I love when a character actor steals the scene which is exactly what happens anytime Audra McDonald or Gugu Mbatha-Raw who play Garderobe and Plumette respectively do each time they show up in the Lice Action Beauty and the Beast Remake. If it’s them or their enchanted item you will definitely sit up and take notice. While I was at the Beauty and the Beast Press Junket they both stopped in to chat with us Mom Bloggers. Both are beauty and grace defined. Now let’s get to the interviews!
Q: Can you share why you wanted to be a part of this film?
Gugu: Well, for me I was obsessed with the original Disney film. It came out when I was eight years old, I had the cassette tape, made my mom play in the car on the way to ballet and tap and modern, everyday. I knew all the words to all the songs and you know, it is still my favorite Disney movie so I had a very personal connection to it. When my agent called and said they wanted me to play a part in this I squealed down the phone, so loudly. I think it was probably the biggest reaction to getting a job that I’ve every had. I think that little eight year old inside of me was just so excited and it sort of connects you back you know, to growing up with Disney movies. And then this cast, you know, is just phenomenal.
Audra: When I got the call I’d known that the movie was being made and I was excited about it and my agent called and he said, ‘so, Beauty and the Beast,’ he’s like, ‘yeah, they’re turning into this, isn’t that great?’ he’s like, ‘yeah, so they want you to be in it.’ I was like, ‘excuse me? That doesn’t make sense. I was like, ‘what? Why? I mean–.’ But, if Disney calls, like I said, I would sell churros at the park for them, you know what I mean? I hear that Oreos making churros, that it’s a churro flavored Oreo, I just heard. Anyway, that’s something else. But any way so yeah, so of course, it’s just Disney, you want to be a part of it, so yes, it’s just an automatic yes.
Q: I heard you auditioned for Beauty and the Beast on Broadway but weren’t cast. So, when you were cast now were you like–?
Audra: On the night before we started filming in London, we all went out to dinner and they had a dinner for the cast and everybody. After I’d had a glass of wine I was jet lagged, I’d flown over from New York, I was jet lagged, had a glass of wine, I was like, ‘so, Alan. I auditioned for the musical on Broadway for the ensemble and I didn’t get cast in the ensemble.’ And he goes, ‘I know, I know, I know. Is this okay?’ I was like, ‘yes.’ Thank you, this, this fixes it, thank you.
Q: Every time that you sang it lit up the scene. I have a daughter who’s coming into singing so I would like to know what you did as a child, what was your path?
Audra: Well, this is mommy bloggers right? So, it was a lot of it had to do with my parents and my mom. I was a really hyperactive child having, struggling, actually and my parents were struggling with trying to figure out how to help me. I was an overdramatic child and having a hard time in school and whatnot. And they went to the local dinner theater one night and saw a little junior troop that performed before the main musical and it was kid, a group of kids.
I loved to sing at home and all that stuff and I had all this extra energy and drama inside of me. And they said, ‘maybe this is gonna help her.’ And so, I auditioned for that when I was nine years old and that set me on my path and so I really have my parents to thank for looking for something that would be right for me to express who I was and find a way to channel that energy. And so that’s what started me on my path.
Q: Can we talk about diversity in the film and what your characters are bringing to the twenty first century and your roles as multi cultural cast.
Gugu: Yeah, I mean I guess we’re all just brining ourselves and you know, thrilled that Bill Condon, the director had the vision to make it such a diverse cast. It wasn’t really something we discussed which is kind of cool in this day and age, it just sort of is. I’m sort of thrilled about it.
Audra: Yeah, we got told that yesterday, we were doing press yesterday, someone was like, ‘so you guys are, you’re the first and second interracial kisses in a Disney film,’ or something like that, or close to one of the first. In live action, yeah. And, Gugu and I are like, ‘we are?’ [LAUGHS] ‘Oh, okay, cool.’ We didn’t even think about. You know? I mean and that’s hopefully we’ll get to a day where no one has to think about it. That’s what we’re aiming for so I mean I’m just, I’m pleased that Disney recognizes that ou’ve got to represent the entire world out there. And that’s what they’re doing.
Q: Can you guys talk about your costumes and make-up?
Gugu: Jacqueline I forgotten her last name, she, she’s done all of Joe Wright’s movies, she did Atonement, Anna Karenina, you know, incredible costume designer. On my first costume fitting, she said, ‘okay, would you like to meet your object?’ In the room, they had the feather duster on a stand and I was kind of taken aback because Plumette is quite different to the feather duster Fifi, who’s more sort of mopped like, in the original. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they made her into this sort of flying dove like peacock like, very dainty creation. So, in the costume fitting, you know, we played around with the bird theme, and I had a big tail feather on one of my costumes, a huge bustle which also worked with the period. And feathers, I had feathers in my hair. We played around with this sort of Marilyn Monroe style wig so it was kind of fun for me to be blonde which is just so outrageous and audacious. So it was really just sort of channeling a mixture of that sort of playful sort of flirty Marilyn thing with feathers.
Audra: We both got to be blonde. But with the wardrobe, the first time I sat in the chair and, the dress being so large that I couldn’t walk in any regular door to get to set, I had to walk sideways and scrunch because once they started putting the wig on, they put the first part and I was like, ‘wow, that’s big, that’s tall’ and she said, ‘hold on.’ ‘Okay,’ she’s like, ‘okay,’ and, ‘the top part,’ ‘okay,’ then birds and stuff started going, I was like ‘oh my goodness what is going on?’ But, it makes perfect sense because once she’s transformed it to the wardrobe, the top of the wardrobe if you notice is her wig. And then you couldn’t even see them but this is the detail that Disney pays attention too. The shoes that I wore were the feet of the wardrobe, so if you’d actually seen my shoes, they curled up into the exact sort of way that the legs of the wardrobe and all of that. I mean and even within the design of like our make up and all of it is echoed in our objects.
Because my wig was literally two feet off of my head and so heavy and the dress was so big. So, not only could I not sit down but I could not hold my head up for long periods of time. So, the set carpenters built me a lean too. It was a like a humungous, about three feet taller than that thing of wood, slab of wood that had a bicycle seat. So I could kind of just perch on that and lean back like that during, between takes, because it was also enormous.
Q: What are you hoping audiences take away from seeing this film?
Gugu: I hope that people will get swept up in the romance and you know, the music is just so iconic. I love the message that beauty is found within it’s an oldie but a goodie. For this film the idea to look a little deeper, see the human within each and every person even if the exterior is not, is something that intimidates you or you’re not familiar with. There’s always a human underneath it all. I think to try to connect to somebody’s soul, is really important.
Audra: Yeah, and also that there’s always the love conquers all, love wins and it’s not about just giving the love but loving yourself too. I think that’s what’s so important. Realizing that what you have inside of you is most important and not the outside doesn’t necessarily matter. I’m sure that’s what people are gonna take away from this.
About The Movie
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon from a screenplay by TBD based on the 1991 animated film, the film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
***Disclosure: I attended the #BeOurGuestEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***