‘Beyond the Lights’ Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw Joins ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)

gugu mbatha-raw
Image courtesy of Rich Polk/Getty Images

“Beyond the Lights” star Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been tapped to play the feather duster Plumette in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.

Luke Evans (Gaston), Josh Gadd (LeFou), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), and Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) also star. Bill Condon is directing from a script written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films are producing. Mbatha-Raw’s character has gone through several iterations in the Disney canon, with the flirty feather duster previously called both Babette and Fifi in other versions of the story.

Production will begin this year for a March 17, 2017, release.

The studio’s 1991 animated feature “Beauty and the Beast” grossed more than $375 million worldwide, spawning a Broadway play and becoming the first animated film to score an Oscar nomination for best picture.

Disney has several live-action reboots of classic tales on the horizon, including “Mulan,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio” and “The Jungle Book.”

Mbatha-Raw was most recently seen in “Jupiter Ascending” and is currently filming “Free State of Jones” opposite Matthew McConaughey. She is repped by CAA, Curtis Brown Group and Authentic.

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  1. The character’s name is Babette in the animated film. Not sure if this is a mistake for Variety or the original source.

  2. thesteelgeneral says:

    She was so cute in Touch!!! And soooo cool in the spy vs spy TV show Undercovers !!!

  3. LOL says:

    Wouldn’t it have been inspired to cast Mbatha-raw in the lead role, not to mention progressive, rather than the standard posh white girl that has been given the part?

    One supposes, though, that such ‘risk-taking’ may affect bottom line takings in the mountain states and such.

    • DorothyParkerlite says:

      I actually thought the same exact thing. Not because it would be progressive, or makes a statement. (It’s a timeless story in a fantasy world where all the bad human stuff in real history didn’t exist. That’s the story I’m sticking to, anyway.) I just honestly see Mbatha-Raw as a more believable Beauty than Watson. I like Emma, and she’s fantastic in the roles she’s chosen thus far, however I just don’t think she’s quite the wide-eyed curious Belle that Gugu would be. Gugu was excellent as the title character in BELLE the movie, so she’s got the acting chops (I recommend). Maybe when they do the non-musical, non-Disney version. Oh man, now THAT would be awesome.

    • Jerrica says:

      Emma Watson is a wonderfully charming and talented actress. I think casting nailed it. She is the perfect Belle.

  4. Danielle says:

    I thought the character name was fifi? or is it changed for the live action?

  5. Deema says:

    so how is this gonna work are all the objects gonna be CGI or is GuGu Mbatha Raw dressing up like a feather duster?

  6. drakeca89 says:

    babbette not plumette

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