Emma Thompson to play Mrs Potts in Disney’s live action ‘Beauty And The Beast’

She joins Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans in the 2017 movie

Emma Thompson is to play housekeeper Mrs Potts in Disney’s new live-action version of Beauty And The Beast.

Disney confirmed Thompson’s casting in a press release yesterday (March 16) which also announced that Kevin Kline will play Maurice, father of heroine Belle, and set the film’s release date as March 17, 2017.

Thompson and Kline join Emma Watson, who announced in January that she has been cast as Belle, Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens, who will play the Beast/the Prince, and Luke Evans, who has landed the role of dashing baddie Gaston. It was reported yesterday (March 16) that Josh Gad is being lined up to play Le Fou, Gaston’s clownish sidekick, but Disney did not confirm Gad’s casting in yesterday’s press release.

Dreamgirls‘ Bill Condon is directing Disney’s live-action Beauty And The Beast movie from a script by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) and Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules). Shooting is due to start later this year.

Disney previously adapted Jeanne-Marie Leprince’s traditional French fairy tale La Belle Et La Bête into a much-loved animated film featuring the popular songs ‘Be Our Guest’, ‘Something There’ and ‘Beauty And The Beast’. Released in 1991, it became the first ever animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Disney’s forthcoming live-action version will feature new recordings of the songs from the 1991 film plus additional songs written by Alan Menken and Sir Tim Rice.

Disney’s new Beauty And The Beast movie will follow its live-action version of another classic fairy tale, Cinderella, which stars Downton Abbey actress Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, and opens in UK cinemas on March 27. Watch the trailer below.