Disney has announced that Emma Watson, who portrayed Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series for ten years, will be playing Disney Princess Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Along with Disney’s official announcement on their blog, Watson herself posted a Facebook status letting her fans know of the big news.
Beauty and the Beast will follow a string of live-action adaptations from Disney lately, including Snow White becoming Snow White and the Huntsman, and Cinderella getting her own live-action film this March. Not much is known about the film yet, outside of Watson’s casting, including who will play opposite her as the cowardly and misunderstood Beast, or the boisterous Gaston (my vote is for Galavant’s Joshua Sasse, but that’s neither here nor there).
Interestingly enough, Emma Watson’s Facebook post does mention that she’ll need singing lessons which points to this live-action adaptation being a musical, unlike Snow White and the Huntsman which was shot as a dark and gritty retelling, rather than a whimsical musical like its animated counterpart.
The live-action Beauty and the Beast – whatever it may end up being called – is being directed by Bill Condon (Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Dreamgirls), and produced by David Hoberman and Todd Liberman of Mandeville Films. No word on a release date, but Disney states that production is “anticipated to begin later this year.”