Rita Ora has joined the cast of the Disney+ limited prequel series for “Beauty and the Beast.” The singer-songwriter will play “a fugitive with surprising abilities who carries with her a secret that could potentially affect an entire kingdom,” according to the show’s updated logline.
So, not Belle, if you were holding out hope for that.
Josh Gad and Luke Evans, who starred in the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie, are both executive producing the prequel series in addition to reprising their on-camera roles. And actually, Gad is co-showrunning the show with “Once Upon a Time” bosses Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Other executive producers on the limited series include Liesl Tommy and legendary Disney songwriter Alan Menken. Tommy will director the premiere episode of the ABC Signature series. Glenn Slater will write the lyrics for the first episode.
Set in the iconic kingdom of “Beauty and the Beast” years before Beast and Belle’s epic romance, the prequel series will follow Gaston (Evans) and LeFou (Gad) as they set off with LeFou’s stepsister, Tilly (Briana Middleton), after a surprising revelation from her past comes to light, sending the unlikely trio off on an unexpected journey filled with romance, comedy and adventure, the show’s description reads. While the mysteries of the past are uncovered and the dangers of the present grow, old friends and new enemies reveal that this familiar kingdom harbors many secrets.
Ora joins the previously announced cast that also includes Fra Fee and Jelani Alladin. Production is set to begin in Spring 2022.
“For anyone who’s ever wondered how a brute like Gaston and a goof like LeFou could have ever become friends and partners, or how a mystical enchantress came to cast that fateful spell on the prince-turned-beast, this series will finally provide those answers … and provoke a whole new set of questions,” Gary Marsh, the president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, said at the time the prequel series was announced.