Dan Stevens, the former Downton Abbey star who gained critical acclaim for an eye-catching performance in The Guest, has been cast as the Beast/Prince in Disney's live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Stevens will star alongside fellow Brit Emma Watson.

Dan StevensDan Stevens turned in a stellar performance in The Guest

According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Hobbit star Luke Evans is still in talks to play the villain Gaston. Bill Condon is directing the movie, which appears to be turning out to be an all-British cast.

Disney is on a mission dust off the old classics and Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella - which opens on March 13 - is generated stellar reviews. Last year's Maleficent - a live-action retelling of Sleeping Beauty - made over $758.4 million worldwide.

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Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a young woman who takes her father's place as a prisoner in a beast's castle, only to fall in love with the creature, who turns out to be a prince. Though Disney are yet to confirm whether it is a musical, Watson implied as much when writing on Facebook in January.

"It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There.' ... Time to start some singing lessons."

As well as The Guest, Stevens has had supporting roles in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and A Walk Among the Tombstones. He recently wrapped Ido Fluk's The Ticket, about a blind man who regains his vision only to find himself becoming metaphorically blinded by his obsession for the superficial.

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