Luke Evans found his role in 'Beauty and the Beast' ''liberating''.

The 37-year-old actor relished every moment of playing the ''ridiculous, self-absorbed and terrifying'' villain Gaston in the new live-action take on the classic fairytale because his alter ego was so different to himself in real life.

He said: ''It's fun to play a character who does all the things you'd never dare to do in real life. It's liberating - you can't feel self-conscious about playing somebody like Gaston, you just have to go with it.

''I owe it to the animated giant of a creature we see in the original to be that ridiculous and self-absorbed and terrifying. And to enjoy it.''

It wasn't just the comic aspects of the role that Luke enjoyed, as he also delighted in the ''challenge'' of the action scenes.

He said: ''Stunts are a trust exercise - it's you plus a team of stunt people.

''You can't fear stuff - the second you feel nervous about jumping off a rooftop, you have to let the stuntman do it, because you forget about acting. But that's the challenge and I really enjoy it.''

The Welsh actor made sure he took away some souvenirs from the set of the film, which also stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Josh Gad.

He told Woman magazine: ''I keep all the swords from my films. Gaston didn't have a real one, but he has an interesting breast plate, which wasn't used in the film so I asked to take that.

''I also have the doll. I was blown away by the likeness.''