LOS ANGELES, April 11 (UPI) -- British actor Ian McKellen is to play Cogsworth, the butler magically transformed by a witch into a clock, in the live-action version of Disney's classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the casting news Friday.
Bill Condon is directing the movie musical, which will star Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the title roles.
McKellen's The Hobbit castmate Luke Evans will portray the villain Gaston in Beauty, while Josh Gad will play Gaston's sidekick Le Fou.
In addition to playing the wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit blockbusters, McKellen is also famous for his depiction of Magneto in the X-Men franchise.
Beauty and the Beast is set for theatrical release in March 2017.