“Beauty and the Beast” is getting a two-hour live-action and animated special for its 30th anniversary, which is set to air on ABC on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. ET. The project, to be executive produced by Jon M. Chu (“In the Heights,” “Crazy Rich Asians”) and directed by Hamish Hamilton, will feature a new cast.
The special will pay tribute to the 1991 original film and its legacy by “showcasing the fan-favorite movie, along with new memorable musical performances, taking viewers on a magical adventure through the eyes of Belle.” The Disney fairy tale made history as the first animated feature to garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture in 1992, winning Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
“‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a timeless story and we’re so fortunate to work with creative mastermind Jon M. Chu and veteran director Hamish Hamilton to bring a modern twist to this beloved classic for an unforgettable night of Disney magic,” Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, said in a statement. “Stacked with unforgettable performances, this will be a must-see special event for fans of the original and for the new generation being introduced to this cherished tale.”
Each performance will pay homage to the classic tale, while also adding to the iconic story with new sets, never-before seen performances and original costuming. The musical special will feature the movie’s original songs, to be performed in front of a live audience at Disney Studios.
“‘Beauty and the Beast’ was always a game-changing cinematic experience for me,” Chu said in a statement. “When the animated movie came out, I watched it multiple times in the first weekend. It showed me the outer limits of what animated artists and storytellers could achieve, so the fact that I get to executive produce a tribute to all the creatives that made this masterpiece through our Electric Somewhere company is a dream I didn’t even think was possible. With world-class creatives and talent to reinterpret the classic musical numbers (with a few surprises), I can’t wait for the audiences, in person and at home, to experience what we have in store for them. It’s a true celebration of creativity.”
Chu, who is currently in an overall deal with Disney Television Studios, is in pre-production on Universal’s “Wicked” adaptation, starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. He is also developing Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” with Warner Bros. and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, his first animated feature. Hamilton is a five-time Emmy nominee and is best known for directing TV specials and awards ceremonies, such as the Super Bowl Halftime shows, Grammys, Emmys and Academy Awards.
In 2019, Hamilton directed ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!” — a live broadcast of the animated film featuring live performances from cast members such as Auli’i Cravalho (who played Ariel) and Shaggy (who played Sebastian). It was nominated for three Emmy awards.
“Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” is produced by Done+Dusted in association with Walt Disney Television Alternative and Electric Somewhere. In addition to Chu and Hamilton, executive producers are Caitlin Foito, Raj Kapoor, Richard Kraft and Katy Mullan.
News of the special was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.