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25 Fun Facts About ‘Beauty and the Beast’

It's been 30 years since 'Beauty and the Beast' first premiered. So, in honor of the timeless love story, here are 25 fun facts about the movie.
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It’s been 30 years since Beauty and the Beast first graced our screens. Since it came out, there have been three direct-to-video sequels, a spinoff series following Belle, a Broadway musical, and a live-action adaptation. Disney also announced they are working on a live-action Disney+ prequel series focused on Gaston. It will star Luke Evans and Josh Gad reprising their roles as Gaston and LeFou, respectively. And so, to commemorate my favorite OG princess movie turning 30, here are 25 fun facts about the film.

Belle Is One of Few Disney Princesses in Her 20s

Belle in Beauty and the Beast
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Most of the Disney princesses are in their teens, with Snow White being the youngest at 14. The only Disney princesses in their 20s are Belle and Elsa. And though fans have claimed for years that Belle is 17, the cast — specifically Paige O’Hara (the voice of Belle) — has said that the princess is an adult.

“I love the fact that Belle’s independent. She wasn’t looking for a man, and she’s highly intelligent. I also love that she’s the oldest Disney princess. She’s the only one who they ever created to be in her 20s. All the other princesses have been teenagers. So, there’s a maturity about her.”

Belle Is the Only Townsperson to Wear Blue

Belle in the Village in Beauty and the Beast
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“She’s nothing like the rest of us.” If you watch the movie closely, you might notice that Belle sticks out like a sore thumb in her cool-toned blue dress. Besides Gaston, the rest of the townspeople tend to stick to neutrals and darker colors. O’Hara said the color was lucky for the movie. She even wore it to her audition and to both movie premieres.

And the costume designer for the live-action film, Jacqueline Durran, made sure to keep the blue color. “It is a practical color and a color that you can work in. In that sense, it is full of active strength. Belle is distinct within the town as the only one who wears a column of blue…She stands out as different than her environment.”

Belle Is the First Brunette Princess

Belle at the Bookstore in Beauty and the Beast
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Before Belle, the princesses only had black, blonde, or red hair. Snow White, the first princess, had short black hair, while Cinderella and Aurora both had blonde hair. And Ariel had her iconic bright red hair. Maybe Belle being a brunette like me was why I loved her so much.

Since Beauty and the Beast, there haven’t been any official Disney princesses with brown hair. However, we do have some other brunette Disney leading ladies. Jane from Tarzan and Wendy from Peter Pan are the only other animated Disney stars that share Belle’s hair color.

Here’s a full look at how the princesses have evolved.

Belle’s Yellow Ball Gown Was Designed Over Pizza

Belle and Beast Ballroom Dance in Beauty and the Beast
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The colors used in Belle’s outfits directly correlate to her progress as a character. Don Hahn, producer of the animated movie, said, “By the time you see her in the ballroom, she’s warmed up, and her colors represent that. She becomes no longer this blue character, both physically and emotionally.”

But when it came to actually designing the gown, Hahn said, “We came up with it one night over a box of pizza. Brian McEntee, the art director, said, ‘Let’s make a blue and gold ball, the colors that represent Belle, and have her be in all gold to show her love and her warmth.'”

The Beast Doesn’t Have a Name in the Film

Adam AKA The Beast in Beauty and the Beast
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He may have a name now, but the Beast was never actually named in the 1991 movie. Broadway was the first time his name was announced, and it has stuck ever since. I’m pretty sure we’re all okay with Adam being the name given to the character. Hahn said that he doesn’t have a problem with the name, but it definitely wasn’t his first choice.

“As filmmakers, we never named him because there was never going to be a sequel where he turns back into the Beast. A lot of the fans came up with Adam, but we didn’t name him. To us, he’s not Adam. Had we named him, we would have named him a French name because the fairy tale takes place in France. So he would have been a Francois or something. But if he’s Adam to you, he can stay Adam!”

The Beast Is a Mash-Up of Many Animals

The Beast in Beauty and the Beast
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Speaking of the Beast, what did you think he was supposed to be? It’s been debated over the years, but Glen Keane, the supervising animator for the Beast, laid out everything the character is. He even let fans know that “Beast actually has a rainbow bum, but nobody knows that but Belle.”

The Beast is made up of seven animals, not including the “rainbow bum” Keane said he has. He has the mane of a lion, beard and head of a buffalo, brow of a gorilla, eyes of a human, tusks of a wild boar, body of a bear, and legs and tail of a wolf.

One Animator Didn’t Want Beast To Transform Into Human

Beast in Beauty and the Beast
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Keane also said he didn’t want Beast to transform. He had wished for the Beast to stay a Beast. But since he was outvoted and the transformation happened, he wanted Belle to have a cheeky line. It didn’t make it to the animated film but did find its way into the live-action.

“I had them record Belle saying, ‘Do you think you could grow a beard?’ It was a good idea,” Keane said. “It’s not in the movie. We should have put it in there.” In the final scene of the live-action film, Belle asks, “How would you feel about growing a beard?”

The Poster for the Movie Was Designed by a Master

Beauty and the Beast Movie Poster by John Alvin
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John Alvin designed movie posters for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Gremlins, The Lion King, The Color Purple, and Blazing Saddles. So it’s no surprise that when Disney got him to design their poster, it was nothing short of beautiful — and would lead the way for other Disney movie posters.

Before Alvin’s death in 2008, he had designed over 250 movie posters, 40 of those being Walt Disney movies. Some of his other notable posters include Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from 1984 and two Harry Potter posters.

Angela Lansbury Almost Didn’t Make It to the Recording Studio

Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast
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Lansbury, the voice of Mrs. Potts, was on her flight to New York to record the title song, “Beauty and the Beast,” when they made an emergency landing because of a bomb threat. And while she was exhausted when she got there, she managed to record the song the way we know and love it.

“Mrs. Lansbury came in after being up all night, and she came in like a trooper,” Paige O’Hara said. “We were all worried that she would be too exhausted, but she comes out and sings ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in one take. They took the first take!”

The Title Song Was Done in One Take

You read that right. The song we hear in the animated film is the first take Lansbury did. “We recorded it in New York, and we were recording with [a playback of] the New York Philharmonic,” Lansbury said. Everyone in the studio couldn’t believe it, but we fans couldn’t be happier.

“I was able to record the song in one take, which is kind of exciting,” Lansbury said. “And I hadn’t really thought about doing that, but as it turned out, the take that they accepted was the first take, the first and only take that I ever did of the song. That’s the take you hear in the movie.”

Mrs. Potts Was Almost Mrs. Chamomile

Mrs. Potts and Chip in Beauty and the Beast
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While we’re on the subject of Mrs. Potts, let’s talk about her original name. In the first few scripts, the teapot was named Mrs. Chamomile — because of her calming, soothing nature — but it was scrapped later on. And it was probably for the best.

Hahn said, “We originally tried to find the most soothing possible association, and we came up with Mrs. Chamomile. Chamomile is a very soothing herbal tea, but nobody could pronounce it.” I don’t know about you, but Mrs. Chamomile really doesn’t roll off the tongue like Mrs. Potts.

Lumiere Almost Had a Different Name

Cogsworth and Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast
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Much like Mrs. Potts’s name debacle, Lumiere’s name was up for debate. Howard Ashman, the film’s lyricist and executive producer, thought “Lumiere” would be too hard for the cast and fans to pronounce. Boy, was he wrong about that?

During most of the production, he was called “Chandal” because it sounded like “chandelier.” For those that don’t speak fluent French (like me), “Chandal” doesn’t have a translation. However, “Lumiere” translates to light, which fits the bright light of the castle.

What would your Disney name be?

The Film Made Oscars History

Belle in the Pink Dress in Beauty and the Beast
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Beauty and the Beast was the first feature-length animated film to be recognized at the Academy Awards since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 54 years earlier. It was also the first-ever animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the 1992 Oscars. It lost to Silence of the Lambs, but it opened the door to more animated movies being nominated and winning the Best Picture award.

“Beauty and the Beast was a big turning point. Getting the Best Picture nomination was like the U.S. Hockey team beating the Russians,” Hahn said. “That’s what it felt like. We were trying our best to make good movies, and in many ways, we didn’t know what we were doing. But we had amazing talent there, and we had nothing to lose. So, it did feel like an unbelievable upset just to get nominated.”

Chip Originally Only Had One Line

Chip in Beauty and the Beast
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Can you imagine a movie where Chip only says one line? Bradley Pierce, the voice of Chip, spilled that he initially only recorded one line for the film. The rest of Chip’s dialogue “was supposed to be done by a chiming music box that just played music as it related to the scene.”

Thankfully, my favorite teacup got his lines. Production changed it to give children a way to connect to the story since most of the characters were grown-ups. “They wanted to increase the only child presence, which was Chip,” Pierce said.

The Movie Almost Came 60 Years Earlier

Belle at the Bookstore in Beauty and the Beast
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Walt Disney was thinking about this movie before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, a live-action version was released by French filmmaker Jean Cocteau, and the plans were knocked back a few decades. But it all worked out for Disney fans.

Disney didn’t want to release an animated version of Cocteau’s film, so he tabled the idea. Because of that, when it came time for Beauty and the Beast to start production, they were able to incorporate some ideas from the live-action, and we got the movie we know and love.

It Almost Wasn’t a Musical

Angry Beast in Beauty and the Beast
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Late in the 1980s, British animator Roger Purdum was hired to direct a non-musical version of Beauty and the Beast, written by Linda Woolverton. But, Disney wasn’t happy with it, describing it as too dark and depressing. It also gave Belle a little sister, Clarice, and a cat named Charley. Woolverton was flown out to work with The Little Mermaid lyricist Howard Ashman on a new version, this time with original songs.

“In the middle of our process, the Little Mermaid premiered, and that changed everything. The concept of the musical, the Broadway musical brought to animation by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken,” Woolverton said. “Howard and I just clicked… In a hotel room in Fishkill, New York, Howard and I pretty much conjured up this version of Beauty and the Beast. Howard and I never clashed. I was his student. He taught me everything I know about musicals.”

“Human Again” Was Cut From the Movie

The eleven-minute musical sequence was cut from the original release of the film. However, it was added to recent DVDs and Blu-Ray extras for fans to enjoy. “Human Again” is an upbeat waltz sung by the enchanted objects of the castle while Belle is staying there. The live-action adaptation replaced that song with “Days in the Sun,” which expanded their backstory instead.

“We kept asking, ‘Well, what? Is Maurice wandering around in the woods all this time? Is Gaston just sitting around in a tavern drinking beer after beer growing a long white beard? We couldn’t quite figure out what to do with the other characters during this time that Belle’s at the castle and keep the motor of the story running,” co-director Kirk Wise said.

Three of the Film’s Songs Were Nominated for Oscars

Be Our Guest Musical Number in Beauty and the Beast
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We all probably know that “Beauty and the Beast” took home the 1992 Oscar award for Best Original Song. But did you know “Belle” and “Be Our Guest” were also nominated? The other two songs in the category were “When You’re Alone” from Hook and “(Everything I Do) I Do for You” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

“Beauty and the Beast” wasn’t the first Disney song to win an Oscar. Pinnochio’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” was the first, and “Remember Me” from Coco is the most recent Disney winner. Other notable songs are “Let It Go” from Frozen, “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan, “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. Disney took home Best Original Song fourteen times.

Jackie Chan Voices a Character in an International Version

Martial arts extraordinaire Jackie Chan can sing. I was shocked because I had no idea until this year when I stumbled upon a clip of him singing. Chan dubbed the Beast’s voice for the Chinese translation of Beauty and the Beast.

He sang all of Beast’s songs, as well as covered “Beauty and the Beast” with Sarah Chen, a Taiwanese singer. A clip of their version is available online, and it’s just as beautiful as every translation I’ve heard. And that includes the original Mrs. Potts version.

One of the Directors Got His Start with Caricatures

Belle and the Enchanted Rose in Beauty and the Beast
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Kirk Wise, the co-director of Beauty and the Beast, got his start with animation by first doing caricatures for tourists at Universal Studios. He took the job to make money while attending the California Institute of the Arts.

Wise’s first job with Disney was as an assistant animator on The Great Mouse Detective. Beauty and the Beast was his first director credit. He has also directed The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He was also Creative Consultant for the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

We Were Supposed to See the Young Prince Transform into a Beast

Belle and Beast in Beauty and the Beast
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In the first cut of the film, the sorceress was supposed to chase the prince through the castle, throwing magic around and turning servants into enchanted objects. Eventually, she would catch the prince and turn him into the Beast.

As she left, the young Beast would scream for her to come back and fix him. But Kirk Wise vetoed the scene, saying, “The only thing that I could see in my head was this Eddie Munster kid in a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit.”

Related: Disney Announces New ‘Cruella’ Streaming Plans

There Are Tons of Easter Eggs

Belle Singing Belle (Reprise) in Beauty and the Beast
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The first easter egg in the film most people recognize is the road sign Maurice finds in the woods. One of the signs points to Anaheim, home of Disneyland, and another points to Valencia, home of the California Institute of the Arts (where many animators of the film studied).

Belle singing on the hilltop in “Belle (Reprise)” directly nods to The Sound of Music‘s opening scene. Other easter eggs include a Mickey Mouse-shaped crank on the back of Cogsworth’s head and the gargoyles in Beast’s castle being earlier iterations of the character.

Some Characters Made Their Way Into Other Disney Movies

Mrs. Potts and Chip in Tarzan
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Fans are quick to find some of their favorite characters in other Disney movies, like Rapunzel and Eugene from Tangled popping in during Frozen and the King from Cinderella showing up in The Little Mermaid. But did you know Belle, Beast, Mrs. Potts, and Chip cameo in other movies?

Belle has her nose in a book wandering around in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In Aladdin, Beast is one of the stacking toys that the Sultan plays with. And Mrs. Potts and Chip, at least the unenchanted version of them, are seen in Tarzan.

The Live-Action Film Closed Many Animated Plot-Holes

The biggest plot hole from the 1991 movie was the timeline of the Beast’s curse. He had until his 21st birthday to find love, meaning he was eleven years old when he was turned (according to Lumiere’s line in Be Our Guest”). The live-action made sure to be vague about the timeline, changing the lyric from “10 years” to “too long we’ve been rusting.”

The live-action also made Gaston a war hero, explained what happened to Belle’s mother, gave us Mr. Potts, and showed why the village didn’t remember the castle. In the animated film, there are hints the castle is enchanted, but the live-action explains it more outright. The enchantment had an amnesia element in it, meaning they wouldn’t remember until it was broken.

See another one of Disney’s upcoming live-action remakes here.

The Final Scene Is Full of Secrets

Final Scene of Beauty and the Beast
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Eagle-eyed fans might notice the final dance choreography of Beauty and the Beast is similar to Sleeping Beauty‘s final dance scene. That’s because it was essentially copy-and-pasted from Sleeping Beauty to Beauty and the Beast.

Other than that, did you notice nobody in the background moves while the couple dances? That was done to save money and make Belle and the Prince the focal point. Mark Henn, the lead animator for Belle, said, “Those kind of shots are notorious for being expensive.”

How many of Disney’s animated films have you seen?