deja was to make the character of Gaston handsome yet interesting and to avoid the tendency towards blandness that has sometimes been associated with handsome human characters in the past.

"I tried to retain the whole range of expressions ­ the sarcasm, the broadness, and the expressiveness ­ that the handsome leading man seldom gets to show," says Deja. "I wanted Gaston to be a dimensional character that the audience would feel they could reach out and grab." Deja had no shortage of subjects to study in researching Gaston. "Los Angeles is full of good-looking guys who just adore themselves," he says. "You see them all over, always admiring themselves in the mirror, making sure their hair and everything else is in place. It was fun to observe them and bring some of that attitude to Gaston." The supervising animators assigned to the enchanted objects had a bit more latitude in the performances of their characters. After all, not many moviegoers have ever seen a teapot, candelabra or mantel clock with a personality before let alone ones that sing and dance. For Nik Ranieri, who prefers the flexibility of working on humorous characters as compared to the more realistic, subtle and emotional ones, animating Lumiere was a perfect assignment. As he warmed up to the character, he was able to make the design more animatable by continuing the rim around the head, giving the nose a bit more structure and accentuating the chest area. He also learned to use the appendages of the candelabra to help the character gesticulate and be more expressive.

"I had a lot of freedom in animating the character because no one really knows how an enchanted object moves," says Ranieri. "Basically you can get away with anything as long as it has weight and volume. You can stretch it or squash it all you want. The hardest part was making Lumiere seem graceful while he was dancing in the 'Be Our Guest' number. Getting him to do a kick with his base and make it look right took a lot of experimentation and control."

Animating Cogsworth the mantel clock proved to be great fun for supervising animator Will Finn, despite his initial reluctance.

"Cogsworth has turned out to be such a rich and comical character," says Finn. "He has that kind of explosive Type A personality and he's always stressed about one thing or another. In the beginning, I thought it was going to be difficult to get him to walk using those four little feet of his, but most of the time he covers ground in quick bursts by bounding, hopping or leaping because he's so frustrated by his small size. David Ogden Stiers practically re-invented the character with his great reading and improvisation. He deserves a lot of the credit for bringing the character to life."


The large-format cinema special edition of Beauty and the Beast features seven great songs by the Academy Award®-winning team of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. The songwriters became involved at the most fundamental stage and had a major influence on the final structure of the story. Their work on this film reflects a sophistication and unity with the material that has seldom been achieved in the medium before.

When the decision was made to turn "Beauty" into a musical in late 1989, the filmmakers turned to Howard Ashman to help them accomplish this. The producer, directors, and screenwriter met with him frequently in the months that followed and sought his expert advice on how to restructure the story.

"Howard taught me that the moments for songs are when the characters just have to burst into song; there's just nothing else they can do because their emotions are so extreme," says Woolverton. "He had a real genius for knowing when and where to place songs and he knew that a song can leap you much further into the plot than any dialogue possibly could."

"Howard and Alan are brilliant at taking a piece of story that works well in the script and turning it into a musical moment that works so much better," elaborates Hahn. "Usually it's a turning point, a heightened dramatic moment or a comedic scene. They are able to musicalize the story without letting it screech to a halt." According to Menken, "One of the first things Howard and I did when we began working on this project was to sit down and toss around some musical ideas. He usually had a basic idea of the style of song he wanted to write and sometimes even a title or some completed lyrics. Then he would ask what the music might sound like if we were going to write a certain kind of song and I would sit at the piano and let fly. Howard had the ability to find what he liked and then write to it. We had a kind of shorthand between us and we each shared a background of loving musicals and growing up with many of the same influences."

The film's opening musical number is called simply "Belle" and it introduces the viewer to the heroine and her burning desire for adventure and romance. For the melody, Menken combined classical, baroque and French influences to capture the mood and energy of the morning in this small provincial village.

According to David Friedman, who arranged the vocals and conducted the songs, "'Belle' is like the 'Pastoral Symphony' with the entire town waking up. It has a classicality about it and is very symphonic in structure. We used a 62-piece orchestra wih a lot of strings. Most of the orchestra members were from the New York Philharmonic and never has such an orchestra played on Broadway. It was a thrilling, amazing experience."

Lyrically, "Belle" fits in with Ashman's theory that practically every musical ever written has a moment "where the leading lady sits down on something ­ in 'Brigadoon' it¹s a tree stump; in 'Little Shop of Horrors' it¹s a trash can ­ and sings about what she wants most in life. We borrowerd this classic rule of Broadway musical construction for 'Part of Your World' in 'The Little Mermaid.'" The song "Gaston," is a brawling barroom waltz which provides insights into the personality of the song's title character. Sung by Le Fou and other Gaston admirers, including of course Gaston himself, the tune serves as an important moment in the film as it reveals the scheming, darker side of this previously harmless character.

"Be Our Guest," a bright, cheery song in the French music hall tradition delivered in grand style by Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth and a chorus of dancing plates, silverware and other objects, is one of the musical highlights of the film. Producer Don Hahn describes it as "Busby Berkeley, Esther Williams and Maurice Chevalier crashing the kitchen."

"This song was written basically to fill a situation in a story, first and foremost," says Menken. "Our heads were filled with all the wonderful images that could be provided by the animators, and as usual they exceeded our expectations."

Director Gary Trousdale points out that "Be Our Guest" was originally intended to be sung to Maurice. "The song had already been recorded and the sequence partially animated when we decided that it would be more meaningful if it was directed towards Belle," says Trousdale. "After all, she is one of the two main characters and the story revolves around her coming to the castle. We had to bring Jerry Orbach and all the other vocal talents back into the studio to change all references to gender that appeared in the original recording." The song "Something There" is a beautiful ballad which lyrically expresses the unspoken, innermost thoughts of Belle and the Beast as they begin to see each other as they really are. It is sung by Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson with an assist from several of the enchanted objects. The title tune, "Beauty and the Beast," is poignantly sung by Angela Lansbury and it accompanies a powerful emotional moment in the film when the two lead characters fall in love. Amidst the sweeping and swirling motions of the camera and the fluid terpsichorean movements of the characters, this part-lullaby, part-pop ballad captures the moment in a simple poetic statement.

"I think simplicity is the key to that particular song," says Menken. "We wanted it to be gentler and smaller as opposed to some ballads that are large and heroic in scope. The song was written with Angela Lansbury in mind and we kept imagining her voice and what a fine actor she is as well as a singer. We chose places for her to open up and places where it's more intimate or almost spoken. She was wonderful at responding to that." A soulful pop rendition of "Beauty and the Beast" sung by Celine Dion, a Juno Award-winning Canadian singer, and Peabo Bryson can be heard over the film's end credits.

The final song in the film is "The Mob Song," a driving, powerful tune with operatic overtones. Sung by Richard White in his role as Gaston, it serves as the accompaniment to the climactic confrontation between the townspeople and the Beast. A chorus of 12 male vocalists was used during the recording session to create the strong bass-oriented feeling the songwriters were looking for.


At the time of its initial release in 1991, Beauty and the Beast was recognized as a pioneering effort in the use of CGI (computer generated imagery). Computers had been used at Disney on such previous animated films as "The Black Cauldron" (1985), "The Great Mouse Detective" (1986) and "Oliver & Company" (1988), but it was on this film that art and technology blended seamlessly to great effect. CG animation has advanced rapidly over the past decade but the ballroom sequence in Beauty and the Beast remains an impressive milestone.

Computer generated imagery was used in several parts of the film, most notably in the creation of a three-dimensional ballroom background for the Beauty and the Beast song sequence. This allowed dramatic camera moves on the hand-drawn characters as they danced and fell in love. The ballroom data was modeled using software by Alias Research, Inc., camera motion using Wavefront's "Preview" and rendered with Pixar¹s Renderman software. The final ballroom pictures were calculated on Silicon Graphics Computer Systems.

According to CGI artistic supervisor Jim Hillin, "The ballroom sequence featured the first computer-generated color background to be both animated and fully dimensional. What this means is that the background is literally moving and the animators had to animate to it in much the same way that they worked with the live-action composites in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit.' This gives the advantage of sweeping camera moves and perspectives as well as theatrical lighting that would otherwise be impossible. It introduces live action techniques into the animated world. Here the camera plays a very important role in establishing the mood and helps us to experience what the characters themselves are feeling."

"The ballroom sequence is the bonding moment of the film when the two main characters finally get together," says producer Don Hahn. "For us as filmmakers, the computer offered us a way to get heightened emotions on the screen and more dramatic effects than we could have gotten conventionally. It allowed us to move the camera around and take a look at the room instead of just looking at a flat piece of artwork. Technology as a whole is an extension of our fingers, hands and minds. Computer graphics lets us go beyond what we can currently achieve with pencil and paper or paint and a brush."

The ballroom itself was created in the computer by specially-trained artists, animators and software experts working in concert with the layout, art direction and background teams. From the rough sketches provided, the room was constructed a section at a time. The dimensions of the room were enormous with 72-foot ceilings, a length of 184 feet from door to door, and a width of 126 feet. There are 28 wall window sections around the room and a dome that is 86 feet by 61 feet. The mural in the dome was hand painted and then texture-mapped into the background with the help of a computer. The computer graphics team also played a key role in the "Be Our Guest" sequence where an extraordinary chandelier with can-canning forks was created using this new technology. Also animated this way were hundreds of dancing plates, goblets and bubbles. These elements were then blended with traditional hand-drawn character animation and effects animation resulting in an elaborate and fun-filled sequence unlike any other. In other parts of the film, a hay wagon, carts, an 18th-century classic-Baroque grand piano and pages in a book were animated using a similar process.

"The main purpose of CGI is to build and animate things with the computer that will aid and enhance what is going on with the hand-drawn art," explains Hillin. "Our biggest challenge is to incorporate the two things and make it seem as if they belong together. If we get too real or the perspectives are too perfect then it doesn't fit in with the rest of the film."

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