Harry Potter actress Emma Watson will play Belle in Disney’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast live-action movie. She says she was offered the role of Cinderalla in Disney’s 2015 live-action take on the animated classic and has now explained why she turned it down.
“I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella,” she said. “But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.
“[Belle] remains curious, compassionate, and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice,” she went on to say. “There’s this kind of outsider quality that Belle had and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring.”
Cinderella was played by Lily James in the 2015 live-action version.
Watson also revealed that the live-action Beauty and the Beast will make some changes to Belle’s character. In the animated movie, her father, Maurice, is an inventor. In the new film, Belle takes on that role, it seems.
“I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books,” Watson said. “Also, what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”
Beauty and the Beast is directed by Bill Condon, who was behind the camera for the final two Twilight movies, as well as the Oscar-winning Dreamgirls. Disney has described the film as a “retelling” of the animated favorite, tailored for a “contemporary audience.”
Luke Evans plays Gaston, alongside Josh Gad as LeFou. Kevin Kline plays Maurice, while the characters Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellan), and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) are also of course in the movie.
Beauty and the Beast comes out on March 17, 2017. You can watch two new teasers here.