Following on from Emma Watson's role in the Harry Potter franchise, it was only natural that the actress would be in high demand for roles, especially ones where the central character was a much admired woman. Watson took time out to complete her education and then continued with acting post-Harry Potter, taking roles in such films as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Noah, among others. However, she also found herself becoming a voice for women across the globe when she was appointed a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador.
A strong supporter of the He for She campaign, which encourages men to advocate gender equality, Watson has been very vocal in her thoughts about the role of women in society and how feminism should play a wider role in school, the home, and the workplace. Watson is admired by many, but particularly highly thought of among young teenage girls, who are heavily influenced by the media, and Watson has tried to use that for good. Her next role is that of Belle in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast, a character that Watson admits has been a favorite of hers since she was four.
In a new interview, Watson also revealed that she had been sought for another live-action Disney movie, Cinderella, but she turned it down. The role eventually went to Lily James, but Watson says that for her, Belle resonated far more. Here is the larger explanation that Watson offered Total Film, on that matter:
"I didn't know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella, but when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did. She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that's the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice."
Indeed, Watson is so invested in the role of Belle that she has collaborated with Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon on her characterization, a new dimension and backstory to Belle that we haven't seen before. This time around, Belle is an inventor, while her father Maurice is a music box maker. It's a small change, but a significant one; Belle is not a girl who sits idle all day. She might use books as her escape, but she also works incredibly hard; a trait that compliments all that Watson says she saw in the original, animated version of Belle:
"There's this kind of outsider quality that Belle had, and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring. She manages to keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view. She's not easily swayed by other people's perspective—not swayed by fear-mongering or scapegoating."
While Beauty and the Beast will honor the 1991 classic, this new live-action version will also give a modern take on Belle's story, a gamble that will hopefully pay off for Watson, who also turned down the central role in La La Land due to filming clashing with Beauty and the Beast. Watson's love for Beauty and the Beast is clear. It remains to be seen if moviegoers will be just as enchanted, of course.
Source: Total Film
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) release date: Mar 17, 2017