Belfast Telegraph

Stanley Tucci: 'Beauty and the Beast challenges taboo around interracial romance'

Stanley Tucci plays Maestro Cadenza and his wife Madame Garderobe is played by African-American Tony Award-winning star Audra McDonald in the live-action remake of the Disney classic.

Stanley Tucci has hailed his new movie Beauty and the Beast for its "important" portrayal of interracial romance.

The American actor plays Maestro Cadenza, the husband of African-American actress Audra McDonald’s character Madame Garderobe, in the live-action remake of the 1991 Disney classic.

While the movie has been heralded for its modern makeover of Belle, played by Emma Watson, and for featuring Disney's first gay character, The Devil Wears Prada star heralds the flick for challenging an even bigger U.S. movie taboo by featuring interracial couples, which also includes Lumiere and Plumette, who are played by Scotsman Ewan McGregor and British/South African actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

“The idea of two mixed-race couples was very unusual," the actor, who lives in London with his English wife Felicity, the sister of actress Emily Blunt, told London's Evening Standard. “Living in England now, you see that a lot on television, whereas in America you don’t see that very often... On TV, you’ll see an advert for insurance and it’s a black woman and a white man or an Asian man and a white woman - never in America do you see this."

"The fact these things are part of this film is really, really important," he said about the role film can play in normalising romance between couples of different races.

The 56-year-old's comments, made ahead of the film's release on Friday (18Mar17), were echoed by Emma, who has been vocal about the need for Disney characters to be revised to reflect the changing times.

“There’s a lot of modernising to do. The original of Beauty and the Beast was released in 1992 and now its 2017 and things have moved on from then," the 26-year-old smiled. “The films would fall flat if they didn’t speak to the time that they’re being released in. There needs to be some tweaking for sure."

Meanwhile, the release of the movie in Malaysia has been put on hold due to an "internal review". The news come following heavy publicity about the movie containing Disney's first gay character.

"The movie release date has been postponed and we are reviewing its new release date internally," a Disney spokesperson told Malaysian newspaper The Star.

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