3:57 pm EST, March 4, 2015

Luke Evans to play Gaston in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Actor Luke Evans will star opposite Emma Watson in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Update (March 4): Dan Stevens, from Downton Abbey fame, is in talks to play the Beast

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Variety reports that Evans is currently in negotiations for the role. He was last seen in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as Bard but has also appeared in Dracula Untold and Fast and Furious 6.

According to the reporter who broke the story, Eddie Redmayne was up for the role before passing on it last week.

In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston takes a deep interest in Belle thanks largely to her good looks. He grows upset when Belle starts becoming fond of the Beast and sets out to kill him.

Can Evans sing like Gaston? Can he have a neck as thick as Gaston’s? We know he has strong pipes – just listen to this great performance he gave in 2013. Skip to the 50-second mark:

And here’s what he’ll have to perform in Beauty and the Beast:

The all-important role of The Beast has yet to be cast. Who do you want to see take on the gig?

Watson was cast as Belle in January. In making the announcement the actress revealed that she had to start singing lessons soon, signaling that the movie will be a musical just like the ’90s Disney animated classic.

Beauty and the Beast will be directed by Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn, Dreamgirls) with a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). There is no release date at this time.

Meanwhile, Disney’s next live-action fairytale film Cinderella hits theaters later this month. The project stars Lily James as the princess and Richard Madden as Prince Charming.

Do you think Evans is as slick as Gaston?

He certainly has the looks for the part. Here he is just last month on a red carpet:

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