It’s amazing to think that it has been 30 years since the original animated Disney movie was released to the public. Beauty and the Beast. Last night, ABC aired Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration — A two-hour animated-live-action blended special, which paid tribute to the original film.
The live special was largely faithful to the original movie’s storyline. However, there were many surprises added such as never-before seen musical performances and a diverse cast including H.E.R. as Belle, Josh Groban as the Beast, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, and Joshua Henry as Gaston — to name a few.
The stunning costumes of each cast member were hard to miss during the special’s 30th celebration. Many of these looks are still familiar from the original film. However, Marina Toybina and her team made it very clear how modernized the costumes were.
Marina spoke with us about everything Beauty and the Beast and what went on behind the scenes with creating the special’s costumes — including how H.E.R. (Gabi) paid homage in one of her costumes to her heritage, how the Beast was brought to life and more.
Marina and her crew had to keep the movie’s classic fairy-tale look while giving it a modern twist.
Marina and her crew had to design costumes that allowed actors to move naturally during live performances.
“It wasn’t your usual Disney approach to it like you see in parades. Marina said that she wanted the film to feel cinematic, so people could watch it and allow the actors to sing and move freely.
The costumes were one of the first things to be created on this production — even before the choreography, which made things tricky.
Every costume, especially the opening scene of Belle’s “provincial” life, was thought carefully.
“I did extensive research on the origins of the fabrics back then. I went with linen and denim for the opening scene, in order to keep the film’s vintage look and match the pantones of the original film. I also didn’t use too many colors.
The costumes seen in “The Beast” were inspiration for the Beast’s live costume. The Lion King And War Horse.
“His take to me was always ‘I don’t want that cheesy. I don’t want this [to be] like a birthday character coming to life.’ Since we were all inspired by this kind of bigger-in-life approach without covering our cast members — the idea came about of using puppetry for the Beast,” Marina said.
Josh Groban received training on how to self-puppeteer Marina’s 10-foot Beast costume.
“No mechanics have been used. We debated about adding animatronics and robotic touches to the machine. After many conversations, we decided that it should be as simple, beautiful, and unique as possible. I said to Josh, “The way that I’m going build it is going to require you to self-puppeteer. You’re going have to become this character.” Marina agreed.
Gabi — whose mother is Filipina-American and her father is African American — paid homage to her heritage in one of the Belle costumes she wore.
“I also hired an artist who was Filipino-American. It had to be done by hand. I wanted it to be unique and this was what I got. This was probably the most memorable part of our time together. And then, the production stood behind my decision. Marina said, “It’s important that we could include that detail and not just hide it.”
It was crucial that actors didn’t hide behind their costumes.
“I told my cast that I wasn’t going to make something that would leave you in a costume. When you have such an iconic cast, I don’t want to hide them. Our cast can shine through the costumes, and we are able to let them act.
Marina and her staff were careful to pay attention to every detail.
“There are many times that we choose Pantones (colors), out of animated. [movie] It was then corrected and printed until it was just right. She said, “I can’t even begin describe to you how madhouse it was trying not to miss a single detail.”
Gabi had to bring her own uniqueness to Belle. Marina was not content to replicate the costume designs in the Broadway and film versions of Belle.
“When it came down to the final rendering of Belle’s dress, I wanted the layers to feel like rose petals — the new beginning of a new life. Marina explained that you will see the transformation in the gown. It’s very similar, but also so different from the original.
What did you think about the 30th Anniversary Special? Let me know your thoughts below!