In Beauty and the Beast, the coterie of magical household objects who help ease Belle into life at the castle are almost as big a draw as the lead characters' central romance. The enchanted objects are charming and funny, providing comic relief and nudging the plot along as they try to encourage Belle and the Beast to fall in love. The Odd Couple-esque interplay between frisky French candelabra Lumiere and stodgy grandfather clock Cogsworth was the main source of comedy in the original animated film, and one can assume they will be an equally large part of the live action version. But who plays Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast?
Cogsworth is portrayed by none other than international treasure Ian McKellen. His talent for dry sarcasm makes him the perfect choice for the butler-turned-clock, who was previously voiced by David Ogden Stiers in the animated version of the film. McKellen has done voice work before, but will presumably also make an onscreen appearance in any flashbacks set before he transformed into a clock and after the broken spell returns Cogsworth to his true form. A character poster revealed a few months ago on Twitter shows McKellan done up in costume with a powdered wig, with the post-transformation Cogsworth lurking in one corner.
This is McKellen's third collaboration with Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon, whom he also worked with in 1998's Gods and Monsters and 2015's Mr. Holmes. All three collaborations were wildly different: in the most recent, McKellen is a sarcastic talking clock; in the second, he played an aging Sherlock Holmes dealing with the onset of dementia; and the first time he worked with Condon, McKellen portrayed Frankenstein filmmaker James Whale during his final days.
McKellen recently teased Condon during the New York premiere for Beauty and the Beast, calling the film "another gay extravaganza" in response to the attention it received after Condon revealed in an interview with Attitude that LeFou would be gay in the new adaptation and have an "exclusively gay moment" at the very end. While it hardly seems like the new Beauty and the Beast is indeed a gay extravaganza (unfortunately), much has been made of Condon announcing the very minor, subtle moment as though it was history-making. McKellen's comment definitely seemed to poke fun at the entire situation.
That sense of humor will likely serve McKellen well when injecting life into the dour, stuffy Cogsworth.