Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald on Playing Household Items in Beauty and the Beast

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald from Beauty and the Beast
Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald from Beauty and the Beast

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald of Beauty and the Beast

It may be a tale as old as time, but “Beauty and the Beast” stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald only had to look back to their younger selves for inspiration.

“It was my favorite Disney film,” Mbatha-Raw tells Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar. “When it came out, I was 8. And I was exactly the right age. I had the cassette in my mum’s car so when we were driving to ballet I had to listen to it. I knew all the words. It was like my ‘Frozen.'”

“I was 21 and I saw it with some friends in a movie theater,” adds McDonald, “I walked in quite skeptical and walked out weeping. I was just shocked at my response to it.”

For the live-action/CGI reboot, Mbatha-Raw plays the sexy feather dusty Plumette and McDonald plays the operatic wardrobe Madame Garderobe, turned into household objects by the same spell that doomed Dan Stevens‘ prince to a beastly form.

The new version, with Emma Watson as Belle, hews closely to the animated classic but with some key twists.

“My character, Plumette, was actually called Fifi in the original,” notes Mbatha-Raw. “She was a bit more mop-like, I think, in the original, and now we have a much more dovelike elegant light feather duster.”

McDonald, a multi-Tony-winning Broadway star, gets to show off her musical talents at full force in an expanded role.

“She is much more of an operatic diva and much larger than life than maybe she was in the animated film,” she says. “With the new character, Stanley Tucci as Credenza, which didn’t exist in the original film, you get their back story, which is a lot of fun to sort of flesh out these inanimate object.”

For both, the movie kept the power that had gripped them more than 25 years ago.

“I cried again, maybe it’s hormonal because I just had a baby, but I cried so much,” says McDonald, a new mom of a daughter. “And I know the ending. I was there when we shot it. And I was still so moved by its message.”

 

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