Though it may have divided critics two years ago, Kenneth Branagh’s rendition of Cinderella stands as one of Disney’s early efforts in this new age of live-action reimaginings. A staggering worldwide haul of $543 million was enough to cement its status as an international success – becoming Branagh’s highest-grossing film yet – but had things panned out differently at the Mouse House, Cinderella would have seen Emma Watson, not Lily James, squeezing into those magical glass slippers.
Total Film (via Screen Rant) caught up with Watson in anticipation of Beauty and the Beast and amid general talk of Belle and her monstrous muse, the British actress revealed that she chose Bill Condon’s live-action redo over Cinderella because she felt a deeper connection to the character of Belle.
“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.”
Projecting the right message is clearly something that Watson holds near and dear, and given Beauty and the Beast will likely be seen by millions of young girls the world over on March 17, her approach to Disney’s reimagining has been admirable. Heck, she even tweaked Belle’s backstory to ensure the character is portrayed as an inventor alongside her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline).
Rounding out the stellar ensemble for Beauty and the Beast are Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson, who are on board as Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, respectively. Elsewhere, the remainder of the casting docket features Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Audra McDonald as Gaderobe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette and finally, Legion star Dan Stevens as the titular Beast.
Beauty and the Beast will grace theaters on March 17. Other live-action features in the works at Disney include The Lion King, the Emma Stone-fronted Cruella and Mulan, and it appears the Mouse House will have some competition when it comes to the latter redo.
Source: Total Film