Beauty and the Beast began with a fairytale written in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, although some would argue the story originated hundreds of years before in Greek mythology. Regardless, over 250 years later, the story is still being told through various mediums with a major motion picture from Disney releasing on Friday, March 17th.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) is an adaptation of the Disney animated classic and, according to trailers, doesn't appear to stray too far from the tale as old as time.
While the underlying story seems to remain the same — a beautiful woman falls in love with a monster — the beasts have varied throughout the years, from definitive creatures that hide in the shadows to men who appear as human until their beastly side takes over. Take a look at five of the differing beastly versions that have played on our screens over the past 35 years.
1. Ron Perlman (Beauty And The Beast CBS Series, 1987)
Ron Perlman's beast, Vincent, resembled a lion more than a monster. His tale with Catherine (rather than Belle) took place in the tunnels underneath New York City, and his dark side only appeared when someone whom he loved was threatened. When on a rampage, Vincent could and did kill.
His love for Catherine knew no bounds, but that love couldn't change who he was. There was no curse to be broken, no way for him to become human. In this world, Vincent was, and always would be, a creature of the night.
2. Victor Parascos (Beauty And The Beast Syfy Movie, 2009)
Victor Parascos portrayed a much darker version of the Beast in this version, which was a loose adaptation of the fairy tale. Accused of murders he didn't commit, the Beast works with Belle to find the culprit and acquit himself.
Cursed at birth by a sorceress, the Beast is forced to live his life as a monster, but he is less animal than the other versions. Though this Beast is more hideous and resembles something one might see in a nightmare, he doesn't stay hidden in a castle like his animated counterpart.
The Beast's story has less to do with finding love than seeking justice, but his connection with Belle is what tames the beast.
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3. Alex Pettyfer (Beastly, 2011)
A young adult version of the original, Beastly puts a different spin on the tale, with Alex Pettyfer playing a high school boy named Kyle. His good looks are erased when he angers a witch, leaving him with facial tattoos and no hair. He's given one year to find love, or he'll never regain his looks.
Hiding away in a mansion so the world can't see him, Kyle eventually saves a beautiful girl from his school and takes her in. As he falls in love with Lindy, he allows himself to believe that she could actually love him, too. Though Hunter is bitter, he's not a monster whose looks would scare people away; it's just what he sees in the mirror.
4. Jay Ryan (Beauty And The Beast CW Series, 2012)
Jay Ryan portrayed Vincent Keller in the 2012 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. As a solider who'd undergone experimentation, Vincent was turned into a super soldier. He routinely morphs into a "beast" with extreme speed and physical strength, and his looks are off-putting. When he is in beast mode, he can lose control and kill. It's only Catherine who keeps him in check.
Vincent differs greatly from the 1991 animated beast, as he's a doctor who risks his freedom to save Catherine, and even manages to have a life with friends who know about his beastly capabilities. For the most part, he can live his life above ground, only becoming the Beast when he needs his special abilities.
5. Vincent Cassel (Beauty And The Beast French Film, 2014)
The Beast found in the 2014 French-German version of Beauty and the Beast is far more aggressive than any of his other counterparts — and far deadlier. Much like a wild animal, the Beast stalks and devours a hog in Belle's sight, a gruesome act that disgusts Belle and drives a wedge further between them.
Though cursed, as in the animated version, the Beast is much more demanding of Belle's love; one might consider he's desperate to escape the trap of his hideous shell. Overall, this Beast is the scariest version listed here, considering that he almost kills Belle's brothers, and she's forced to beg for his mercy.
Though these five Beasts differ in appearance and personalities, their underlying stories remain the same. They all have a darkness that needs to be tamed, and only love can change the beast into a man.
Over the centuries, the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast has been retold many times over, and it's doubtful that the 2017 movie will be the last adaptation of this classic story that proves the old adage "love is blind" is true.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) arrives in theaters March 17, 2017.
How many of these beasts have you seen? Let me know in the comments below.