When Bill Condon was rounding out the cast for Disney's live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, he tried—and failed—to involve Beyoncé. He had worked with her before, when she played Deena Jones in his 2006 film Dreamgirls. To date, he's one of just two directors to put her in a musical—the first being Robert Townsend, who directed MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera.
"Isn't that weird?" Condon recently asked Yahoo! Movies. "God, it seems crazy!"
So, the director lobbied to work with her again. "I even tried to get her into Beauty and the Beast, but it wasn't a big enough part," he said. " She would have been a good feather duster."
Instead, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was cast was as Plumette, joining Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Nathan Mack as Chip, Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Dan Stevens as Beast, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza and Emma Watson as Belle.
Beyoncé supported Condon's reimagining, sneaking the film's world premiere in L.A. with her family. The movie, released in March 2017, later earned over $1 billion at the global box office.
Beyoncé, meanwhile, had previously been considered to voice Princess Tiana in 2009's The Princess and the Frog. Four years after the animated film's release, casting director Jen Rudin explained why the singer didn't get the part. "Beyoncé expected an offer, but wouldn't audition and so she didn't get one," she told The New York Post's page Six while promoting her book. "Tyra Banks, Jennifer Hudson wanted it. Alicia Keys auditioned three times...They had to sing, so we made it clear they needed sheet music. Tyra came in with a CD, but it didn't matter because she was so pretty and nice. It went to Anika Noni Rose, who was the most qualified."