First Image From Gans' Beauty & The Beast

Plus a statement from the director

First announced a year or so ago, Christophe Gans' adaptation of the classic fairytale Beauty And The Beast is now in post-production. The film stars Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel, and as the 2013 Cannes film festival winds down, the first still has emerged from the movie market, courtesy of Pathe International. Seydoux is Beauty and Cassel is the beast, just in case there was any confusion.

Gans previously directed the live-action manga adaptation Crying Freeman, the mind-bending genre crossover Brotherhood Of The Wolf (a pre-French-revolutionary monster kung-fu horror mystery with Native Americans and Monica Bellucci), and the surreal Silent Hill movie that got an awful sequel last year from Michael J. Bassett. An amazing visual stylist, he's promising great things for Beauty And The Beast, as outlined in the statement that accompanies the image:

"Beauty And The Beast is the adaptation of a story by Madame de Villeneuve. Published anonymously in 1740 as La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins, it paints a portrait of Belle, a joyful and touching young girl who falls in love with the Beast, a cursed creature in search of love and redemption. In 1760, a condensed children’s version was published. It was from this version that Jean Cocteau and then Walt Disney drew their famous adaptations. Overshadowed, the original version by Madame de Villeneuve has never been adapted for the screen... until now!

"Beauty And The Beast is the story of a family going through a crisis, having lost all of its possessions when the father was ruined. The encounter - at first terrifying, but then voluptuous - with this mythical Beast provides our characters with an opportunity to get back on their feet. I like to think that this film is a metaphor for the situation that is currently afflicting the world. That is one of the advantages of fairy tales, to present an ensemble of values that endure through the ages.

"Beauty And The Beast speaks, among other things, of the power of dreams and love over materialism and corruption - a theme more topical now than ever. It was time to pay tribute to Madame de Villeneuve’s story: an amazingly contemporary tale, in which the poem of love is also a message of hope."

* - Christophe Gans*

Cassel needs no introduction, and worked with Gans before on Brotherhood Of The Wolf. He was also to star in Gans' ambitious new Fantomas, but that project sadly fell through. The steadily rising Seydoux meanwhile, stars in the Palme d'Or-winning Blue Is The Warmest Colour, and you may also recognise her from Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, and from Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. She has a role of unspecified size in Wes Anderson's forthcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Can Gans come up with what he's promising? Will Cassel's Beast stand tall alongside Jean Marais, Robby Benson, Ron Perlman and Meatloaf? We should find out sometime next year; the release date, in France at least, is February 12.