by Justin Cook
Harry Potter star Emma Watson has officially been cast as the lead character of Belle in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Bill Condon, who also helmed Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (both parts) and The Fifth Estate, will direct the film. Penning the script is Stephen Chbosky, who received critical acclaim for writing and directing the 2012 film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which Watson also starred in.
The actress took to Facebook to express her excitement over joining the film, and said, “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. Emma xx.”
Originally, the actress was cast in Beauty, a Warner Bros. film that Guillermo del Toro was set to direct until del Toro left the project. Disney eventually hired Condon for their own adaptation and went after Watson for the role, which she agreed to play.
The animated Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was released back in 1991, and was a massive success. Not only did the film make $425 million worldwide on a $25 million budget, but it also became the first animated film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Since the end of the Harry Potter series, Watson has turned in some great work in films such as This is the End, The Bling Ring and Noah. She not only can pull off dramatic roles, but she has also proved that she can handle comedic roles as well.
David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films will produce the project, which will begin filming later this year.
Source: The Wrap