Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Video: Beauty and the Beast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Plumette" Behind the Scenes Movie Interview

Beauty and the Beast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Plumette" Behind the Scenes Movie Interview

Published on 2 Mar 2017
Beauty and the Beast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Plumette" Behind the Scenes Movie Interview
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Photos: Gugu in Stella magazine for The Telegraph








Gugu Mbatha-Raw Sings With ‘Beauty And The Beast’ And Teases ‘God Particle’ [Interview]






Let’s be honest. Gugu Mbatha-Raw should be a star.  After her revelatory performances in “Belle”and “Beyond the Lights” she should be on the short list of must-land leading ladies from prestige Oscar bait to summer blockbusters.  It hasn’t happened yet, but the Brit is in the middle of a noteworthy phase of her career that might finally put her front and center.
Last year Mbatha-Raw co-starred in the incredible “San Junipero” episode of “Black Mirror” and stole a scene or two from Jessica Chastain in “Miss Sloane.”  This past weekend she starred in the box office smash “Beauty and the Beast” as Plumette (a mostly vocal performance) and in October will appear in the Sci-Fi thriller “God Particle” which was recently revealed to be the third installment of the “Cloverfield” franchise (whatever that really means).
Early this month Mbatha-Raw took some time to sit down and chat about her experience shooting “Beauty,” the reaction to “San Junipero” and whether she knew “God Particle” was a franchise film or not.
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Gregory Ellwood: How did it come to you? How did it get in your inbox?
Gugu Mbatha-Raw: Oh my gosh, I just got a phone call from my agent about it and it was an offer for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and I am so obsessed with the Disney original I squealed down the phone because I think I saw the original when I was eight-years-old and it is my Disney film so it was a very surreal moment for me. I think my childhood self was just kind of ecstatic to be a small part of it. Then when I heard about the cast and obviously Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, but actors like Emma Thompson and Sir Ian McKellen — these legendary English actors that I have looked up my whole career. It was a no brainer really.
Your performance is mostly voice over because you’re playing the feather duster, Plumette. Were you able to record at all with any of your other cast members?
No, it was completely solo. We did have the wonderful Bill Condon directing us and getting us to try all the vocals different ways, the accent, working with a vocal coach.  The most fun part that we got to do all together was the final ballroom scene and in fact, my first day was a ballroom dance rehearsal with Ewan McGregor which was the first time that we got to meet.  That was kind of a lovely ice breaker to suddenly be thrown in a dance studio and trying to learn to waltz basically. That was kind of amazing and then we also had the transformation day where we all transform from our objects and I get pulled from a pile of feathers which is pretty fun.
Did that occur before you recorded your voice performance?
We did it in stages. We did some recordings around that time and then we did the filming part of it. Then we did some more vocal recordings and a few months went by while they did some more of the special effects and then we came back again six months later. it was sort of all done in stages as every department brought the characters to life and we were able to add to it.
You get to sing in the movie as well. Were you excited about that opportunity as well?
So thrilled. Obviously Plumette doesn’t really get any solos or anything, but there is a new song ‘Days In The Sun’ in this version which is especially for the household objects which I think is very romantic and beautiful.  We were all in different part [of the] harmony which was lovely and then to be able to be laying down vocals for tracks like ‘Be Our Guest,’ even in the chorus of that song, it’s so iconic. Singing that song, you just have it in your head for the rest of the day. It’s so catchy. That was really, really cool.
You said this was your favorite Disney animated film. For lack of a better cliché, were you pinching yourself for an opportunity to be in the live action version? 
The whole time. It was so surreal. Stepping on to that Disney ballroom set, I remember walking on there with Emma Thompson. We both hadn’t gotten into our costumes yet but we just went to rehearse on the set and our jaws dropped. The whole ballroom was garlanded with flowers. You could smell the flowers. They were real. Real candles that people had to light and snuff between takes. Our jaws dropped and Emma was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It really just had lashings and lashings of that Disney magic.
You’ve had this amazing year. Many people had seen your previous work, but because of Netflix they’ve now seen you in ‘Black Mirror’ and they’ve seen ‘San Junipero,’ arguably the most buzzed about episode of the last season. Have you gotten lots of feedback from that? People love that episode so much.
From ‘San Junipero’? Yeah. It’s been wonderful. All positive. People have said to me it’s their favorite episode. Grown men have told me it’s had them in tears. I think it’s really surprising and wonderful that it’s affected people.
Did you realize that at the time when you were shooting it?
You never know how anything is going to turn out really. I know we had a great time doing it and I remember when I first read it, it was just so refreshing and the twist just took me by surprise and I just loved the music and the era and then when you see it together, again the music is so emotive. It really takes you to a place. Yeah you can never anticipate and you don’t want to be complacent about these things but I think it’s sort of turned out better than any of us expected.
You’re right you don’t always know how it’s going to turn out. When you saw ‘Beauty’ for the first time was there anything that surprised you?
I’d seen various versions where the special effects weren’t completely done and I often have reservations about movies with CG. Especially if we’re supposed to care about the characters. There’s often a disconnect. I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah I can tell that this isn’t a human kind of thing. I just don’t feel emotionally connected to this creature that is computerized.’ I was nervous especially for the Beast I think and then when I saw the final version, it was kind of amazing to me that it seemed like he had a soul. I don’t know what they had done but that dance performance and everybody else’s work combined, really gave the Beast … There’s this humor and you see into his eyes. Again, you really feel like more than many CG characters that I’ve seen that they really accomplish something very human with him.
Before you even recorded, did they show you a sketch or rendering of what Plumette was going to look like
Yeah my first costume fitting Jacqueline Duran, the costume design, said, ‘Would you like to meet your object?’ We walked into this room and there was … She’d prepared it all. It was so beautiful. She had Plumette on a stand, this beautiful feather duster about this high, with the feathers and everything and that was the first time I’d seen it because in the original, I don’t know if you remember. She’s not called Plumette, she’s called Fifi and she’s very mop like. More like an ostrich with a long handle and a mop end and brown. More like a French maid at the end but brown mop and when you look at the Plumette that we have which is this very elegant feather duster, more like for dusting ornaments than mopping floors. I was pleasantly surprised that they’d reimagined her almost like a dove or a white peacock. We definitely put a lot of the feathers into the costumes and wherever we could. Jacqueline was putting feathers in the bustle. We were playing on that tail feather idea. I had feathers in my wig.  I got to be blonde which was fun – an ode to Marilyn Monroe a little bit – but we added some feathers in there as well just to make it whimsical.
Can we talk about that amazing outfit that when you transformed into? What was your thoughts when you saw it and did you want to take it home?
(Laughs.) No, although I did steal some feathers because in the transformation scene – spoiler alert – I got buried in a pile of white ostrich feathers. This huge pile and it was a hole in the ground. You can’t really tell, but [Ewan] pulls me out of a huge pile of white feathers and they were ginormous and I smuggled a few of those home, but no the costume is wonderful. It had a corset type shape and everyone was all in white, cream and then the ballroom scene had this hoop skirt and when we’re swirling around, everyone’s skirts move. It’s very romantic.
Was that hard to do that dancing? Was it tough choreography or was it easier than-
It was tough to … When we were learning it, I had just flown in from LA that morning. I was so jet lagged the first dance lesson. Oh no. My tea bag is caught in my ring. There we go. Yeah so it was … I don’t know it was fun to learn it with Ewan because he’s got a great sense of humor and it’s a great way to get to know somebody and also I don’t know. There’s just something really fun and liberating about dancing.
My last question for you is I know because ‘God Particle’ is a J.J. Abrams production so can probably say zero about it, but when you made it did you know it was part of the ‘Cloverfield’ franchise?  That it was third movie?
No.
You had no idea?
No.
You found that out later?
Yeah.
Was it a fun experience at least?
It was amazing. It was very intense but it was a amazing experience and again another phenomenal cast.
“Beauty and the Beast” is now playing nationwide.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Kid Reporter’s Notebook - Beauty and the Beast with actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw

KID REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK

Beauty and the Beast


Jeremy Hsiao interviews Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays the role of Plumette in the film.
Jeremy Hsiao interviews Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays the role of Plumette in the film.
Jeremy at the press screening for Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast offers a fresh take on the beloved 1991 Disney classic. Directed by Bill Condon, the new live-action movie stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, among others.
As in the original film, Belle (played by Watson) becomes prisoner to a prince-turned-Beast (played by Stevens). The new adaptation adds its own special touches, with musical masterpieces by Alan Menken.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Plumette, a maid who is turned into a feather duster. She falls in love with Lumière (Ewan McGregor), a royal valet who has been cursed into a candelabra.
“It’s really exciting for me because I was so obsessed with the original,” said Mbatha-Raw about her role in the new film. “The first animation came out when I was 8 years old. I had the cassette tape that I would listen to with all the songs.”
Jeremy Hsiao interviews Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays the role of Plumette in the film.
Jeremy with actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw
This is the first animated CGI character that the actress has played, “so to have the chance of playing a feather duster is something unusual and playful,” she said. “Visually, Plumette does look quite different in the original film. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she’s been made into a very elegant, dove-like feather duster that can fly.”

“TIMELESS CLASSICS”
While filming Beauty and the Beast, Mbatha-Raw enjoyed working with several notable actors, including Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Audra McDonald.
“These are actors I have admired for a long time. McDonald is just a massive Broadway legend,” said Mbatha-Raw, who recently wrapped up production on Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. That movie, which is directed by Ava DuVernay and due out next year, is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle.
“The experience with A Wrinkle in Time was wonderful, getting to work with young actors such as Storm Reid and Deric McCabe,” Mbatha-Raw said. “It’s a real honor to be able to bring these timeless classics back to life for a new generation.”

Photos courtesy of the author

#BeOurGuestEvent: Exclusive Interview With Audra McDonald (“Garderobe”) & Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Plumette”) #BeautyAndTheBeast

#BeOurGuestEvent: Exclusive Interview With Audra McDonald (“Garderobe”) & Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Plumette”) #BeautyAndTheBeast

Beauty And The BeastBEAUTY AND THE BEAST opens in theaters everywhere on March 17th!

Audra McDonald (“Garderobe”) & Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Plumette”) were a pleasure to speak with during our press event. So why did these lovely, talented ladies want to be a part of Beauty and the Beast?
Gugu was only eight years old when the animated version was produced. She told us that she was obsessed with the original Disney film and used to make her mother play her cassette tape in the car on her way to dance everyday. “I knew all the words to all the songs and you know, it was, it is still my favorite Disney movie so I had a very personal connection to it.  And when my agent called and said they wanted me to play a part in this I squealed down the phone, so loudly.”
Audra heard that they were going to make a live version of Beauty and the Beast, so when her agent called her and told her what changes they were making in the story and that they wanted her to be in it, at first she didn’t fully comprehend…“I was like, ‘excuse me?  That doesn’t make sense.”

“But, if Disney calls, like I said, I would sell churros at the park for them, you know what I mean?” ~ Audra

Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
I remember watching Private Practice and being intrigued with Audra McDonald. She played such a strong role and very memorable. I didn’t realize that she could sing (I’ve must have been living under a rock…because she has a powerful voice). Audra grew up in Fresno, California (about 45 minutes away from where I currently live). She was born into a musical family and received her classical vocal training at Juilliard! When you watch Beauty and the Beast, you will be blown away…as her voice lights up every scene she is in!
“I was a really hyperactive child having, struggling, actually and my parents were struggling with trying to figure out how to help me.  And I was an overdramatic child and having a hard time in school and whatnot.  And they went to the local dinner theater one night and saw a little junior troop that performed before the main musical and it was kid, a group of kids. And I loved to sing at home and all that stuff and I had all this extra energy and drama inside of me.  And they said, ‘maybe this is gonna help her.’  And so, I auditioned for that when I was nine years old and that set me on my path and so I really, I really have my parents to thank for looking for something that would be right for me to express who I was and find a way to channel that energy.  And so that’s what started me on my path.” ~ Audra
Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
It was great to see such a multicultural cast in the film. Gugu told us they they all just brought themselves to the film and she was “thrilled that Bill Condon, the director, had the vision to make it such a diverse cast.  You know, it wasn’t really something we discussed, which is kind of cool in this day and age, it just sort of is.” Someday, hopefully we will live in a day and age where people don’t even think about the color of your skin or your sexual orientation. Audra is “pleased that Disney recognizes that you know, you’ve got to represent the entire world out there.  And that’s what they’re doing.”
Audra‘s daughter was so excited for her mother to work with Emma Watson. This was a surprise to me, only because Audra is such a talented actress and singer…but then again, she is mom. Kids view their parents in a different light. Audra actually said she was thrilled that her daughter was excited about Emma, “because Emma’s such an incredible role model.” Audra is an incredible role model herself, but she never once talked about her accolades…she only had wonderful things to say about her fellow cast members. What really impressed me was when she told us that for her daughter’s 15th and 16th birthday, she asked for people to make donations to charities in her name! Audra said, “That’s what she asked for and that’s because of Emma Watson.”
Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
Kids learn so much from what they watch…and it’s nice to have role models like Emma, Audra, and Gugu around for our youth to look up to!
Both of these actresses had to play a real person and an animated prop in the film. Gugu told us “it was just so liberating.”  This was such a different role for her…as she came from intense dramatic roles and now she was going to play a feather duster. She thought it was “so whimsical and fun.”  Finding her voice was challenging. She put in a lot of vocal work to make Plumette come to life. She worked on her French accent with a dialect coach and got into the mood of her childhood of “let’s pretend.” She didn’t feel limited by her face and body, she was free to use her voice to explore!
Gugu was pleasantly surprised to see that her object was a sort of flying dove/peacock…a very dainty creation. Her costumes mimic the bird theme. One of her costumes had a big tail feather and a huge bustle…and tons of feathers in her hair. It was fun for Gugu to be a blonde, “which is just so outrageous.”
Beauty and the Beast Plumette
Audra explained how safe she felt with Bill Condon, the director. “Bill’s in there with you and he’s saying, ‘okay, now try one like this.’  So, he’s in there playing, you know, with you in a way.  And it’s truly just make believe and so it’s, you know, for the wardrobe it was like, ‘okay, she’s kind of trying to get to the staircase at this point so, grunt a little bit.’ ‘grunt like this, okay now she’s just, snore this way, snore this way, snore and sing a high note.’  I mean so we just, you know, we had the time and the freedom to just sort of explore and then they take that, they go and work with the CGI folks and then the CGI folks bring back something.  And then you can then put on top of that, so it’s a real collaborative, it’s a real collaborative effort.  I, you know, it takes a village, it takes a massive village for this one.”
Beauty and the Beast Garderobe
Audra‘s costume was so large that she couldn’t walk in any regular door. She had to walk in sideways! Her wig was just as large! If you notice in the film, when she’s transformed into the wardrobe her wig is actually the top of the wardrobe. “You couldn’t even see them but this is the detail that Disney pays attention too.  The shoes that I wore were the feet of the wardrobe, so if you’d actually seen my shoes, they curled up into the exact sort of way that the legs of the wardrobe and all of that.  I mean and even within the design of like our make up and all of it is echoed in our objects that we were.” Now her wig was two feet off her head and extremely heavy. She couldn’t sit down on set or hold her head up for long periods of time. The carpenters built her a lean to, so in between takes she could lean back and relax.
Gugu hopes that people will get swept up in the romance of the film. “I love the message that beauty is found within, you know, it’s an oldie but a goodie.  But, I think you know, really for this film, you know, the idea to you know, look a little deeper, see the human within each and every person, you know, even if the exterior is not, is something that intimidates you or you’re not familiar with.  You know, there’s, there’s always a human underneath it all.  And I think to try to connect to somebody’s soul, is really important.” 

“Love conquers all, love wins and it’s not about just giving the love but loving yourself too.” ~ Audra

Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
Photo Credit: Coralie Seright – Lovebugs and Postcards
The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s live-action adaptation “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast,” the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos and produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a. with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers. Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film, provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.

Beauty and the Beast’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald on Memorable Moments from Filming




‘Beauty and the Beast’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald on Memorable Moments from Filming

      MARCH 18, 2017






Beauty and the Beast is currently on top of the box office, denying the mighty Kong: Skull Island its second frame in the number one spot. Before its release, I sat down with Audra McDonald (Garderobe) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette) for an exclusive video interview. They joked about how much they paid to be in the film, if they can still listen to the music after hearing it so many times during the production, memorable moments from filming, what they “borrowed” from set, and what it was like working for director Bill Condon. beauty-and-the-beast-live-action-image Image via Disney Beauty and the Beast was scripted by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos with music by Disney veteran Alan Menken. The film stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Beast, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, and Kevin Kline as Maurice Check out what Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw had to say in the video above, and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis and some recent links. Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw: What did they pay to be in the movie? Can they still listen to the music after hearing it on set so many times? Memorable moments from filming. What did they take from set? They talk about working with Bill Condon. beauty-and-the-beast-dan-stevens-image Image via Disney Here’s the official synopsis for Beauty and the Beast: “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. Check out more of the footage we’ve seen from the film so far in the links below. Josh Gad and Luke Evans Sing “Gaston” in New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Clip Emma Watson Sings “Belle” in First ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Clip ‘Beauty and the Beast’: Final Trailer Reveals More Movie Magic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Behind-the-Scenes Video Reveals Practical Sets, Characters beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-luke-evans Image via Disney beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-dan-stevens Image via Disney beauty-and-the-beast-movie-image-emma-watson-bill-condon Image via Disney beauty-and-the-beast-poster



Beauty and the Beast  is currently on top of the box office, denying the mighty Kong: Skull Island its second frame in the number one spot. Before its release, I sat down with Audra McDonald (Garderobe) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette) for an exclusive video interview. They joked about how much they paid to be in the film, if they can still listen to the music after hearing it so many times during the production, memorable moments from filming, what they “borrowed” from set, and what it was like working for director Bill Condon.
beauty-and-the-beast-live-action-image
Image via Disney
Beauty and the Beast was scripted by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos with music by Disney veteran Alan Menken. The film stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Beast, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, and Kevin Kline as Maurice
Check out what Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw had to say in the video above, and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis and some recent links.
Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw:
  • What did they pay to be in the movie?
  • Can they still listen to the music after hearing it on set so many times?
  • Memorable moments from filming.
  • What did they take from set?
  • They talk about working with Bill Condon.
beauty-and-the-beast-dan-stevens-image
Image via Disney
Here’s the official synopsis for Beauty and the Beast:
“Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.
Check out more of the footage we’ve seen from the film so far in the links below.
beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-luke-evans
Image via Disney
beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-dan-stevens
Image via Disney
beauty-and-the-beast-movie-image-emma-watson-bill-condon
Image via Disney
beauty-and-the-beast-poster

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Why Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST role was her most liberating ever



WHY GUGU MBATHA-RAW’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ROLE WAS HER MOST LIBERATING EVER

She plays a feather duster. But hear her out.
By: Chelsey Burnside
Photography: Nikko LaMere
She’s played a suicidal superstar, an illegitimate mixed-race daughter in not-so-tolerant 18th-century England, and a time-hopping, bisexual party girl who also happens to be dying. But in low-budget, under-the-radar indie flick Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (we know, you’re probably like, what is this student film you speak of?), Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays flirtatious feather duster Plumette. And she’s really darned excited about it.
Gugu—pronounced exactly how you think it sounds—is one of those people who must have been a royal in a past life. (Are real people this beautiful? Do they enunciate their T’s just so? Do they have laughs so twinkly you can almost see the CGI sparkles? Do they get voice mails from Oprah praising their performances? Answers: yes, yes, yes, and true story.)
We caught up with Gugu during her Beauty and the Beast press tour to chat about playing an inanimate object, dancing to Pharrell on set, and being pulled out of a pile of feathers by Ewan McGregor (also known as Living Your Best Life).


Getting the role brought out her inner 8-year-old:
“I think my agent will testify I squealed down the phone with excitement. It was probably the biggest reaction I’ve had to any role I’ve ever won—I think it was that 8-year-old inside of me that was so, so thrilled. I’ve never done a Disney movie before this, so the idea of being a part of it with this incredible cast… I was very excited to be working alongside them.”
What it was like to step onto *that* set:
“It was just dreamy. Walking onto that set was an incredibly surreal moment. All the craftsmanship that went into this movie was just breathtaking. The candles, the flowers, the costumes, the hair and the makeup—it was just so sumptuous. To have us all swirling around that Disney ballroom in our white dresses to the title theme was a very romantic way to start. I will never forget that day.”
Her favorite on-set memories involve Pharrell and Ewan McGregor:
“By the end of the ballroom scene, we’d been dancing all day. When they finally called it a wrap, they whacked on some music and everyone just started dancing of their own accord. It was so funny seeing all of these people in period costumes rocking out to a Pharrell track (laughs). Hopefully that’ll be on the behind-the-scenes at some point.
“[And] being pulled out of a pile of feathers by Ewan McGregor at the end of the movie was quite a surreal moment. [Laughs] I did get to keep some of the feathers, which was fun.”

What it was like to play a CGI-made character:
“Because a lot of my character is a CGI creation, a lot of [the acting] was done in the recording studio, where we’d record our vocal work, and working with a dialect coach because Plumette has a French accent. It was really refreshing to do something a little lighter and more whimsical after playing a few dramatic roles, and very liberating to play an object—I don’t get offered roles like this very often.”
Hold up—it was liberating to play an object?
“[Laughs] It is liberating! You have to go back to that childhood, imaginative part of yourself where you’re like, ‘Okay! I’m a feather duster! Here we go! What would that sound like? What would this be like?’ I think it just takes you back to that childlike ‘let’s pretend’ kind of feeling.”
How music helped her get into her role:
“Every role is so different. For Beauty and the Beast, my vocal coach will testify that when we were in the recording studio, I would be flapping my arms around as if they were wings to try to get that levity in Plumette’s voice. I always listen to a lot of music. I’ll make playlists for each character—that helps me with the emotion of the scenes. Luckily with Beauty and the Beast, the playlist was already written! [Laughs]”