'Beauty and the Beast': Ian McKellen Joining Cast of Disney's Live-Action Adaptation of Classic Fairy Tale

6:48 AM EDT 4/13/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Ian McKellen, 75, best known for his roles as Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, is set to play the part of Cogsworth, 

the talking clock, in Disney's latest production of a live action adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, according to Empire Online. Cogsworth was the castle's butler before the

the sorceress put a spell on everyone. Just as the Prince was turned into the monstrous Beast, he and the other servants were turned into various pieces of furniture. He was turned into a clock, Mrs. Potts into a kettle and Madame de la Grande Bouche into Garderobe, the talking dress cabinet.

McKellen will be joining a growing cast headlined by Emma Watson, 24, who was the first confirmed actor in the project, taking on the role of Belle. Luke Evans, 35, recently seen on the big-screen in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Dracula Untold, followed suit,  taking on the role of the villain Gaston, a character which was not part of the original story published in 1756, which was first introduced by Disney in the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast film. Voiced by Richard White then, he was depicted as the village's local hero figure who also happens to be Belle's bitter rejected suitor.

Dan Stevens, 32, best known for his roles in the TV series Downton Abbey and in last year's cult action movie The Guest, then signed on to play the Beast/Prince opposite Emma Watson's Belle. He was followed by Josh Gad, 34, best known for voicing Olaf in Frozen, who is set to play Gaston's buffoonish loyal sidekick Lefou. Emma Thompson, 55, is next cast to play the part of Mrs. Potts, a new character also introduced by Disney in the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast film, followed by Kevine Kline, 67, who will be portraying Belle's father Maurice. Next came in six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, 44, Garderobe, the singing wardrobe.

Production of the live-action musical is expected to begin in May at Shepperton Studios in London. Disney's Beauty and the Beast will be opening in theaters on March 17, 2017. 

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