A ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Guide to the Supporting Characters

Unlike the animated version of Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s new live-action retelling of the “tale as old as time” features real-life actors inhabiting the roles of book-loving Belle (Emma Watson) and the handsome Prince (Dan Stevens, Downton Abbey). Its storyline, however, still pivots on a curse placed on the prince and his servants by Enchantress, resulting in a castle full of talking household objects. Here’s a guide to some of the enchanting supporting cast members giving voice to them.

Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra

Actor Ewan McGregor may have wielded a lightsaber in the Star Wars prequels, but in Beauty and the Beast he literally is the light, playing Lumière (French for “light”), the Prince’s trusted maître’d turned candelabra. The role of the castle’s suave host also gives McGregor the rare chance to sing on-screen, something he hasn’t done much of since 2001’s Moulin Rouge!. When he belts out the showstopping number “Be Our Guest,” it’s an offer neither Belle nor audiences can refuse.

Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the clock

It’s Cogsworth’s job to make sure everything in the prince’s castle is running like clockwork, so it’s only fitting that, when Enchantress casts her spell, the tightly wound butler ends up becoming a clock. Lending Cogsworth his unique vocal tics and tocs is two-time Academy Award nominee Ian McKellen, who certainly proved he can command a fellowship of small objects (well, hobbits) in the Lord of the Rings series.

Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, the teapot

There is a tradition of beloved British actresses who previously played magical nannies assuming the role of Mrs. Potts, the castle’s head housekeeper turned teapot. First, it was Angela Lansbury, star of Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), now, it’s Emma Thompson, star of the Nanny McPhee series, who brings some McPhee-like tough-but-maternal energy to everyone’s favorite hot-liquid dispenser.

Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup

A chip off the old block, Mrs. Potts’s son Chip is similarly turned into a piece of china when Enchantress casts her spell. With a requisite “chip” missing from his rim, Chip the teacup is voiced by young British actor Nathan Mack, who previously appeared in the 2014 miniseries Babylon. In an online interview with HeyUGuys, Mack described the experience of starring in his first big movie as “magical.” His charming performance as Chip shares a similar quality.

Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe

Following the success of the animated 1991 movie, Disney created a hit, long-running Broadway musical (1994- 2007). In readapting the story for a live-action movie, they still kept an eye on Broadway: specifically, on Broadway living legend and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, whom they cast as Madame Garderobe, an opera diva turned enchanted wardrobe. McDonald’s formidable soprano joins the rousing choir of voices encouraging Belle to be their guest.

Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord

Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci brings his unique flair and charisma to the role of Cadenza, a neurotic maestro who finds himself turned into a harpsichord. With the word “cadenza” traditionally defined as “an elaborate flourish or showy solo passage, sometimes improvised,” audiences should enjoy the showy, elaborate flourishes Tucci brings to the similarly named character.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster

British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (pronounced Goo-Goo mBAH-tah Raw) came to international attention playing a character named Belle in the 2013 period costume drama Belle. In the new Beauty and the Beast, Mbatha-Raw acts opposite Emma Watson’s Belle as Plumette, the cheeky castle maid turned elegant feather duster. In a behind-the-scenes interview with ScreenSlam, Mbatha-Raw said that the new movie has “wonderful nods to the original… but it also has really fresh takes on it.”

Check out the entire voice and live-action cast of Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast in theaters March 17.


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