A tale as old as time, it’s as if Beauty and the Beast hasn’t aged a day. That is except for the fact that film turns 25 this month. Feel old yet? Yeah, me too. In 1991, a love story as iconic as Romeo and Juliet graced theaters worldwide, teaching little girls and boys everywhere a lesson unlike many other Disney productions: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” And only a few short months later, Beauty and the Beast became the first animated feature film to receive a best-picture Oscar nomination (it would lose to The Silence of the Lambs, but still picked up two music-related Oscars). Here are some insider secrets and behind-the-scenes facts that might stump even the most hardcore Disney fan.
1. Walt Disney tried to develop Beauty and the Beast into a film twice. His first attempt was in the 1930s and then again in the 1950s, but gave up because the writers said the story was too challenging to adapt.
2. Glen Keane, the animator, wanted to make the Beast a character “based on something that was real.” So he drew up inspiration from a gorilla, which has “this great strong brow,” a buffalo to create “the general head shape,” especially because there’s “a sadness” in the way a buffalo hangs its head, and a lion for the mane. The Beast also has a boar’s tusks, a bear’s body, and a wolf’s legs, Keane said on Good Morning America.
4. Mrs. Potts was originally named Mrs. Chamomile. Producer Don Hahn told Vanity Fair that the name was an attempt to create “the most soothing possible association.” But he and composer Howard Ashman decided on “Mrs. Potts” because it was easy to rhyme with and easy for kids. Same with Lumiere, who was originally called “Chandal” (think: chandelier), but was soon changed to Lumiere in honor of the Lumiere brothers, film and photography vets, and because it was easier to say.
6. And she was considered a “woman of the 90s.” At least that’s what screenwriter Linda Woolverton intended. In an interview with the LA Times, Woolverton said, “I’m not critical of Snow White, Cinderella… they reflected the values of their time. But it just wasn’t in me to write a throwback. I wanted a woman of the ’90s, someone who wanted to do something other than wait for her prince to come.” Woolverton also said that Belle was inspired by Jo from Little Women.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US