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George R.R. Martin’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Was Supposed to Be Grittier

What’s the exact opposite of being completely surprised by something? Well you can go ahead and file this story under that header, because it turns out George R.R. Martin wanted the romantic 1980s television series Beauty and the Beast that he wrote for to be bloodier and darker, full of lots more murder and sexuality.

With Disney’s live-action adaptation of their iconic animated hit coming to theaters this month, there’s been a lot of looking back at their 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast, but the folks over at The Telegraph decided to go back even further, to the CBS series of the same name that premiered in 1987. That show, which starred Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame as lawyer Catherine Chandler and Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman as a beast named Vincent (who lived in a fantastical underground tunnel world), just so happened to have George R.R. Martin on its writing staff.

Long before he was writing about the bear and the maiden fair, the man responsible for A Song of Ice and Fire was helping to craft the story of an unlikely relationship between a man-beast and a beautiful woman, but he wasn’t able to do it the way he wanted.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014, Martin talked about how “constant limitations” from CBS over what could be done and shown on the show took a toll on him.

“There were battles over censorship, how sexual things could be, whether a scene was too ‘politically charged,’ how violent things could be,” he said, adding that the network didn’t want their male/beast lead to actually kill anyone, or for their to be any blood shown.

“They wanted us to show him picking up someone and throwing them across the room, and then they would get up and run away. Oh, my God, horrible monster! It was ludicrous.” Needless to say he has since gone on to scratch all of those itches when he started writing the books for which he is most famous.

George-R.R.-Martin-Game-of-Thrones-TyrionImage: HBO

Though we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that he was probably being slightly naive if he didn’t think an American network in the ’80s would have some qualms about how “sexual things could be” on a show about a human and a literal beast. They’re not even all that gung ho today about showing sex between humans. That’s why we have cable!

Eventually Martin was named a supervising producer on the series, and in the third and final season he was able to add some more violence to the show, but obviously nothing even in the same hemisphere as his most famous show. I doubt he ever intended for the beast to eat a mother and her newborn baby alive, or for some beast twins to be in a sexual relationship.

We’re also starting to understand why Disney didn’t tap him to pen the script for their animated version. If they had, we bet all of today’s pieces looking back on that version would be slightly different.

Do you remember the old CBS series? What did you think of it? And would you like to see what Martin could do with the story without any limitations? Tunnel into our comments section below and tell us what you think.

Featured Image: NBC

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