Disney has a large collection of animated classics in its catalog. Lately, the company has turned to re-imagining several of them as live-action films. We’ve seen Maleficent, the Sleeping Beauty spin-off, and we are currently awaiting the upcoming releases of Cinderella and The Jungle Book. A live-action Beauty and the Beast is also in development, and today we have learned that one of the world’s most well-known actresses has been cast as Belle.
Disney revealed today that Harry Potter actress Emma Watson will play Belle in the upcoming film. The actress entered the spotlight with her turn as Hermione Granger, playing the character over eight films, before transitioning to smaller films such as The Perks of Being A Wallflower. She has earned praise from her large base of fans as well as critics for her well-rounded acting abilities, making her an exciting addition to the Disney film.
That is right – the film will indeed be a live-action musical, with at least some of the songs from the animated film. The Alan Menken and Howard Ashman music is some of the best we have ever seen in a Disney film, including well-known numbers “Belle,” “Be Our Guest,” and of course, “Beauty and the Beast.” Hopefully we will see some of the magic and charm from the animated sequences in the new film.
The film is to be directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and production is scheduled to begin later this year. As it is still rather early, we do not have a release date yet, but the film should arrive no earlier than 2016.