AKA: Why Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite movies
Every actor has a moment or an experience that tells them that they want to be an actor. I’m sure everyone who has some dream or passion has that inciting moment. I don’t think I realized it at the time–heck I’m just barely realizing it now–but I think Beauty and the Beast was that one inciting moment for me.
The animated Disney film started all this for me… Hearing the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack can still make me tear up. I can still quote that movie, word for word. The musical version is one of my favorite musicals still, and one of my go-to audition songs is “Home.” It should be no surprise that to play Belle on stage would be a dream come true. But all this started a long, long time ago.
As a four year old, after only seeing the movie once before in the cinema, I stood up in the theater on top of my chair and sang along with the opening song at the top of my lungs. My aunt tugged on my arm and told me to sit down. For whatever reason, I felt it was my right to sing along. Eventually I shut up, but I was humming and tapping along the rest of the movie.
During my alone playtime, I would enact the final scene in my bedroom with my black radio and tape player providing the score from a white cassette tape that rarely left that old thing. First, I’d pretend to be the Beast with my Barbie being Belle. I’d voice both characters, obviously. Then, I’d reverse it with my huge teddy bear while the soundtrack played in the background (I’d have to rewind, of course). I seriously remember doing this multiple times in what I used to call our “Sold House.”
Later on, I’d act out the opening song in my grandmother’s basement because she had shelves of vintage looking books… I almost forgot about that until now!
And in church one Sunday, the primary teacher told us to act out something that we should be doing every day. I don’t know why this thought or this action hit me, but I felt like I had THE BEST answer to this question. I remember trying to act out the moment when Belle first touched and saw Beast as who he really was, when she runs her fingers through his hair and then looks in his eyes, and it’s like–boom! LOVE. But no one understood what I was trying to convey. They kept saying grooming… “Yes, Mikael we must groom ourselves every day. Very good!” But then, I got frustrated and kept trying to do the same action. Again, I was four, and I couldn’t express the words or feelings very well yet.
All I knew was that moment in the movie showed me love in a way that my kid heart understood it, even if no one else got it when I tried to explain in the only way that made sense at the time. I remember getting really upset because they didn’t get it…
We need to love someone every day. I still stand by that. We need to see and accept people for who they are, not what they look like or what they seem. This movie taught me that. It taught me that it was okay to be different and still be loved. That bad things can happen, but people can be forgiven and things can ultimately get better.
Also, I was convinced for many years that the Salt Lake LDS Temple was the Beauty and the Beast castle, so there’s that, too.
With the release of the new Beauty and the Beast trailer this week, all this came pouring back… It’s such a great reminder to return to the things that inspired me to start singing (though Ariel and Aurora may have been responsible for that one) and to start playing pretend–acting.
This may have made me cry like a baby. In a good way, I think. The music alone at the beginning gets my chest all elevated, and the tears start peeking out. But what Beast says utterly broke me down…
“Think of the one thing you’ve always wanted.
Find it in your minds’ eye, and feel it in your heart.”
Um, hello manifestation message! Everything that I’ve learned in the last two years encompassed in one sentence.
Lately, I’ve struggled a little bit with getting back to what it is I ultimately want and want to be working on right now. Every once in a while I hit what I call “Reassessment Periods.”
However, when I saw Emma Watson (whom I’m excited to see bring this character to life) as Belle, and couldn’t help but think–“What if that was me?”
While singing has always been a big love, I’m noticing a trend with what has always grabbed my attention and what gets my heart excited. Little breadcrumbs have slowly started coming into my awareness about this:
~ People know me as the girl who quotes movies (and who sings… that’s not going anywhere… mostly showtunes anyway). I likely have dozens of the classic Disney movies memorized, and I can pop out the most random quotes at any given moment.
~ I rewatch movies like no one’s business–which is probably why I memorize them so easily. Not all the time, but often enough.
~ Movie soundtracks are my calming circle. If I need to relax or need something soothing or something to help my focus–movie soundtracks are my go-to. Mostly John Williams, Disney, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and Hans Zimmer. I don’t discriminate though. Open to all pretty soundtracks.
~ I’ve heard from multiple people that the stories I write read like a movie. It makes sense because I write them as I see them as a movie in my mind. Did you know I applied for screenwriting masters programs? Didn’t get in… But I tried.
~ The only awards shows I was ever motivated to watch or keep tabs on was the Oscars and Golden Globes. It’s actually a dream to sing on the Oscars. Don’t know why that particular one, but I digress…
~ Then… In the last couple months, there were a couple of moments where my film ambitions may have been crying for attention.
I was doing background work for a film; it was a multi-day shoot, and there was an opportunity to snag a SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) voucher, to be given out to non-union background actors. It was a wonderful set–the people, the environment–everything about it. It was my most magical experience on a film set so far, even if I’m always excited to be on set, no matter what.
However, the time came when word started spreading about non-union getting SAG vouchers.
Some explanation: Having three of these vouchers makes you eligible to join SAG.
My attention was piqued, sure. When I started doing background work, it was never a conscious desire to get SAG card, membership or anything. It was just a fun job that paid at first. Then, when I found out that others had gotten not only one, but multiple vouchers on that single multi-day gig, I was stunned when I was dry heaving and sobbing at the end of the day. I hadn’t gotten any. I tried so hard to let that be okay, but that just made me more upset. Some part of me was devastated to not get something that it apparently really wanted. I kept my fingers crossed each of the couple more days I returned to that set, and even asked about it–to no avail. Left that set voucher-less when I know of at least a few people who had earned SAG eligibility simply from that movie. Way to share the love, guys. It was luck of the draw, but… yeah. Seriously.
I don’t think I’ve ever had that strong of an emotional response to not getting something before. It almost bothers me that I’m already tearing up just writing about it, but gotta let the feelings flow. So, the thought hit me…
Maybe this is what I really really want. To be making films. To be creating on-camera work.
After all, this is what is exciting me lately! Elements of it have just happened to follow me throughout my life. Gotta love the breadcrumbs that lead you to where you’re meant to go. :)
Follow your excitement
to live a fully aligned life.
If that means seeking out ways to earn SAG eligibility, find an agent who can help me out with booking more film auditions, or even going this my own way and creating my own work… I know this is something that I love to do and excites me to be doing it.
It’s probably about time these dots started connecting. So… thanks, Beauty and the Beast for starting it all.