We already knew that Emma Watson is making Belle in the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ live-action film a feminist Disney heroine. Now she has revealed that she passed on the role of Cinderella in the 2015 film.
‘I didn’t know they were going to make “Beauty and the Beast” at the time I turned down Cinderella,' the 26-year-old said, speaking to Total Film magazine. 'But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.’
Watson has been super-picky about her career choices since wrapping on the Harry Potter franchise, instead focusing on her work as a UN Ambassador, starting a feminist book club (in November she hid books on the tube) and generally becoming an all-round powerful voice for women and gender equality.
Watson describes Belle as a ‘brilliant ‘role model’ for girls: ‘She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model.’
‘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.’
Watson says that ‘the core DNA of Belle is a feminist'. Still, she worked with the film’s director Bill Condon to fill-out Belle’s backstory, turning the character into a stronger, independent woman. So, while it's Belle's dad in the 1991 animation who's an inventor, in the new film it's Belle: ‘She had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead.’
Watson stars alongside Dan Stevens as the beast, with a razzly dazzly supporting cast including Sir Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and Ewan McGregor. The film is out on March 17.
Watch the 'Beauty and the Beast' trailer
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