The rumors are true!
Shortly after it was revealed that Luke Evans will be playing Gaston in Walt Disney Pictures' live-action Beauty and the Beast, the studio confirmed that Dan Stevens has been cast as Beast. Stevens hinted at his participation Wednesday, tweeting a graphic that said "Beast Mode." Emma Watson, who was cast as Belle in January, welcomed her co-stars via Twitter Thursday. "Could not be more happy that this man will be Beast!!! Welcome aboard @thatdanstevens #beautyandthebeast," she wrote, including a photo. Watson also tweeted a picture of Evans, writing, " Bonjour Gaston! Welcome! #BeautyAndTheBeast."
Oh My Disney listed four reasons it thinks Stevens, of Downton Abbey fame, is perfect for the role:
1. His eyes are as hauntingly blue as Beast's.
2. We think he's going to pull off gruff nonchalance that melts into kindness effortlessly.
3. Great accent.
4. We really want to see him with long, flowing locks.
E! News is in agreement! Walt Disney Pictures has not confirmed that director Bill Condon's version of the fairy tale classic will be a musical, like 1991's animated feature. However, when Watson announced her casting in January, the actress told her Facebook fans, "It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our 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."