Emma Watson Starring as Belle in Disney's New 'Beauty & the Beast'

Monday, 26 January 2015 08:58 Written by  iamrogue
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Emma Watson Starring as Belle in Disney's New 'Beauty & the Beast'

Look, there she goes! Emma Watson is set to star as a girl so peculiar in Beauty and the Beast.

Watson will play Belle in Disney's big budget live action take on Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s beloved fairy tale.

If this news sounds familiar in some way, that's because the Harry Potter veteran spent several years attached to play Belle in a different live action Beauty and the Beast.  That one, which was in development at Warner Bros., was to be directed by Guillermo del Toro, but it floundered at the studio when the director kicked rocks last summer.

All the while, Disney was cooking up its own update of the story with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn/Gods & Monsters helmer Bill Condon set to direct.

With the Warner Bros. version kaput, Watson reportedly received del Toro's blessing to jump over to the Disney Beauty and the Beast

The actress officially declared her involvement on Facebook this morning, announcing, "I'm finally able to tell you... that I will be playing Belle in Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There'. My six year old self is on the ceiling - heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can't wait for you to see it."

The most recent draft of the Beauty and the Beast script is by Stephen Chbosky, who directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which he adapted from his own novel. 

Mandeville Films is producing this live action riff on the hundreds-of-years-old fairy tale.  Disney famously tackled the material before with the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast, which became the first animated movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and grossed over $400 million worldwide.

The animated hit also spawned a Broadway musical and a 3D re-release a few years back, when actor Robby Benson talked to IAR about voicing the Beast in an exclusive interview.

Production is expected to begin later this year, with a release date in 2016 or 2017 likely.

This is the latest in a series of live action riffs on established animated hits from Disney. Alice in Wonderland kicked off this fad in 2010 and the Sleeping Beauty do-over Maleficent continued it, earning $757 million worldwide last summer. The next entry in this odd little subgenre is this March's Cinderalla remake directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James and Cate Blanchett.  After that, there's Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book, which the studio recently delayed from November 2015 to April 15, 2016.

As for newly-minted Belle Emma Watson, you'll soon see her starring alongside Daniel Bruhl in the seventies-set thriller Colonia.

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