LAS VEGAS — Originally published in 1740, "Beauty and the Beast" has endured for centuries as a book, play, 1946 French film, acclaimed 1987 TV show and 1991 animated Disney classic. But if you think you can predict what the new version starring Vanessa Hudgens will be like — well, you haven't paid attention to the story's central message: You need to look deeper to truly understand something.
"Uh, no!" was the response of fast-rising British heartthrob Alex Pettyfer when we interviewed him and Hudgens recently and asked if July 30's "Beastly" is anything like Disney's take on the classic tale.
"It's a modern take on 'Beauty and The Beast,' except it's darker and way sexier," explained Hudgens, insisting it's also a long way from the "High School Musical" films that made her famous. "It's a great love story, and I think everyone's going to fall in love with it."
Directed by "Phoebe in Wonderland" filmmaker Daniel Barnz, the upcoming film casts Hudgens as a teen who is the only hope for Kyle Kingston — a shallow student transformed into a monster who can regain his original appearance if he can get her character to truly love him.
"I can give you three things [that make our version different]," Pettyfer explained. "Scars, tattoos and piercings."
"It's intense," Hudgens explained, saying the film strives for realism whenever possible. "One thing Daniel said to me in the very beginning was the beast will have no fur when we're on set. I think that would make it a little bit less believable."
The movie co-stars Neil Patrick Harris as a blind man, and features an unexpected turn from a superstar cast as the evil woman who puts Pettyfer in his hairy predicament: Mary-Kate Olsen?
"Yes, she's this voodoo witch trapped in some goth girl, high school girl [body]," Pettyfer explained. "Something like that. I make her believe that I like her, and then show her up in front of everyone. And then, she turns me into the beast."
Check out everything we've got on "Beastly."
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