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How Emma Watson is making Disney heroine Belle her own #BeautyandtheBeast


It’s not long until Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast will be back on our cinema screens in live-action form. The director of Dreamgirls and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Bill Condon, is combining his expertise in musicals and fantasy to bring the classic tale back to our screens, so it makes sense that one of the most famous Disney princesses is getting an upgrade too.

A lot of this is down to Emma Watson, who will be playing our Disney heroine and who wanted to make Belle more believable and a worthy role model. Here are some of the ways 2017’s Belle is going to be different from the animated version.

This princess is going to be more forthright

Although the animated Belle one of the better Disney princesses, possessing both a book-reading hobby and some memorable dialogue compared to her Disney counterparts, Watson looks like she has more to say and do, which we can see in the trailer. Plus, Emma is herself something of a inspirational figurehead what with her role as the no-nonsense Hermione in Harry Potter, not to mention her role as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. 

She's not just bookish!

It isn’t just Belle's father Maurice (played by Kevin Kline) who is the inventor; this time, she gets stuck in too.

Watson tells EW: "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. 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."

Belle is still going to be a bookworm, but this will not be her only defining trait, leading to a heroine who promises to me more engaging and definitely more inspiring for modern audiences.

Her costumes are also more practical

In a conversation with the costume department, Emma reasoned that Belle would wear practical clothing if she's an inventor who helps out around the house.

We can see in the trailer when Belle arrives at Beast’s castle that she is dressed not in heels but boots, and her dress means she use her arms instead of carrying around a quaint basket like in the animation.

Belle’s costume is much more useful for her day to day activities. "In the [animated] movie she wears these little ballet shoes, and I knew they had to go", Watson tells EW. "If you're going to ride your horse and tend your garden and fix machinery, then you need to be in proper boots."

There's a reason why she hasn't followed her dreams

In the 1991 animated classic, Belle dreams of leaving her "little town". In the live-action movie there is a reason Belle remains at home, even though she longs for freedom.

In an interview with EW, Katie Spencer, Beauty and the Beast’s set decorator, revealed that, "[Belle is] overprotected in a way, by her father, because she’s lost her mother. So, we’ve made all these music boxes that represent different countries of the world, so she can see what she’s missing."

Why do you think Emma Watson will be making Belle her own? Send us your thoughts @Cineworld. Beauty and the Beast is released on 17th March 2017.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.