Dan Stevens and Luke Evans cast alongside Emma Watson in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

The former Downton Abbey star and Dracula Untold actor will play the Beast and Gaston in the new live-action remake

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Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens will be the Beast to Emma Watson’s Beauty in Disney’s live-action fairytale remake. 

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Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley in the hit ITV period drama before being killed off in the 2012 Christmas special, will star opposite Harry Potter actress Emma Watson, who has been cast as the tale’s heroine Belle

Fellow Brit Luke Evans, who’s starred in Dracula Untold and the Hobbit films, is also on board playing the film’s villain Gaston.

There has been no official confirmation from Disney on the casting rumours, but Watson has taken to Twitter in excitement:

Stevens isn’t the grotesque face we imagined taking on the role of Belle’s captor-turned-suitor, but we suppose that’s where make-up and CGI come in. Combining Harry Potter’s and Downton’s dedicated fan bases is undoubtedly a good move for Disney though, and will make for a highly-anticipated film. 

Since leaving the Crawley clan to make it in Hollywood, the 32-year-old actor has appeared in The Guest, A Walk Among the Tombstones and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. 

Stevens himself has been more coy but hinted at his new role earlier today… 

Beauty and the Beast is a French fairytale following bright and bookish Belle who trades places with her father to be held captive in a castle by the Beast, who turns out to be a cursed prince. The live-action film continues the trend for Disney of revisiting its animated classics. 2010 saw a remake of Alice in Wonderland while Maleficent was released last year. Cinderella, starring Lily James and Richard Madden will hit cinemas later this month.

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There’s no word yet on whether Beauty and the Beast, helmed by Twilight’s Bill Condon, will be a musical like its animated original, though Watson did suggest as much on her Facebook page, saying: “Time to start some singing lessons.”