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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.”

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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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