The live-action remake of Disney’s 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast opens on March 17th. In anticipation for its release, let’s look at the fabulous names from the cast and characters in the upcoming fantasy film!
What little girl wouldn’t like to be named for a Disney Princess? Belle is a sweet, chic, French name that fittingly means beauty. Belle fell out of the Top 1,000 in the early 1930s, though I think it stands a chance to rise following the release of the film. Belle is more often seen as a middle name. Celebrities like Dylan Walsh, Rosie O’Donnell, and Bruce Willis and Demi Moore have used Belle as a middle name for their daughters. Belle was only used by 248 girls as a first name last year.
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson plays Belle in this adaptation. The most popular name in the US right now, chances are you know a little Emma. A German name meaning universal, Emma has been a Top 5 name for the past 14 years. The equally lovely Emilia and Emmeline are less popular alternatives, but have both risen greatly in the past few years. Emma is a celebrity favorite too, used by parents Martina McBride, Mick Taylor, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Harvey Weinstein.
We talked about the beauty, but what about the Beast? Beast definitely isn’t a usable name choice, but Adam, the Prince’s human name, definitely is. Adam is a Hebrew name meaning man or son of the earth. In the Old Testament God created Adam and Eve, the first humans from the earth. Currently ranked at Number 73, Adam has been a Top 100 name since 1970. Adam Lambert, Adam Levine, and Adam Sandler are just a few of the many popular bearers of this name that you may recognize.
Dan Stevens, best known for his role as Mathew Crawley in Downton Abbey, is our Beast/ Prince Adam. Dan’s full name is Daniel Jonathan Stevens, a classic name for the handsome actor. Daniel is another popular name choice, currently ranked at Number 12. Daniel has always been a well-loved name, ranking in the Top 50 since the early 1920s. A Hebrew name meaning God is my judge; Daniel was a Hebrew prophet in the Old Testament. There is also the tear-jerking Irish melody Oh, Danny Boy.
Gaston is the hunky villain with a distinguished French name. French from a German name, Gaston means stranger or guest. There was a 2004 Hurricane and a 2010 storm called Gaston. Today it’s hard to part the name from this vain character. A rarely used choice in the United States, only 27 boys were named Gaston last year.
The dashing Luke Evans portrays the Gaston, the character we love to hate. Luke is an English form of the Greek name Loukas meaning from Lucania. A much more usable name than Gaston, Luke peaked in popularity last year when it reached spot Number 28. Similar names Luca and Lucas are also rapidly rising in the charts. Luke is one of the four books in the New Testament. Luke may remind you of Luke Duke from The Dukes of Hazard or Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.
Maurice is Belle’s absent-minded yet lovable father. Maurice is French from the Roman name Mauritius meaning dark-skinned. Maurice ranked in the Top 200 for most of the 20th Century. Peaking in 1914 at Number 94, Maurice now ranks the lowest it has ever been at Number 621. Saint Maurice is the patron saint of locales and kingdoms. You may also like the variations Mauricio (Spanish), Meuric (Welsh), Moritz (German), or Morris (English).
Kevin Delaney Kline is a beloved actor playing the part of Belle’s whimsical father. Kevin is a popular anglicized Irish name meaning handsome or kind. Currently ranked at Number 79, Kevin has been a Top 100 name in the US since 1949. Kevin has long been a popular name choice amongst Irish-American’s, in part due to Saint Kevin, one the patron Saint’s of Dublin. John McEnore and Tatum O’Neal have a son named Kevin, as does Jimmy Kimmel.
LeFou is Gaston’s bumbling little sidekick. LeFou has the distinction of being one of the few character names I would not recommend as it translates in French to the fool or the crazy one. If you do like the sound of Le Fou, perhaps I can interest you in the French surname Lafayette meaning faith. Lafayette is a rare choice and was only given to 10 baby boys last year.
Actor Joshua Ilan “Josh” Gad offers a much more usable name choice than that of his character LeFou. Disney fans will recognize Gad as the voice of the lovable snowman Olaf in Frozen. Joshua is a Hebrew name meaning Jehovah is salvation. The Biblical Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses as leader of the Israelites. Joshua was a Top 10 name from 1979 to 2009. Today Joshua is still well-loved and used at Number 33 in popularity.
The charming candelabra Lumière gets his name from the French word for light. A few other male names that have meanings related to light include Abner, Lior, Lucius, Lugus, Ori, Ray, and Uriah. As you may have guessed Lumière was not used by any babies born last year.
Ewan Gordon McGregor channels his inner-cupid as the charming match-making candelabra Lumière. Ewan is the Scottish spelling of the Gaelic Eoghan meaning born of the yew tree. Pronounced YOO-un, other spellings include Eoin, Euin, and Ewen. A cool alternative to the rising name Owen, Ewan was only used by 138 boys last year.
This new version of Beauty and the Beast will introduce us to a brand new character, Maestro Cadenza who is a grand piano and a neurotic maestro. Maestro would make for a cool and quirky word name. Maestro is a term given to a distinguished musician, usually a classical musical conductor. Cadenza is another musical term for a solo passage inserted into a concerto typically near the end of a piece.
Stanley Tucci will be bringing the new character of Maestro Cadenza to life. Stanley is an Old English name meaning stone clearing. At 688 in popularity, Stanley could be a hidden gem ready for a revival by hipster parents. Stanley was a Top 100 name in until 1960 and currently ranks at the lowest it’s ever been. Sir Henry Morton Stanley initially gave rise to the name Stanley in 1871 with his historic contact of Dr. Livingston in Africa.
You may have noticed already that many names in this tale relate to who or what the character is; for example Belle meaning beauty and Lumière meaning light. Cogsworth is a French term for “Big Ben,” the well-known clock tower in London, and this character is the persnickety little clock in the story.
Sir Ian Murray McKellen is a distinguished actor playing the role of the fussy Cogsworth. Ian is a Scottish variation of the name John meaning the Lord is gracious. Currently ranked at Number 76, Ian has been a Top 100 name since 1982. Other interesting forms of John include Evan, Giovanni, Hans, Ivan, Johan, Juan, Sean, and Yannick.
Another play on words is the head housekeeper Mrs. Potts who was transformed into a teapot. While Potts might not make the best name choice, perhaps Potter could work? Potter is an English occupational name meaning maker of storage vessels. Less popular than other similar sounding occupational surnames like Porter or Parker, Potter was used by less than 5 babies last year. Potter may also remind you of the character Harry Potter.
Emma Thompson takes on the nurturing role of Mrs. Potts. Since we already looked at the name Emma earlier with Emma Watson, I thought it would be fun to mention Emma Thompson’s children’s names. Thompson is truly a namer at heart having chosen the names Gaia Romilly and Tindyebwa Agaba for her children. Emma Thompson and Emma Watson share more than just a first name, they also share a birthday and both starred in the Harry Potter series.
Madame de Garderobe
Madame de Garderobe translates to Mrs. Wardrobe, a fitting name for the woman who is magically turned into a wardrobe. This is another fun spin as we see it relates to who and what the character is, though it doesn’t quite work for a human child.
The wildly talented Audra Ann McDonald will bring the wardrobe to life at Madame de Garderobe. Audra is an English name meaning noble strength. No longer in the Top 1,000 Audra was only given to 190 girls as a first name last year. Audra makes for a lovely less-popular alternative to its sister Audrey which ranks at Number 37.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha, plays the role of maid turned feather duster Plumette which was known as Babette and Fifi in other versions of this tale.
Gugulethu is a Zimbabwe name of Ndebele origin meaning our precious child.
Chip Potts is the son of Mrs. Potts who was transformed into a chipped teacup. Chip has traditionally been used as a nickname for Charles.
Nathan Mack will be playing the sweet role of Chip. Nathan is a popular Hebrew name meaning given, that currently ranks at Number 38.
Monsieur D’Arque is the local madhouse owner who is bribed by Gaston in his scheme to win over Belle. It’s no coincidence that his name D’Arque sounds a lot like dark.
Adrian Schiller will play the unscrupulous Monsieur D’Arque. Adrian is a Latin name meaning man of Adria that is currently Number 58 in popularity.
Agathe is the Enchantress that curses Prince Adam and his castle. Agathe is a French form of the name Agatha meaning good.
Hattie Morahan, born Harriet Jane “Hattie” Morhan plays the Enchantress Agathe. Hattie is a diminutive of Harriet meaning estate ruler that currently ranks at Number 488.
What are your favorite names from the cast and characters?
Hear me chat about some these names: