Robby Benson: More Prince than Beast
Two decades have passed since Disney’s classic tale Beauty and the Beast first premiered and introduced audiences everywhere to the literature loving Belle and the hot-tempered Beast. Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson got the opportunity of a lifetime to voice these timeless characters that many of us would grow up with. Beauty and the Beast has once again hit theaters, but this time in 3D and has done pretty well in the box office thus far.
Robby Benson, who voiced the Beast, recalls auditioning for the role and his real life love interest. “It was very exciting to come in and audition for it. It was a very long process because I know that they auditioned a lot of people, but to be honest I felt and this sounds really odd, but I felt like I really understood the character. I felt like there’s a lot of me in the Beast…… I seemed to understand his frustration and his need for a very smart and strong woman to come to his aid and to teach him how to love. I found that person by the way, 30 years ago, her name is Karla DeVito.”
Benson was given the freedom to experiment with the Beast’s voice and personality, which allowed for a better collaboration with the creators of the Beast and ultimately a better performance. “I would always try to find a sense of humor within the Beast and they seemed to like that a lot. They let me try all kinds of things. They gave me incredible freedom when we were recording and I give them so much credit for that…….. They were wonderful.”
One of the most memorable characteristics of the Beast was his hot temper and at times scary demeanor, especially during the earlier scenes of the film, but Benson believes that this was a necessary trait of the Beast. “I thought the frustration that comes from the Beast in the very beginning had to be what it was or else his transformation wouldn’t have been as good of a story, to me at least.”
Although many would think that being a wealthy prince would be cause for happiness and celebration, Benson delved deeper into the Beast to find out what was the cause of his frustration. “He did not see the goodness…… He did not have compassion in his heart and because he didn’t have compassion and love and didn’t know how to love, he was turned into a Beast……….. He just didn’t get it. He needed a smart woman, a very strong smart women to help get his ‘stuff’ together.”
Benson recently wrapped up another production that he has been working on for the last 8 months behind the scenes. His daughter, Lyric, just came out with her debut album “Lyrics Love, Light Revolution” that he got to produce and engineer. “It was a stunning experience for us to all work together. My wife Karla is an unbelievable singer and my daughter has her talent.”