so, my buddy littledivinity and i have been talking beauty & the beast a lot, because ‘tis the season, and we somehow stumbled upon the idea of the story being told about a middle aged belle and the beast instead of youngins, and how that would make the story even more resonant.
and then just now i randomly thought, “what if nicole kidman and ewan mcgregor starred in such a film?”, because my soul needs nicole kidman and ewan mcgregor to fall in love again on a movie screen like it needs few other things in this life. plus, you know, musical, bright colors, awesomeness, hurrah!
and then i thought, ‘but wait, actually, what i really want in this life, even more than brightly colored musicals, is more lowkey and lovely fairytale movies like exquisite and incomparable 1998 masterpiece ever after’
and just picture it!
nicole kidman is the longtime spinster school teacher who lives in a quaint vaguely magical 19th century-esque country village, but she’s a badass teacher who exposes her students to different philosophies of thought and probably takes them outside for nature studies and calisthenics. (so, basically, miss stacy from anne of green gables.) the school board hates her, probably, and is very suspicious of what kind of IDEAS she’s filling the local kids’ heads with (why does she keep saying it’s okay for girls not to want to be wives and mothers, or that it’s all right for boys to cry???? is it possible that she is A WITCH???), but her parents were very well regarded in the town when they were still alive and so that bought her some respect for awhile. but there’s a new fancy schmancy family with school aged kids in town, and they’re extremely disapproving of miss nicole, and trying to find a way to oust her as schoolteacher and replace her with a man who is probably very similar in temperament to mr. collins from pride & prejudice. a man who will put patriarchal gender roles back into childhood education!
meanwhile, ewan mcgregor is a grumpy old hermit duke or something who once had great wealth and privilege but has fallen into disrepair. maybe someone cursed (magically? complicated vengeance-ly, a la the count of monte cristo? who knows) his family long ago due to their shady rich people business dealings, and his father killed himself to escape the scandal and his mother died of heartbreak and his fiancee who he thought loved him steadfastly dumped him to marry another, and now ewan’s the last surviving member of his once-great family and he just lives alone this grand old manor house that has gone totally to seed. he isn’t an actual beast, because it seems like in this day and age that’s going to require levels of CGI that my quaint b&tb retelling movie just don’t need, but let’s say that he’s quite unshaven and dirty and generally off-putting and he sometimes ventures out into the forest that separates his estate from the village, but is never seen actually frequenting the village. there are abundant rumors that the forest and manor house are haunted by a beast/ghost/warlock/vampire (how does he SURVIVE if he doesn’t come to the weekly market for food???), and everyone knows you don’t go there. also, people like to gossip a ton about his family and the scandal even though it was decades ago and they all dead. because people suck.
so one night, some of nicole’s rowdy teen pupils maybe steal some wine from one of their parents’ liquor cabinets and venture into the woods and dare each other to go past the gate of his manor house, and he catches them at it and gets HELLA PISSED @ THESE UPPITY HOOLIGANS INVADING HIS PROPERTY. kids today!!!!!!!!! he probably locks them in the stables so he can deliver them a 5 hour lecture on why they suck, and also why all of humanity sucks. which isn’t the worst fate ever, but, like, he kind of looks like a straight up crazy ax murderer (crazy hair! crazy beard! tattered clothes! definitely hasn’t bathed this month!!!), so there’s some serious panic in the hearts of these kids.