Ian McKellen Joins Disney’s Live-Action Beauty and the Beast

By  · Published on April 11th, 2015

Bayly/Paré Productions / Walt Disney Productions

Now that the Hobbit movies are done and the X-Men franchise doesn’t have a lot more room for him, Sir Ian McKellen needs a new pop culture enterprise. He’s got the old Sherlock Holmes movie, Mr. Holmes, but that’s a little stuffy. He needs to stay hip with the kids, and now he’s just joined a movie that will be hip with actual children. And their nostalgic parents who grew up with Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast. Yes, according to Variety, McKellen will reunite again with his Gods and Monsters and Mr. Holmes director, Bill Condon, on the live-action remake of the 1991 fairy tale adaptation. He’s going to play Cogsworth, the clock.

That means Patrick Stewart will be cast as Lumiere, right? Can it be any other way? Best friends playing best friends. Lumiere is one of the few roles still not yet filled, so there’s still time if anyone of importance is reading this. Interestingly enough, Stewart was the original choice for the voice of Cogsworth for the animated version, but his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation caused a scheduling conflict and David Ogden Stiers took the role instead. But now Stewart could do the voice of the candelabra in his exaggerated French accent that he’s demonstrated before in discussing the original incarnation of ST:TNG’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Since my last post on casting for Beauty and the Beast, at least one other member of the ensemble was announced. Six-time Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald, who is of course better known for the stage, will portray Garderobe, the wardrobe. She gets to reunite with her Wit costar Emma Thompson, who is playing Mrs. Potts. Surprisingly, this will be McKellen’s first time working with Thompson. And his first time working with almost all of the cast save for fellow Hobbit star Luke Evans, who is playing Gaston. As a reminder, Dan Stevens is the Beast, Emma Watson is Belle, Kevin Kline is her father, Maurice, and Josh Gad is Le Fou.

Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters on March 17, 2017.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.