Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens to play the Beast opposite Emma Watson in Disney remake
The role of the Beast in Disney's upcoming re-telling of the classic tale may well go to Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Stevens is "in negotations" to star opposite Emma Watson who will play Belle and the recently cast Luke Evans, who is set to play the villain in the live action remake.
Aside from Downton, Stevens has been making inroads into a big screen career with roles in action/thriller The Guest, and appearances in Night At the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Beauty and the Beast is the latest of Disney's classics to get a modern live-action makeover.
The next, Cinderella, opens next week whilst last year Maleficent - the Angelina Jolie-starring update on Sleeping Beauty - smashed the box office.
Disney's animated version of Beauty and the Beast was released
Emma Watson revealed she was on board in January. The English actress, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, was first attached to the movie back in 2011.
Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) is directing the reboot while Stephen Chbosky, who directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is writing the script.
"I'm finally able to tell you that I will be playing Belle!" Watson wrote on her official Facebook page. "It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Out Guest' and sing 'Something There'.
"My six-year-old self is on the ceiling - heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can't wait for you to see it."
Watson was initially lined-up to play Belle when Guillermo del Toro was on board to direct a version of the animated classic for Warner Bros. When that project was scrapped, permission was given to Disney to cast her instead.
The animated Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991 and was nominated for six Oscars and won two - Best Music, Original Score, and Best Music, Original Song.