Ten years after its original release, Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast is back on the big screen — and we mean big! Starting Jan. 1, the spruced-up epic love story begins playing on the enormous IMAX screens it has been reformatted to fit. And nobody could be more pleased about that than the gruff Beast himself, Robby Benson.
"From that first shot, [you think], 'This is the most vivid, beautiful thing I've ever seen,'" Benson tells TV Guide Online. "It's just phenomenal what the artists have done."
Though his actual face never appears onscreen, the actor admits to having had some opening night jitters at Beauty's premiere a decade ago. "You know, when you see something for the first time, no matter what kind of movie you're in, you're uptight, you can barely breathe and you don't see the movie," he says. "It just ends. This time, I can completely relax and absolutely enjoy myself. That's a great feeling."
The re-release of Beauty — the first animated film ever Oscar-nominated for best picture — will also be different for Benson in other ways. "My daughter [Lyric] sat on my lap for the premiere [in 1991]," recalls the 45-year-old, who's currently writing a musical of his own. "Now, she's coming from a final [exam] at NYU!"After all these years, time hasn't diminished the recognition Benson still gets for his beastly behavior. "On [phone] calls, I have to be very careful because I am like the Beast — I have a little bit of a temper," he laughs. "I'll call about a bill to some strange company and I'll say, 'This isn't right. I think you've overcharged us.' And they'll say, 'We haven't over... wait, is this the Beast?' It's really funny."