Disney is doing incredibly well at the moment, reinventing some of their biggest characters and stories for audiences who want to see them in live-action. Beauty and the Beast is the latest upcoming Disney release being brought to fans in exactly that way, with the company giving everybody their first glimpse at the movie earlier today through a brand new set of first look photos.
Now, EW is offering even more insight into what could be the biggest movie of 2017, with actress Emma Watson teasing some brand new information about the character she’ll be playing; Belle. Explaining that she and the creators behind this new adaptation have been given the chance to expand on the story that everybody knows so well, Watson said:
“In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle. 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. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”
The news that Belle will be taking up this new occupation may come as a shock, but it’s one that was hinted at when an image showing the character with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline) featured the pair behind a work table covered in music boxes. In this new Bill Condon-directed movie, Maurice will simply be a music box maker, with his job also playing deeply into the story and adding in yet another layer to Belle. Set decorator Katie Spencer explained:
“Kevin Kline as Maurice, is making all these music boxes that have to tell the story of Belle not traveling. She’s 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.”
With Beauty and the Beast being such a firm fan-favorite with Disney addicts across the globe, however, this news could come as a punch to the gut. There are many purists who will want to see the story adapted from the 1991 original release with extreme precision, so with Belle gaining a whole new story we could be seeing a lot of disgruntled reactions.
Hopefully though, those fans will be able to take off their blinkers and see the move as a bold and brave one, bringing the story into the modern world despite any pleas that may have begged for the contrary. Disney has in the past been the subject of criticism because of the lack of depth given to their female characters, especially in the earlier movies they released. Now it looks like they’re taking a huge step in the right direction, adding further dimensions to already-established characters in a bid to appease those very complaints.