The long-gestating Gaston & LeFou Beauty and the Beast prequel series is a go. Disney+ has officially greenlighted Beauty and the Best (working title), an eight-episode limited musical series, a prequel to the 2017 live-action film. The movie’s Luke Evans and Josh Gad are reprising their roles as Gaston and LeFou (Louie) in the series, joined by newcomer Briana Middleton (The Tender Bar) as the female lead, Louie’s stepsister, Tilly.
Beauty and the Beast was developed and written by Gad and Once Upon a Time creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, with the trio serving as executive producers/co-showrunners.
Set in the iconic kingdom of Beauty and the Beast years before the Beast and Belle’s epic romance, the series will follow Gaston (Evans) and LeFou (Gad) as they set off with LeFou’s step-sister, Tilly (Middleton), after a surprising revelation from her past comes to light, sending the unlikely trio off on an unexpected journey filled with romance, comedy, and adventure. While the mysteries of the past are uncovered and the dangers of the present grow, old friends and new enemies reveal that this familiar kingdom harbors many secrets.
Tony Award-nominated director Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed) will direct the first episode.
EGOT Award-winning composer Alan Menken, who scored both the 1991 and 2017 Beauty and the Beast movies, is writing the soundtrack of the series, with lyrics for the first episode by Oscar-nominee Glenn Slater (Tangled). Tommy, Menken and Evans are also executive producing.
Beauty and the Beast is from Disney Branded Television and ABC Signature. Production will begin in spring 2022.
“For anyone who’s ever wondered how a brute like Gaston and a goof like LeFou could have ever become friends and partners, or how a mystical enchantress came to cast that fateful spell on the prince-turned-beast, this series will finally provide those answers…and provoke a whole new set of questions,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Branded Television.
The project, which originated at ABC Signature, comes as Disney marks the 30th anniversary of the Beauty and the Beast animated 1991 classic.
“There are few more precious gems in the Disney library than this iconic franchise, and this prequel is both a love letter to what’s come before and its own spectacular adventure,” said Jonnie Davis, president, ABC Signature. “Josh, Eddy and Adam’s vision gives us a window into the origin of Luke’s Gaston and Josh’s LeFou with the twist of a new partner in crime—Tilly, played by the luminous Briana Middleton. This dream team would not be complete without the genius Alan Menken returning to write even more glorious music for the franchise he helped create. We’re so grateful to Gary, Ayo, Michael and everyone at Disney Branded Television and Disney+ for their unwavering support. We cannot wait to start shooting.”
Middleton, member of UNCSA’s Class of 2022, has been rising fast. She will be making her feature film debut in Amazon Studios’ upcoming George Clooney-directed The Tender Bar, based on the memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning Writer J.R. Moehringer, and is currently shooting The Last Will and Testament of Charles Abernathy for Netflix. She is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Evans is about to start filming the lead in Mark Boal’s new Apple series Echo 3 and has a lead role in Hulu’s upcoming limited series Nine Perfect Strangers.”He is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and United Agents.
Gad, whose recent credits include starring roles in Avenue 5, Marshall and Central Park, is currently in production on Peacock series Wolf Like Me. He is repped by WME and Sugar23.
The first Black woman ever nominated for a Best Direction of a Play Tony, Tommy is making her feature directorial debut with the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect. Tommy’s past work includes theatrical productions of Frozen and Les Mis that shifted the casting of each story, centering them around people of color.
“For three decades, this tale as old as time has inspired generations of fans around the world,” said Michael Paull, president, Disney+ and ESPN+. “We can’t wait to welcome our guests back to the magical and musical world of Beauty and the Beast for an all new chapter with LeFou, Gaston, and a fantastic new cast of characters.”