Upon hearing news of Disney's planned live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, our first thought was, "Who's playing Beast?" Sure, it's great that Bill Condon, the director of Gods and Monsters and Dreamgirls, is involved. And obviously we want someone interesting to play Belle — preferably someone who can believably admonish a beastly man. But we can't help but think which hairy actors would look best in the Beast's requisite mix of makeup and CG. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Ron Perlman
Let's get this one out of the way. Ron Perlman played Beast in the super-'80s-tastic TV version of Beauty and the Beast, but the man has lost none of his gravelly gravitas in the years since. Sure he's 64, but with all that makeup it hardly matters! And we know he's one of the few actors out there who can really be expressive with tons of makeup on.
Given his history with the character and his age, we imagine Ron Perlman will not really be in the running for the role, but that's no reason not to appreciate what he brought to it back in the day.
2. Chris Hemsworth
At 6-foot-3, Chris Hemsworth is one of the most physically dominating young Hollywood stars, and he looks great with a beard! We've seen him go from brooding to smirking and silly in the Thor movies, and while Beast is more of a brooder, at least we know he has range. Hemsworth's involvement in Snow White and the Huntsman might be a problem since he's working on the sequel, and it could create some live-action fairytale confusion to see him also fill the role of Beast.
3. Jason Momoa
A maiden brought to a terrifying monster of a man with ways different from her own? Jason Momoa was practically playing Beast as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones. We'd love to see what would happen if the giant of an actor actually took on the fairytale role, but he might need a shave and a haircut for his transformation into the prince.
4. Javier Bardem
With a heavy brow and those deep eyes, Javier Bardem would bring loads of pathos to the brooding Beast. Watch him in Vicky Cristina Barcelona to see how he goes from bellicose to sweetly seductive in a matter of seconds. Javier as Beast would make the movie an instant must-see.
5. Idris Elba
Idris Elba is a master of getting the most mileage out of his voice. He's a vocal chameleon who landed his break-out role on The Wire by doing four auditions before telling anyone he was British! When he talks, other characters listen, and so does the audience. That kind of voice would go a long way in making Beast a real person under any makeup or effects. He would also clean up nicely for the prince transformation.
6. Joe Manganiello
At 6-foot-5, with so much muscle every single one of his suit pieces must be tailor-made, Joe Manganiello is already a monster of a man famous for playing a werewolf on True Blood. But as anyone who's seen the softer side of Alcide can attest, Manganiello is more than just muscle, and we'd love to see him take on the melancholic Beast.
7. Hugh Jackman
Rumor has it director Bill Condon is actually working on a full musical version of Beauty and the Beast based on the Broadway musical that's based on the Disney movie. If that really is the case, then Hugh Jackman has got to be on the shortlist for the lead role. He's one of Hollywood's only major stars who's proven he can both carry a blockbuster movie and break into song without breaking a sweat. He was nominated for an Oscar for playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables (he won the Golden Globe for the same role), and won a Tony for his role in The Boy from Oz. Jackman would instantly legitimize what might seem like another silly fairytale retelling, and who knows? He might even get another Oscar nod in the process.