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  • we jumped into Beauty and the Beast.


  • A perfect storm of fresh new directors Ashman and Menken and a story that was waiting to bust open and be reinvented was how it all started.


  • Hi, I'm Don Hahn, I'm the producer of walt Disney Animation studios, Beauty and the Beast and I'm Mark ken, I was a supervising animator for Belle in Beauty and the Beast.


  • It's hard to believe, but today is the 30th anniversary of Beauty in the Beast and it's a milestone movie and Disney animation history and to celebrate, we'd love to tell you more about our experience making the film and what went into creating the character, especially the character of Bell.


  • I can't believe it's been 30 years since we premiered this amazing movie.


  • I've had the honor of animating many of Disney animation's leading ladies.


  • And now I'm excited to tell you more about how Bell developed into the remarkable character you see in our film, it was after the success of Little Mermaid, which was absolutely huge at the box office.


  • We were terrified.


  • We thought how we're going to top this.


  • We had a big false start.


  • It was a challenge.


  • You know, walt Disney really struggled with Beauty and the Beast.


  • Beauty The Beast has a title appeared on lists back when he was making animated films.


  • He abandoned it as something that was just too hard and he wasn't gonna do it.


  • We put together 20 minutes of the movie and it didn't work.


  • We went to chateaus and we took pictures and video we sketched and we just immersed ourselves in why we loved this story in the first place.


  • And we started over part of the reason it wasn't working was that Bell wasn't firing off as a character.


  • She was very passive the original story of course in the fairy tale, she was extremely passive and we didn't want that.


  • We went through this big story change and you know, we really were aware that we had to reinvent the Disney heroine.


  • A lot of that came from a story crew and some women in particular, like a writer, linda Woolverton or Pedro Hera herself who did Bell's voice, Brenda chapman, who was one of the keys on our story team.


  • They were all very vocal and rightly so about trying to celebrate a new kind of Disney heroine.


  • And I think that's where Bell grew out of linda.


  • She was really the first woman to write an animated feature at Disney.


  • One thing that linda Woolverton gave us was a real clear picture of what Bell could be.


  • The development of Bell, like most of our characters starts with our visual development artists.


  • And there's a lot of work that goes into developing not only the look of our characters, but who these characters are one of the really exciting things about our version and development of Belle, who was actually seeing that process of her and the Beast falling in love.


  • And of course the underlying theme of ours is you know, don't judge a book by its cover.


  • The biggest thing we wanted to do is have the audience resonate with the character of Bell.


  • And I think that comes from a lot of things, a lot of people are writer linda Woolverton Arken.


  • But Bell was certainly unique at the time.


  • Her main escape was her reading.


  • Here's a Disney heroine, A Disney princess who actually wants adventure in her life and she's getting it from the books, she's getting it from a sense of a bigger world outside of her small provincial town.


  • There were a couple of very specific design elements to Bell that were incorporated and I recently had a conversation with brian McEntee, he was the art director and he was telling us how in his designing of the overall art direction on the film, like the whole opening sequence, everybody else in town is in a warm color palette and he deliberately chose a cooler blue dress for her.


  • Just to set up a contrast just to visually support the idea that she stands out from the crowd.


  • Bell was the beginning of a series of female characters that were more than just Disney princesses.


  • They were characters who in and of themselves had a motivation and had a driver that was over and above just getting their prints and settling down Now there's nothing wrong with princes and there's nothing wrong with settling down.


  • But I think as a young character in the Disney film.


  • These characters became starting with Bell something more than that.


  • She's strong, but she's also very compassionate, very caring person as we see.


  • Those are really some interesting qualities to Bell Bell, we want to include in our story had a real hunger for adventure.


  • That's the change that we kind of went through with.


  • That character is really making Bell a driver in the story.


  • Somebody who really pushes the story ahead and pushes the buttons of the beast and pushes gassed on so that that lead character has some energy and some passion to her.


  • One of the most important aspects to finding and developing a character for us is the voice.


  • When paige walked in, there was a quality about her that was vulnerable and kind of precious and beautiful and strong.


  • And paige brought so much sensitivity to it and that's what you want.


  • You want the voice actor to inspire the animators.


  • And then I hear the voice recordings and the lines and so that informs me of how to create my performance as an animator.


  • There couldn't have been anybody else.


  • Bell had to be paid.


  • And of course the other great advantage we had was Howard, Ashman and Alan Menken.


  • We would storyboard something and then Alan would play on the piano and then Howard would say no, no, no, that's not it.


  • And then he'd come in the next day with donuts and a new set of lyrics and when you're lucky enough to have Ashman and Menken as your songwriters, those songs become tent poles in your story, the opening song of Bell, you introduce all the characters and then be our guests.


  • The beauty of these ballot.


  • Those are really strong milestones in your plot that then you can connect with connective tissue and turn into your story.


  • So, in adapting the fairy tale, they really leaned on all of those elements on Ashman and Menken on reinventing the story, on throwing out things that were dated an active Bell and an active beasts that are co equals that are pushing this story together that along with the enchanted objects and really making it our own.


  • And that's something that Disney's always done.


  • I think we were inspired by walt Disney because he did that.


  • So all those factors contribute to beauty, the beast being unbelievably the first animated film Ever to be nominated for a best picture.


  • And that was in 1992.


  • And it wasn't until years later, I like in 2001 that the category for best animated feature was created.


  • So it was really incredible for an animated film to even get close to being considered for a best picture back then.


  • And I think people were finally saying animation is not just this side show, it's actually a legitimate art form.


  • We were shocked.


  • I was shocked to this day when I meet people and talk more often than not, People will tell me that Beauty and the Beast is still their favorite films.


  • You may not remember the jokes and you may not remember all the plot points, but you'll remember the emotion and the love story between these two characters, the ability to continue the tradition of amazing movies that I grew up watching with the first generation of Disney artists and animators and now my generation, we kind of took the baton from them that they handed off to us and that we've been able to carry it on and to be a part of that.


  • Knowing that I was a part of that.


  • It's just you can't it's hard to put words to it.


  • It's just very, very special.


  • So a big thank you for celebrating beauty and the beast 30th anniversary with us.


  • You can watch beauty and the beast now on Disney Plus.


we jumped into Beauty and the Beast.


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