Beauty & The Beast is one of the most anticipated films of 2017. That was proven when the teaser trailer for the live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic broke several records upon its release in May 2016, as it was watched 91.8 million times in just 24 hours.
So obviously there’s quite a bit of pressure surrounding the romantic fantasy, especially when it comes to matching the songs from the original, which included the titular Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, “Something There,” and “Be Our Guest.” Ewan McGregor is the actor tasked with singing “Be Our Guest,” as he is providing the voice for Lumiere, and the Scottish thespian has now admitted that his first attempt to do so didn’t quite go according to plan.
In fact, Ewan McGregor revealed to IGN that due to a combination of reasons, his first performance of “Be Our Guest” was so diabolical that he had to come back and re-record it. Ewan McGregor recalled.
“I hadn’t been in a recording studio for a long time, and I was in a recording studio in London when we recorded the song for the first time. There was an enormous amount of pressure, I thought. I had only just arrived, I was jet lagged from LA. I got off a plane one day and the next day I was in a recording studio. It’s very nerve-wracking recording, because you’re in a quiet room and through the glass there’s people who are looking at you, and they speak to each other and you can’t hear them. In this instance there were 50 people in there, and I was standing jet lagged alone trying to sing in a French accent this big number. Every time I stopped they would go, ‘OK, hang on,’ [and talk amongst themselves]. I became terribly scared they were going, ‘What the f*** are we going to do with him?'”
Clearly, the paranoia played some tricks of Ewan McGregor’s mind, because even though he completed the recording for “Be Our Guest,” he was far from happy with his performance. So much so that after he’d finished, he took director Bill Condon to one side and asked if he could have another shot at some point later down the line. Ewan McGregor continued.
“We did it, it was fine, and then I asked Bill, I said, ‘Look, when we’re working on the dialogue next time, can I have another shot at it?’ So we went just privately, me and him and a few people in New York, and we recorded it a second time.”
During the same discussion with IGN, Ewan McGregor also admitted that he originally believed that it would be seamless for him to do a French accent as Lumiere, the maitre d’hotel of the Beast’s castle who has been transformed into a candlestick, because he has been married to Eve Mavrakis, who herself is French, for over 20 years.
But it didn’t turn out that way for Ewan McGregor, who admitted the following.
“I rather arrogantly thought I’d just be able to do this French accent without very much work, and when I tried to do it, I didn’t do it very well. Also Disney wanted the full French sound, they didn’t want the ‘r’ sound, so when you put an ‘r’ in a French accent it turns Spanish or Mexican, so that was an issue.”
Ewan McGregor found it so difficult that he once again asked Bill Condon if he could come back and re-record his entire vocals as the character in Beauty And The Beast. Something that the director was more the happy to oblige. McGregor remarked.
“I came back to it afterwards and rerecorded the whole thing again with Bill Condon in a studio, so we had two shots of it and we improved it. By that time, I’d got a candle on my French accent.”
We’ll finally get to see if Ewan McGregor does the character of Lumiere in Beauty & The Beast justice when it’s released on March 17.
[Featured Image by Walt Disney Studios]