The live action version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is released in Irish cinemas this week. Starring Dan Stevens as the Beast and Emma Watson as Belle, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a reimagining of the classic Disney animated film, in which Belle finds herself imprisoned in the Beast’s castle, which has a lot more hidden secrets than even Belle thought.

To celebrate the release of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Irish cinemas, Movies.ie has gathered together 10 facts about the film that you really need to know. Keep reading to find out more…

1. First time
It was recently revealed that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is the first Disney film to feature a gay character. Director Bill Condon told Attitude Magazine that Gaston’s right hand man Le Fou – played by Josh Gad – alternates between wanting to be Gaston, and wanting to be intimate with him; “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings. It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie”.

2. Thanks but no thanks
Ryan Gosling was offered the role of the Beast, but turned it down to appear in ‘La La Land’ instead. On the other hand, Emma Watson was offered the lead role in ‘La La Land’, but turned down that film to star in ‘Beauty and the Beast’. It’s a strange world!

3. Song as old as… 1991!
Alan Menken, who scored the 1991 animated version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ returns to score this live-action adaptation, which includes new recordings of the original songs in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.

4. Cast
As well as Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ stars Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, Stanley Tucci and Emma Thompson. That’s a seriously impressive line up!

5. Mais oui!
According to Ewan McGregor, the hardest part about playing Lumiere was getting the character’s French accent right, although his wife of twenty years is in fact French. He said his voice ending up sounding Mexican instead of French.

6. Not then, but now
Ian McKellen plays Cogsworth in this new version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Interestingly, McKellen turned down the same role in the 1991 animated film.

7. Back together
Emma Watson developed a close relationship with screenwriter Stephen Chbosky while working on ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’. Watson then brough Chbosky him on board ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to work on the script.

8. Ch-ch-ch-changes
In the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Belle is an inventor, instead of that being her father’s role. Watson wanted Belle to have her own back-story, and a strong reason why the other villagers regarded her as different. Watson also insisted that the character wear boots, and not the flat shoes that Belle wore in the animated film.

9. French connection
‘Beauty and the Beast’ is set in France. In interesting coincidences, Emma Watson was actually born in France, and Ewan McGregor’s wife is French.

10. When can I see ‘Beauty and the Beast’?
‘Beauty and the Beast’ is released in Irish cinemas on March 17th 2017. Watch the trailer below…