The Beauty and the Beast legend has a universal appeal; the fairy tale exists in numerous versions throughout the world. During the process of being translated into a Disney film, Beauty and the Beast had several false starts. It was originally conceived as an eighteenth-century period piece, directed by the British husband-and-wife team of Richard and Jill Purdum. After some changes, two new directors, Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, were put in charge of the project. Although he was initially reluctant to do another animated film after The Little Mermaid, the late Howard Ashman came on board shortly after the new directors did. Over many months, the characters and story evolved further, but there were many changes, and wrong turns. Sequences were created, reworked, cut, and added as the film gradually emerged, like a statue from a block of marble.
After all of the ups and downs, Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991 to rave reviews and record-breaking box-office business. The film was widely hailed as a technical and aesthetic breakthrough and remains the only animated feature ever to be nominated for an Oscar for best picture. This authoritative book features interviews with artists, voice-over actors, and executives, and transcripts of meetings and story sessions. Illustrations abound throughout, including sketches, caricatures, sequences of animation drawings, and preliminary artwork from discarded scenes. This book will be a must-have for any fan of the "Tale as Old as Time."