Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's best loved films, and a favorite of many. It is for this reason that many are looking forward to the release of the new live-action version with a mixture of excitement and concern. The casting for the film seems almost perfect; Emma Watson as Belle, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth are just some of the big names to feature in the movie, which promises to pay a respectful homage to the 1991 animated version. The original score will feature, too, along with 3 new songs written by original songwriter/composer Alan Menken, with Tim Rice in place of the late Howard Ashman. So on that side of things, excitement is definitely the right adjective.
However, the concern lies in the fact that Beauty and the Beast is so well-known, and so well-loved, that many are wondering if this new version will be able to match or even come close to delivering the magic that the original gave us. Many of us grew up with Beauty and the Beast and, in a pre-digital age, spent many hours watching and re-watching the movie on VHS. One of Beauty and the Beast's biggest fans is undoubtedly Watson, who has said several times that being cast as Belle is a dream come true. The actress has now expanded upon that in the short clip, featured above.
Describing Belle as a "feisty young woman who spoke her mind," Watson says she fell in love with the character, and describes getting to play her as "amazing." Watson also points out that when you love something that much, you really want to do it justice, and it seems as though she really has put her heart and soul into playing the role. In fact, Watson has also had a hand in developing Belle's backstory for this new version of Beauty and the Beast, giving her even more depth and independence than she had in the 1991 animated version.
In the original animated film, Belle's father, Maurice, is an inventor, but this time around he's a music box maker, while Belle herself is busy inventing a washing machine that lets her sit and read while it cleans the clothes (how very modern) - though, as Watson says, Belle has always been thought of as a strong woman. This time around Watson has given her more strength and a streak of defiance, too, which will certainly be fun to watch in her scenes with Gaston (Luke Evans).
Undoubtedly, there will be those who want Beauty and the Beast to faithfully recreate the animated movie, and, indeed, trailers and teasers released so far have all played out exactly the same as those released in 1991; but at the same time, it's refreshing to see something new added to it all. Certainly, our attitude toward equality for women has moved on since then, and so it seems only right and fitting that someone with the intelligence and sensibility of Watson should want to add more to the Belle character in that regard. Let's hope, then, that any additions, be it extra dimensions to characters, new songs, or extended scenes, only serve to enhance the classic tale as old as time.
Source: Disney (via JoBlo)
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) release date: Mar 17, 2017