2:25 pm EDT, March 16, 2015

Disney sets ‘Beauty and the Beast’ release date, Emma Thompson to play Mrs. Potts

Plus, legendary composer Alan Menken is scoring the adaptation

Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the titular roles, will hit theaters March 17, 2017, Disney announced today.

The studio also revealed that Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) will play Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, Last Vegas) will play Belle’s father Maurice. See photos of the stars below.

What’s more: Disney says Alan Menken, the composer of the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast, will score the live-action installment. Beauty and the Beast will “feature new recordings of the original songs in addition to several new songs written by Menken and Sir Tim Rice [the latter of whom worked on the Broadway Beauty and the Beast as well as the animated Lion King].”

Filming begins this May in London with a script by The Perks of Being a Wallflower author Stephen Chbosky, and Bill Condon in the director’s seat. In their press release this morning Disney describes the adaptation as one with a “modern live-action lens and the help of transformative CG magic.”

Casting reveals have been surfacing over the past few weeks as the production shores up its cast. Late last week we learned that Josh Gad will play LeFou (though the actor’s involvement was absent from today’s announcement) and Luke Evans will be playing Gaston. Many more casting announcements are yet to be revealed.

Disney’s announcement today arrives one day after their live-action Cinderella made $70 million during its opening weekend in theaters across the United States. Clearly they’re happy with placing their live-action retellings in a March release slot.

What do you think of Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Maurice?

emma-thompson-kevin-kline-beauty-and-the-beast

We’re already feeling bad for Maurice when he gets captured.

The cast is just getting better and better, isn’t it?

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