So, full disclosure: I might be hyperventilating a little bit right now. But hey, it's with good reason! According to The Hollywood Reporter, the live-action Beauty and the Beast post that's already confirmed to star Emma Watson as Belle and Luke Evans as Gaston has just found its Beast, and it's none other than Dan Stevens. Yes, as in Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens.
If you're hyperventilating right about now too, don't worry: TOTALLY NORMAL REACTION.
Although it's worth noting that this news is only being confirmed by THR right now, the industry site reports that Stevens is in negotiations for the major role in the film, which will be directed by Dreamgirls' Bill Condon. Stevens is likely best known for his portrayal of Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, but that's surely about to change in a huge way — the amount of star power this movie has is proof enough that this film is going to blow up when it hits theaters in the future.
Considering Stevens' resume, it may seem that playing a gruff sort of character like Beast is a bit of a stretch — but, personally, I'm digging this casting. It's unexpected, and Stevens does have that princely charm to his looks. (Plus, the idea of him and Emma Watson as a total OTP couple isn't a terrible one.)
No word on when to expect Beauty and the Beast in theaters, but production has been confirmed to begin later this year.