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Disney’s Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Casts Luke Evans as Gaston

Universal

It’s an undisputed scientific fact that Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston is the greatest villain in the Disney animated canon. After all, we’re talking about a guy whose theme song is all about how many eggs he eats and how every last inch of him is covered in hair. Sorry Maleficent, you have nothing on this guy. So, the news that Luke Evans has been cast as Gaston in Disney’s upcoming live action take on Beauty and the Beast has us feeling awfully judgmental. Sure, Evans is a good actor, but is he Gaston good?

The news comes to us via Variety, who say that the film will begin shooting later this year for an unspecified release date.

Evans is one of those guys who has been on the cusp of stardom for ages now, frequently lending menace to thinly sketched villains (Fast and Furious 6), being wasted in bloated, expensive nonsense (Dracula Untold), getting lost in massive ensembles (the latter two Hobbit fiascos), and dropping out of movies when they continue to drag through production hell (the upcoming remake of The Crow). Gaston may be a supporting character in the tale of Belle’s romance with a tortured, cursed prince with a beastly visage, but it’s the kind of role that could give him more to do than his last few movies combined.

That is, if the part itself is any good. Most versions of this character, including Disney’s 1991 film and Jean Cocteau’s extraordinary 1946 take, portray him as a brash, boastful and totally masculine goon. At his best, Gaston is a heel, a villain you love to hate and Evans has been typecast as a po-faced, serious-minded downer for awhile now. Hopefully, this will give him a chance to really strut his stuff. Or it’s evidence that this take on Gaston is going to be toned down from previous incarnations and that will simply not do.

Still, we trust in the judgment of director Bill Condon, a man so innately skilled that he elevated the final two Twilight movies into hilarious, self-aware camp. We also trust in the taste of leading lady Emma Watson, who has shown extraordinary taste in her post-Harry Potter roles. The upcoming live action version of Cinderella should be an indicator of what to expect from this one.

Anyway, if they’re already casting the villain, we should be hearing about who is playing the other title character in Beauty and the Beast pretty soon.

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