Gugu Mbatha-Raw Cast In 'Beauty And The Beast,' Making Her The First Non-White Actor Cast In The Live-Action Iteration
TALE AS OLD AS TIME, TRUE AS IT CAN BE. We still can't believe the live-action Beauty and the Beast is happening, and it seems like it's gonna be fantastic. On Monday, another addition was made to the already pretty flawless cast: actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw signed on to play Plumette the feather duster, who's saucy and flirty and the object of Lumiere's affections. The news comes not long after that of another royal cast member to come on board so far: Sir Ian McKellan will be playing the role of Cogsworth, which makes absolutely sense, as both of them are dignified and adorably kind. Not only is Mbatha-Raw a great choice for Plumette, she's also notably the only non-white actress that has been added to the cast, and she darn well better not be the last.
If the name Gugu Mbatha-Raw sounds unfamiliar to you, that's a shame, because she's an amazing up-and-coming star that's gonna ball out of control in Hollywood. She played the lead as a troubled hip-hop star in Beyond The Lights, a movie that got snubbed at the Academy Awards (although it was nominated for Best Original Song for "Grateful" performed by Rita Ora). Mbatha-Raw was also title character in Belle, the 2013 historical period drama about Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed-race daughter who is sent to live a life of gentry with her white uncle. Mbatha-Raw won a slew of awards for her performance, even though Belle, too, was snubbed at the Oscars. But, as we said, Plumette's gonna be just fine played by Mbatha-Raw.
No word yet on who will be playing her love interest Lumiere, but so far signed on are some impressive names to fill out the rest of the inhabitants of the Beast's castle. Emma Watson, of course, as Belle, the beauty with the brains that just wants to be left alone with her books (feel u there, girl), and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts — and did we mention that Sir Ian McKellan, Gandalf himself, will be playing Cogsworth?
Beauty And The Beast is only one of the latest in Disney's trend of rereleasing all their classics in IRL form: so far we've had Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella, Maleficent, and Into The Woods. And among those to come: The Jungle Book, Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo (why?). Disney also revealed that they would be taking on the task of bringing the animated Mulan to a live-action realization, which of course immediately sparked the question: Will Disney finally stop white-washing their movies, replacing non-white roles with white actors? We're nervous already.
So it's a good move on Disney's part to add a black woman to the cast of Beauty and the Beast, and hopefully she won't be the only person of color on the whole cast list. But — there's still a little skepticism here, because even the movie IS going to be live-action, is it possible to make a live-action feather duster without hiding the color of her skin? This is not really a question I ever thought I'd be asking, but here we are. Hope Disney makes the right move.
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