20 Things You Didn’t Know About Beauty and the Beast

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Some of the statues in the Beast’s castle are early concepts of the Beast design (Image via Disney)

14. Some of the sculptures in the castle are early concepts of the Beast

Like most of the creative work involved in Beauty and the Beast, the design of the Beast himself went through quite a few iterations before settling on the hodgepodge creature we all know and love today.

Some of the earliest versions of the tale don’t even show the Beast. The Cupid and Psyche myth even reveals that our heroine Psyche was falling in love with the ultra-attractive god of love himself, Cupid. Early illustrations of the 18th-century tale tend to show a beast that looks like either a big cat or hog monster crammed into a coat and knee breeches.

Neither version appealed to animators on the Disney project, however. Animator Glen Keane spent seemingly endless nights trying to create the perfect version of the Beast that would draw in audience members without completely terrifying them. He worked specifically to create a character that could still connect with the audience despite a disfiguring curse. Said Keane: “The center of emotion in a character is in the brows and the eyes. And that’s the place where the audience is looking. All the other cool stuff, the animal things, and all the horns and everything are set dressing for the eyes.”

After all that work, however, it was difficult to completely discard some of the early concepts of the Beast. Look closely, and you’ll see that many of the sculptures seen throughout the castle are in fact early drafts of the Beast himself.

Okay, one more fun fact. Along with lions, buffalos, and gorillas, part of the Beast’s design was based on mandrills. These primates are especially well known for their colorful red and blue faces and, uh, posteriors. According to Keane, “Beast actually has a rainbow bum, but nobody knows that but Belle.”