After years of involvement with the project, Harry Potter actress Emma Watson has been officially cast as Belle in Disney’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast adaptation, to be directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) from a script by Stephen Chbosky, who previously directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Watson was previously attached to a Warner Bros. adaptation of the classic fairy tale back when Guillermo del Toro was set to direct, but she fell off at the same time that helmer departed. Since then, that studio’s take has hit some significant stumbling blocks, but as Disney locked in Condon and began to search for actresses for its own take on the story, Watson’s name came up again. One source states that Disney believes Watson will be “perfect” for the part and was thrilled to court her.
Following TheWrap’s scoop on the story, Watson herself took to Facebook to confirm the news, writing:
“I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There’. My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it. Emma xx”
The actress has fared best out of her Harry Potter peers since the 2011 conclusion of that mega-franchise. In addition to playing a romantically torn high schooler in Perks, she recently starred as a vapid socialite in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, as the title character’s adopted daughter in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and as herself in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s This is the End. Playing Belle in a live-action take on Beauty and the Beast, though, will certainly be Watson’s most high-profile post-Potter role to date.