Prior to taking on the role of Belle in the upcoming live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast”, Emma Watson was nearly attached to play the role of another Disney princess. However, after seeing the material, she decided to embrace the yellow dress, so to speak.
Speaking to Total Film, Watson revealed that she was actually almost slated to play Cinderella for Disney’s other live-action take on the film. However, when the company passed on the darker vision of Mark Romanek for Kenneth Branaugh and his more traditional, whimsical approach, she opted to pass on the project.
When Watson was approached to play Cinderella, the offer to play Belle wasn’t even on the table. But when she was presented with a second chance to bring a Disney Princess to life, it was too good for her to pass up. The actress noted that the character of Belle “resonated” with her much more than Cinderella did, and went on to say that Belle is more of a role model.
"She 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… 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."
Watson went on to say that she admired Belle for her ability to “keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view.” She noted that Belle isn’t “easily swayed” by other people’s opinions, and doesn’t get affected by “fear mongering or scapegoating.”
Directed by Bill Condon, the film stars Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
“Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters March 17, 2017.