If you haven’t noticed, Disney’s new live-action film of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is out on Friday. And in this week’s Time Out, Emma Watson and the cast and crew have been talking about their attempts to make Belle the most inspiring female Disney role model yet. Watson tells us that as a spokesperson for gender equality she knew she had to get Belle’s feminist credentials right. During a busy year-off from making films before 'Beauty and the Beast' she started an online feminist book club, talked about campus sexual violence and gave her HeForShe speech at the UN. ‘You can’t go out and give that speech and not walk the walk. I do really have to live by this. So yes, I did feel that responsibility.’
Watson worked with the film’s director Bill Condon and the costume designer Jacqueline Durran to make sure that Belle passed the feminist test. So, in this film Belle has sensible shoes and riding boots instead of ballet slippers. Watson even asked the make-up department not to cover up her freckles – knowing how many teenage girls hate them.
The 26-year-old also talks about her decision to go to uni after finishing the Harry Potter franchise: ‘I really follow my heart on things. Probably to an extent that’s frustrating for the people around me. Coming out of Harry Potter and going to university was not a career decision people were very pleased about. I try to stay true to whatever whisper I hear from myself.’
Read our interview with Emma Watson and the cast and crew of 'Beauty and the Beast'