It seems that Emma Watson was up for a role as another Disney princess before being cast as Belle in the upcoming live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. In fact, in her recent interview with Total Film (as reported online by PEOPLE.com), Watson revealed she was offered the part of Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live-action Cinderella remake, but turned it down.
“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.”
Watson explains that she found Belle the more appealing heroine and the better role model for young women.
“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. 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. She manages to keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view. She’s not easily swayed by other people’s perspective — not swayed by fear-mongering or scapegoating.”
In addition to revealing that she passed on playing Belle, Watson went on to talk about the tweaks she made to Belle’s backstory and personality in an attempt to modernize the character.
“In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,” Watson previously said. “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also, what is she doing with her time?’ 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. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”
What do you think about Watson’s decision to forgo Cinderella yet later sign on to play Belle? Do you agree with her assessments of the two characters?
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.
Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters on March 17, 2017.
Source: PEOPLE.com (via Total Film)