Ian McKellen to Play Cogsworth in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)

After portraying a wizard and a mutant in two lucrative franchises, Ian McKellen’s next role will be a piece of furniture. The British thesp is set to play Cogsworth in Disney’s live-action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson, Variety can exclusively reveal.

Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad and Emma Thompson 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.

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

In the original Disney movie, Cogsworth was the Beast’s loyal butler, who was transformed into a clock by a curse that overtook the castle.

The studio’s 1991 animated feature version of “Beauty and the Beast” grossed more than $375 million worldwide, spawned a Broadway play and became one of the few animated films to receive a best picture Oscar nomination.

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

McKellen recently reprised his role of Gandalf in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” and can be seen next in Condon’s “Mr. Holmes,” hitting theaters on July 17. He is repped by CAA and Independent Talent Group.

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