Image courtesy of Disney

Disney has set a March 17, 2017, release date for its live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

The film stars “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson as Belle, “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens as the Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston. Josh Gad has also been cast as LeFou.

Emma Thompson has joined the cast as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle’s father, Maurice.

“Beauty and the Beast” is the first film set for the date. Lionsgate will open “The Allegiant Series, Part 2” a week later.

Bill Condon is directing, with David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films producing. The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky.

Alan Menken, who won two Oscars for the 1991 animated version of “Beauty and the Beast,” will score the new film, which will include new recordings of the original songs in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.

Production will begin in May at Shepperton Studios in London.

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