Tackling their first musical with Disney’s live-action take on Beauty and the Beast, costume designer Jacqueline Durran, production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer were met with no small share of challenges, beginning with conceptualizing how this new take would look.
Based on a French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont previously adapted into a 1991 Disney animated classic, this “tale as old as time” follows a burgeoning romance between a prince (Dan Stevens) — transformed, for his cruelty, into a gargantuan beast — and a young French woman (Emma Watson) who yearns for a life outside her provincial town.
While Durran felt particularly compelled to look to the 1991 animated film for reference, looking to create a “combination of history and the animation,” Greenwood and Durran felt less tied to that film when creating their village sets.
“The first lines in the script were that we are set in France in the 1740s, and we’re not in fairytale land. We are somewhere very specific, and that was kind of our starting point,” Greenwood told Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione at the inaugural The Contenders London event. “There is an homage paid and there’s a DNA running through it, but it was building on my memory. It was kind of my sense and my memory of the songs.”
Check out more of the conversation above.