Unlike Emma Watson, who watched Beauty and the Beast dozens of times in the '90s, EwanMcGregor has never seen Disney's animated film. The revelation took Stephen Colbert by surprise on The Late Show Monday, as McGregor plays the candelabra Lumière (a.k.a. Beast's maître d) in Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures' live-action adaptation of the classic musical.
To play the part, McGregor first wore a motion capture suit. "We did the balls thing for a day, just to get my movements, so Lumière could feel a bit like me, I guess," the actor said. "Then I recorded my dialogue with Sir Ian McKellen. We did it together in a recording studio. He plays the clock—uh, Cogsworth? Thank God you were here, because I couldn't remember his name."
How does one forget Cogsworth's name? "I have children. You have four daughters, right?" Colbert asked his famous guest. "Surely you knew this musical before you took the job, right?"
McGregor's eldest child is 21 and his youngest daughter is 6. "How could you possibly avoid Disney?" Colbert wondered. "How did you escape from the black hole that is 'Be Our Guest?'"
"I have never seen it, the original. Is it good?" McGregor asked. Sensing the audience's shock, he explained, "It's not because I didn't want to. It's just...I don't know. It wasn't one that they watched, I guess." It was actually for the best, he said. "It was quite handy, in a way, because when you're going to play a part that's so well known, it's quite good if you don't know it so it can be yours. I didn't have to try and sound like the guy who did it in the cartoon in the '90s."
Colbert also asked McGregor about what director Bill Condon recently described as an "exclusively gay moment" involving Josh Gad's character, LeFou, towards the end of the film. Mocking the backlash, the Scottish actor said, "There's a lot of gay sex in this cartoon—and if you live anywhere near Alabama, you should not go and see this film. What would Jesus think?"
"He's a gay character!" McGregor insisted. "It's 2017, for f--k's sake!"