Beauty & the Beast's Original Belle Weighs in on Emma Watson Casting

Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" has a lot to live up to, but the original Belle seems to think the cast is up to the task. Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle in the original animated "Beauty and the Beast," said Emma Watson was her "first choice for Belle."

"I was just really happy they went with Emma," O'Hara said in an interview with USA Today, "She's got the intelligence, she's got the humor. I think she's going to be really, really special."

O'Hara also seems supportive of the remake in general. "It feels like we're passing on the torch," she said, "But there's always going to be room in history for both of these versions."

Fans have only seen a teaser trailer and some leaked stills from the new film, but the visuals also impressed other members of the original cast. Richard White, who voiced Gaston in the 1991 original, said, "The trailers are gorgeous, it's so beautiful."

Directed by Bill Condon with a score by Alan Menken, "Beauty and the Beast" also stars Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Kevin Kline as Maurice and Josh Gad as Lefou. The Beast's household objects will be played by Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, the teapot; Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster.

The movie will also include new recordings of the original songs by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken and Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” opens March 27, 2017.

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