Like how the actress who voices Belle found out by accident that she had gotten the part…
It’s been a full 25 years since we were gifted with the Disney magic that is Beauty and the Beast.
In honor of its special anniversary, BuzzFeed spoke with the voice of Belle, Paige O’Hara, and the lead animator for Belle, Mark Henn. We also attended the film’s San Diego Comic-Con panel to get as many delightful details about the movie as we could.
Here’s what we learned:
1. Some actors didn’t get the role of the beast because they sounded “too handsome.”
2. During the auditions, those deciding on casting would sometimes “shield their eyes” to block out the voice actors so they could try and imagine them speaking as their characters.
3. To get into character, Robby Benson — the voice of Beast — would request that all of the lights in the recording studio be turned off. The only light you could see was the one illuminating the script in front of him.
4. The ballroom scene where Belle and Beast are dancing together took months to complete.
Although the scene itself wasn’t long, Henn said it took “several months, three to six months,” to illustrate.
5. And the guests in the wedding dance scene are frozen in time partly due to budgeting issues.
As Mark Henn said, “Those kind of shots are notorious for being expensive. [Also], if you look at the end of Sleeping Beauty, you’ll see a very similar situation where all the peripheral characters are largely held, because all you’re focusing on are the main characters… In this one, it’s the same idea, we’re just focused on Belle and the prince dancing and we don’t really worry about [the others].”
6. Apparently Lumière is one of the only characters with a French accent because, well, Jerry Orbach just wanted to have one.
“Jerry just wanted to…and you know, he’s the great Jerry Orbach,” said Paige O’Hara.
7. Paige suggested Belle have a French accent, but they wanted her just as she was.
8. Mark’s favorite Belle outfit is the winter one because of the beautiful hood.
9. And one of his favorite scenes to illustrate was the sequence where Belle is nursing Beast’s wounds after the wolf attack.
“I love Belle’s strength of not taking it from him and just standing up to him even though he bellows at her and her hair is flying back,” said Henn. “I love that about Belle.”
10. Mark made sure to include lots of unspoken moments between Belle and the Beast, some of which were not included in the script.
“There’s a scene where he basically lets her go … and she starts to walk away, but she goes back to touch his face,” said Henn. “There’s a lot of moments like that that were important for me as the animator to get in there.”
11. The first version of “Be Our Guest” was sung to Belle’s father, not Belle.
12. Angela Lansbury did not have to audition for her role.
13. And she apparently based Mrs. Potts off of a childhood memory she had of a maid/cook who worked for her family while she was growing up.
14. One of the biggest challenges of illustrating Mrs. Potts was making sure she looked believable as a solid object made out of porcelain.
15. Some of Belle’s graceful movements were inspired by ballet dancers.
16. Jerry Orbach would go out and film Law and Order in the morning before coming in to work on Beauty and the Beast.
17. They auditioned around 500 Belles.
18. Paige went through a total of five auditions before being offered the role.
19. But she ended up finding out she got the part by accident when David Friedman, the conductor, called and left a voicemail telling her that they needed to set keys for her songs.
20. There were specific decisions made about literally everything that Belle wore, such as the length of her gloves and how many pearls she wore.
21. There were some people working on the film who wanted the dress to be pink because “that’s what little girls like.”
22. Paige’s favorite scene is where she sings “There’s Something There.”
“That’s where she falls in love with him,” said O’Hara. “You know, the little bird thing, and the seeds and the first time he [shows] his big smile? It shows such vulnerability. Then you have me reacting and touching him and then running around and hiding behind the tree.”
23. And her favorite line is “Gaston, you are positively primeval.”
24. And finally, they realized they had a classic movie on their hands after the film’s positive reception at the New York City Film Festival.
“The film was shown to all of the New York critics partly still storyboarded and [not] fully animated, and we were all very trepidatious as to how they were going to respond by not seeing the finished product,” said O’Hara. “They started applauding after every song and then stood up for 10 minutes at the end. That’s when we all knew it was a classic. …That was a very special night.”