There isn’t a film company that seems to have the ability to essentially print money with more success than Disney. If it wasn’t enough that they had all of their animated classics and their hands firmly in the superhero and Star Wars world, they also had the brilliant idea to turn all of their animated classics into live-action movies.
None of their efforts may end up being more successful than Beauty and the Beast and the decision to cast Emma Watson. Who, as you’re about to learn, absolutely made an active decision to leave her mark on the film.
Whether it is the numerous changes to the script and costume or gaining further insight on why she loves the character, we assure you this list will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the amount of work that Watson has put into this character. Just don’t expect us to apologize if you’re left singing music from BatB for the rest of the day.
Do you have a friend (or more realistically, like 20!) friends that are excited for BatB? Feel free to share the list on social media!
15. Watson Wasn’t Afraid To Joke Around On Set
The entire cast surely had some incredibly long days, but none perhaps longer than the days in which they had to film the elaborate ballroom scenes. Not only is there elaborate dancing, but those outfits get heavy and we imagine incredibly hot!
Yet Kevin Kline who plays the role of Belle’s father told a heartwarming story from one of those days on set created by none other than Belle,
“After a long, long day, suddenly Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ comes on, blasting, and everyone just starts jumping around. It became kind of a wrap party, really celebratory. And I asked, ‘Who did that?’ It was Emma.”
14. Watson Denies Belle Falls Victim To Stockholm Syndrome
If you think that Belle eventually falling in love with the Beast in the classic animated version of Beauty and the Beast is a form of Stockholm syndrome, you wouldn’t be the only one.
Stockholm syndrome occurs when someone who is held captive ends up falling in love or sympathizing with their captor, which as you can understand is abusive.
But when Watson signed on for the role, she made sure to voice her disagreement with that viewpoint saying in a past interview,
“Belle actively argues and disagrees with [Beast] constantly. She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm Syndrome because she keeps her independence.”
13. She Auditioned For The Role
While you may think that someone of Emma Watson’s stature and talent would not have to audition for a role, that was definitely not the case when it came to Beauty and the Beast. When talking about the audition process, Watson said,
“It gave me a sense of ownership. I would have hated to have felt I got the part undeservedly. I had to prove I had the voice to do it,”
One of the other actresses that were heavily considered for the role was Lily Collins who previously starred in the Disney film Mirror Mirror playing the role of Snow White.
12. She Hadn’t Sung Since She Was 12
As indicated above, Watson had to prove she had the singing chops to tackle Belle as well as having the acting ability. This meant that part of her audition including spending several hours recording different songs from the soundtrack.
Watson talked about this experience in a past interview, saying, “I had three hours in a recording studio. It was really raw, but [scriptwriter] Bill Condon was pleased. And Disney was pleased. Even so, making the audition tape was a nerve-racking experience.”
Watson also included in the interview,
“I hadn’t sung since I was about 12. This was something I’d always wanted to do, but I thought ‘Is my voice still there?’ I just hadn’t used it, but it was a very pleasant surprise to find it was still there. I just kind of had to unearth it!”
11. The Similarities She Finds To Hermione
You can imagine that nobody out there will ever think about Emma Watson as an actress and follow that train of thought too long before thinking of her time as Hermione Granger for the Harry Potter series. But you know, when you play that character for over a decade those kinds of things happen!
Watson was talking to ElleUK.com and they asked the inevitable question of how the two characters relate, leading Watson to say,
“For me, Beauty was the perfect, most joyful thing to do. There was something connected about Hermione and Belle, and it was good to be reminded that I am an actress; this is what I do. The film is pure escapism.”
We’re sure Watson is happy that Voldemort won’t be making an appearance at this castle anytime soon.
10. She Loved The Movie Growing Up
One of the most important things that fans wanted to know after she was announced to play the lead was if Watson had any connection to the movie growing up. You can rest easy as in her announcement of getting the part, Watson made sure to reaffirm fans of her passion,
“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”
9. She Turned Down The Role Of Cinderella (But NOT For Belle)
This fact may be more about Watson than it is Belle, but you have to admit that there would be no Beauty and the Beast with Watson had she chosen to take on the magical slipper!
Watson was interviewed in which she talked more about how much she prefers the character of Belle,
“I just felt the character of Belle resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did. I don’t feel like I really felt like I particularly fit in when I was younger.”
While some people are reporting that Watson turned down Cinderella to play Belle, that is not the case, as she also admitted in the interview that she was unaware they were making BatB at the time of rejection.
8. She Made Significant Changes To The Script
You can imagine that some actors and actresses would be so ecstatic at the chance to work on a Disney movie that they wouldn’t vocalize right from the start that they have some issues with the script, but that’s exactly what Watson did.
When talking to Total Film Magazine, Watson said, “I think Bill Condon knew I had concerns about the script, and there were things that I needed to see. It was very collaborative.”
The key to making a successful film in Hollywood may be making sure there is open communication between the people behind the camera and the actors, and we are glad that it was clearly a factor with BatB.
7. Belle Is Now The Inventor
One of the biggest changes that Watson wanted to address when she sat down with screenwriter Bill Condon was the question she had when she was a child, which was what does Belle do all day? I mean sure, she can sing a lot and certainly loved to read books but Watson wanted to make sure her character was more fleshed out.
When talking to Entertainment Weekly, Watson said, “In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,”
Watson went on to say, “So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead.”
6. What Draws Her To Playing Belle
There is more to the reasoning behind why Watson loved playing Belle beyond the fact that she identified with how Belle didn’t fit in, as we alluded to in our previous blurb.
“She was this feisty young woman who spoke her mind and had all these ambitions, and was incredibly independent, wanted to see the world and was so smart,” said Watson in a past interview.
As well as saying, “She had this relationship with Beast where they were just toe-to-toe. That to me just seemed like such a dynamic and interesting relationship that I’d never seen before in a fairy tale.”
5. She Impacted The Wardrobe
Emma Watson didn’t just have an influence on the script of the movie, she also worked closely with costume designer Jacqueline Durran to make sure that her character looked the way that both of them could envision.
One of the changes Watson made was having her dress get modified to have pockets that work as a tool belt. Watson also refused to wear a corset, and also made sure that the original script which included ballet shoes was switched to riding boots.
When talking about the shoe switch, Watson said, “[Ballet shoes] are lovely—don’t get me wrong—but she’s not going to be able to do anything terribly useful in ballet shoes in the middle of a French provincial village.”
4. Watson’s Belle Is A Woman Of Action
Emma Watson has made it clear throughout this list that she was not afraid to make the necessary changes, be it to wardrobe or script to create the vision that she had in her head for the character.
Perhaps nothing sums up all of this list more than in an interview where Watson said,
“When I finished the film, it kind of felt like I had made that transition into being a woman on-screen. [Belle] absolutely a Disney princess, but she’s not a passive character—she’s in charge of her own destiny.”
It will be interesting to see if a movie like this that impacted Watson on such a personal level will have an influence on the roles she takes going forward. Either way, we are sure you also look forward to seeing her take charge on screen.
3. Watson Finds Their Love More Magical Than Most
There are plenty of love stories to pick from when looking at the history of Hollywood films, heck even when we consider just Disney movies in which the two characters fall in love at first sight.
Watson, however, feels that the relationship between Beast and Belle, which includes a friendship first (you know, outside of the whole capture thing), makes it one of the most special love stories told,
“The love builds out of that [friendship], which in many ways, I actually think is more meaningful than a lot of love stories where it was love at first sight.”
While we don’t know if you would agree with her sentiment or not, we do have to admit that “Tale as Old as Time” might still be the best “love” song out there, so at least the movie has that going for it!
2. Watson Worked On The Dress
One of the most iconic scenes in all of Disney is the dance between Beast and Belle set lovingly to “Tale As Old as Time” and her beautiful yellow dress.
But it’s a hell of a lot easier to animate that dress than it is to draw it, but thankfully costume designer Jacqueline Durran had Watson close by her side throughout the whole process.
“I really embraced working on the dress, making sure that it was utterly whimsical and magical,” said Watson.
Watson also refused to have a corset get utilized in the dress,
1. She Has The Endorsement Of The People That Matter
No matter where you stand on the casting, there is little doubt that people were not afraid to voice their opinion on Watson being cast as Belle. However one of the most influential names, Paige O’Hara, who was the voice of Belle in the original, has been open about her excitement,
“She’s perfect casting, she’s got the outward beauty, but she’s also got an inward beauty about her, and an old soul.”
As well as saying, “As I’m passing the torch to Emma – just enjoy the ride. You’re going to be a heroine. You are already with all your other movies, but this one’s going to last your entire life.”
Susan Egan who also played Belle on Broadway also had nothing but praise for the announcement,
“So, here comes Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson: a beautiful, intelligent, quirky, articulate, empowered, fighter-of-social-injustice, young actress. What a powerhouse!…I think. She’s … perfect! Have fun, Emma.”
We hope you’ll have similar thoughts after you’ve seen the movie!