Emma Watson cast as Belle in Disney’s live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’


Disney is obsessed with redoing their classic animated films as live-action “retellings.” It worked out for them with Maleficent last year, and now they’re going ahead with the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. They already know who will Belle too… little Emma Watson. I don’t know? All of the other sites I’ve seen have been covering this like it’s perfect casting. But I’m not so sure…maybe it’s because I’m kind of old and I don’t have a huge connection to the animated film, but I just have my concerns about whether this should even be made.

“Harry Potter” alum Emma Watson has closed a deal to star in Disney’s live-action musical “Beauty and the Beast,” TheWrap has learned.

Bill Condon (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) will direct from a script written by Stephen Chbosky, who directed Watson in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the previous draft of the screenplay.

David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing under their Mandeville Films banner.

Watson is set to play Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” which is the latest Disney classic to receive a live-action adaptation following “Maleficent,” “Cinderella” and Jon Favreau‘s upcoming take on “The Jungle Book.”

Watson had previously been attached to star in Guillermo del Toro’s “Beauty,” which the director was developing for Warner Bros. before exiting the project in June, when Disney hired Condon. When WB’s version hit a snag, Disney began to court Watson for its own adaptation with del Toro’s blessing, as the studio agreed that Watson would be perfect as Belle, according to a source.

[From The Wrap]

Emma confirmed the news on her Facebook, writing in part: “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.” She has to sing those songs too? Whoa.

Obviously, now we need to figure out who should be cast as Gaston and the Beast. Someone suggested Jason Momoa for the Beast? That would be… interesting. I have no idea who they would cast as Gaston though. James Franco?


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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76 Responses to “Emma Watson cast as Belle in Disney’s live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’”

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  1. OSTONE says:

    Judge away, but I am so excited for this movie and I think Emma IS the perfect casting!

    • itzblissy says:

      I dunno, its hard to beat the bell from once upon a time.. i love that girl.. she will always be my perfect bell. Emma, sorry this time you have to be second.

  2. mia girl says:

    Kellan Lutz says Kellan Lutz would be perfect for Gaston.

  3. aims says:

    I think it’s a good fit. What about Alexander for the beast?

  4. bettyrose says:

    These days I cringe at any little girl pulled into the Disney vortex, but Emma Watson is a strong intelligent woman, as she proves repeatedly, and I trust her to make good choices for her career.

    • Pixelated says:

      I have nothing against her…but I could more easily see an Idina Menzel/Kristin Chenoweth type in this part. Someone who is used to belting out Broadway tunes.
      I can easily see Disney choosing her because they’re trying to modernize the image of Belle (from damsel-in-distress to a feminist). However,…it seems like odd casting.

      • Rachel says:

        Do we even know if she can sing? I agree I’d rather see a proven singer in the role. I think this happens a lot in movies now. They want a certain person in the role to draw people in, so they *make* that person fit. Rather than just casting someone who actually is a good fit for the role. In this case though, I don’t think they need her name to draw people in. The remembered love of the animated film itself will do that.

      • bettyrose says:

        You know… It hadn’t even occurred to me it would be a musical. I guess that makes sense if they’re basing it on the cartoon not the book but it could be a really dark non-musical adaptation for an adult audience (like the tv show was – back when Ron Perlman was a true beast with no Harley).

      • Pixelated says:

        @bettyrose it will be interesting to see how they go with this movie. The Disney cartoon is super heavy in songs, but I think you’re right-they have to ‘modernize’ it and make it dark (although as others have pointed out, it is a French story and it’s ironic that it might go back to its rather dark original telling.)
        I just hope that they won’t cast English actors to tinge the American film with ‘a strange yet familiar foreign-ness.’ I think it’s really funny when films do that.

      • mom2two says:

        This movie is supposed to be taking some parts of the animated film and Broadway play into account. Emma Watson was attached to Guillermo Del Toro’s version of Beauty and the Beast but that fell apart. Disney swooped in and got her. I don’t think she’s who I envisioned as Belle but she seems extremely excited to do the role, so I think she will do it justice.
        I like the idea of Jason Momoa as the Beast, it would be inspired and perfect casting. I expect an up and coming Brit to be in that role though.

      • fritanga says:

        I think this is brilliant casting. And as Eddie Redmayne, James Corden, and yeah, even Daniel Radcliffe have proven, practically everyone in the UK is a closet singer. Indeed, all Watson needs are singing lessons. I think she’ll do very well (although I am an Anna Kendrick fan and think she might have done well in the role too).

  5. Pri says:

    Isn’t Cruella being made into a live feature too? Michelle Dockery would be perfect.

    I’d love to see Aladdin as a live action movie, maybe Dev patel could be Aladdin?

    Pocahontas would make a great stage musical too.

    • BendyWindy says:

      How can we make Lady Mary as Cruella De Ville happen? Because it’s perfection.

    • LAK says:

      101 DALMATIANS has been made already. Twice. With Glenn Close as Cruella.

    • fritanga says:

      Dockery is far too young to play Cruella. She’s supposed to be a ghastly old harridan – watch the animated film, or better yet, the live action film with Glenn Close.

  6. Irene says:

    I just don’t get the love for this girl. She’s so bland. And her ‘acting’ ruined Hermione for me, who was my favorite character in the books. I hope she’s gotten her eyebrows under control, they were always trying to escape her face.

    The only good thing about Maleficent was Angelina Jolie’s perfect casting, so I don’t think this Beauty and the Beast remake is worth seeing. I know I’m skipping the Cinderella one as well, nothing new there either, just another boring white actress playing dress-up. At least Angelina has presence.

    • Rachel says:

      OMG, her crappy acting almost ruined the movies for me! It started as soon as she was old enough to start *trying*. Around PoA. Ugh! Her overacting was just horrible. And got even worse as the films went on. The moment in DH2 before Harry leaves to meet Voldemort *almost* redeemed her. Almost.

      She was actually pretty good in Perks of Being a Wallflower though. It’s a really good movie if you haven’t seen it.

    • Charlie says:

      I like her as a person, and think she’s so pretty, but I agree, she’s a horrible actress. Completely ruined Hermione. In the first movies, Emma and Rupert are better than Daniel, but further on he gets better and better and they don’t, although Rupert wasn’t as bad as Emma.

      • Dani2 says:

        I like her as a person too but her “acting” just sucks imo. There are far better actresses her age. Emmy Rossum would be perfect for this part.

      • Agree with both of you. She CAN’T act. Ugh….I have a serious haterade for her acting, and people who just go out to see her movies because she’s cute (which seems to be a large section of my FB friend list)….she is so not a good actress, and is coasting on the HP fame.

        And WHY are they doing this? Unless it’s a retelling like “Maleficent”, I see no point in doing it. Just like the new “Cinderella”…..it’s nothing new, or turned on its head. An interesting story would’ve been a version of “Cinderella” from the Stepsisters point of view–they obviously learned that behavior from *someone* and it had to be reinforced…..

      • mom2two says:

        @Dani2, Emmy Rossum would have been my first choice too!

      • LAK says:

        I’m looking forward to CINDERELLA on the basis of Kenneth Branagh as it’s director. He always borrows heavily from Shakespeare which makes his films an interesting study. For THOR he borrowed heavily from King Lear, so I want to see what he does with CINDERELLA

    • MisJes says:

      Completely agree with everyone here. She’s a terrible actress. I’ve noticed a few commenters on this post are defending her work in Perks and Bling Ring, but I must have been watching something else because I thought she was fucking dreadful in those films (don’t even start me on how she ruined Harry Potter for me)! I know she’s pretty, and educated, and I’m sure a nice girl – but how much longer are we going to pretend she’s an amazing acting talent?

    • Newgirl says:

      I agree!

  7. OhDear says:

    I guess she’s going to base her career on playing various versions of Hermione?

    That being said, I think Henry Cavill has the right look to play the Beast; it’ll be a good role to wash off all the recent controversies about his dating life, too. That being said, between the two of them it’ll be painful to watch, promotion-wise.

    • Sadie says:

      I’m not trying to sound snarky, but have you seen any of her other movie roles? In Perks of Being a Wallflower she plays a character who was sexually abused and is considered slutty, in The Bling Ring she’s a vapid thief, and in Noah she’s a pregnant woman trying to protect her unborn baby from a religious zealot. These aren’t all variations on the same character.

      I could see an argument that as an actress she sort of projects a similar confidence/intelligence in all her roles, which might make her seem same-y, but she’s definitely not actively trying to keep playing Hermione-ish roles.

      • OhDear says:

        My theory on her is that she wants to be a star (not just an actress) and the things that have worked for her are the ones that play into her image as the classy smart, bookish girl – Hermione, feminism speeches. As those roles in the other movies haven’t helped that much in raising her profile, she’ll probably base her career more on what has worked for her so far.

        (This isn’t meant as shade on her, btw.)

      • JenniferJustice says:

        No, they’re all different characters, but what they have in common is that she sucked in every one of them. I don’t see her able to really become a character. She memorizes lines well though.

    • Charlie says:

      Hermione is not like Belle.

  8. Anname says:

    Beauty and the Beast is my favorite of those Disney princess movies, and I think Emma is a good choice for Belle. I like the idea of the darker take on the story though – it would have been more interesting with a bit of that darkness. Too bad the del Toro version fell through.

  9. Elly says:

    Wasn´t there a live action Beauty and the Beast movie last year? Lea Seydoux as Belle and Vincent Cassel as Prince/Beast?

    • MIMI says:

      Yes but it was a mostly french movie and not a US movie so most people don’t care. The movie with vincent and lea is really good. Emma watson can’t act for me and her heforshe is so for exposure. I ‘m a feminist but her speech are so bland. Sad that a unknow actress was not cast.

    • Flea says:

      Just saw La Belle et La Bete recently and the movie was HEAVEN for me, the visual imagination in particular was EXTRAORDINARY. Having the beautiful Lea Seydoux as the movie’s Belle, my heart…….(pardon me for the lack of a better comparison) was a 13 year-old watching Justin Bieber. Sorry but having Emma Watson as Belle wasn’t that exciting for me.

  10. perplexed says:

    Can she sing?

  11. aang says:

    Can she sing? Maleficent was terrible in my opinion. Bad cgi and Jolie went for camp and fell sadly short. I hope this is better. Captain Hammer from Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible reminded me of Gaston in that role. With the right casting, a good director and toned down grafics this could be interesting. If she can sing.

  12. lucy2 says:

    This was one of my favorite Disney movies, so I’ll be curious to see how it goes. I can see her in the role, but only because she kind of looks like the animated Belle. I’m guessing she can sing?

    Disney used to re-release their movies on video/DVD every 7 years or so to make money off them and then put them back in the “vault”, but now that everyone can buy them all the time, I guess they’re just going to keep churning out live action remakes.

    • I was watching Hunchback of Notre Dame yesterday (best Disney movie EVAH!), and they had a commercial about the re-release of Beauty and the Beast–adding the song “Human Again” in honor of Howard Ashman who had died six months before the movie was released, of AIDS (which is seriously sad and sh*tty, and he was extremely attractive from the clips I saw)……..

      • notasugarhere says:

        VC, Beauty and the Beast was dedicated to Ashman. At the end of the credits this appears:

        “To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950–1991.”

  13. Lucretia says:

    Chris Hemsworth for Gaston and Tom Hiddleston for the Candlestick dude. ; )


  14. Malificent says:

    This works for me — only sorry to see that Guillermo del Toro’s version didn’t shake out. No problems with Condon. But everything is better with del Toro!

  15. Indira says:

    Hmm. Once Upon a Time is doing this and doing it better than most. Their princesses are badass. Emilie de Ravin FTW.

  16. Jenna says:

    I am a huge Emma Watson fan but this feels like regressing for her. Like, she moved beyond all the Harry Potter stuff to do some more serious/grown-up movies and start working with the UN, and now she’s going to play a fairy tale princess? I’m sure she’ll be great in the role but it just feels like an odd direction for her to choose.

  17. micki says:

    Geees, another version…

  18. Choupette Lagerfeld says:

    I think Emma is a decent pick. She’s smart and has substance to her. I just really hope she smiles more for the part of Belle…

  19. EKP says:

    Cumberbeast? No I’m just kidding. I vote Joe Manganiello as Gaston.

  20. INeedANap says:

    She looks too…young and small, I feel like amyone playing the Beast would look creepy.

    I think Emmy Rossum would have nailed it. Beautiful, talented, with gravitas and a great singing voice. But that’s likely too close to Phantom of the Opera.

  21. Angelalala says:

    Bendy as Lumiere.

  22. Maya says:

    I am going to develop a live action movie about my furious reaction to these remakes of Disney classics.

    I had hoped that Disney would leave my beloved beauty and the beast alone but no – they want to ruin that now😭

  23. Nuzzybear says:

    Brandon Routh for Gaston – he has great features for it, and it would be fun to ham it up.

  24. Angelalala says:

    And Christian Bale has the perfect personality to play Gaston.

  25. L says:

    They need some big meathead to be Gaston … Joe Manginello! <– I know that's probably not his last name, but I'm too lazy to look it up and you know who I'm talking about anyways lol.

  26. Sara says:

    I think it could be cool.

  27. serena says:

    Oh my god Jason Momoa would be the perfect hot beast! And now I kind of want to see him with Emma Watson (should be interesting)!!

    Also, I like this casting but I hope they’ll won’t do a perfect copy of the cartoon or it’ll be incredibly boring.

  28. Maria says:

    i always thought she would stay with indies and/or little supporting roles, she always claimed to hate the spotlight and the scrutiny. this movie will propel her into superstardom. its Disney and one of the most well liked stories of them, its going to be a huge movie and people will also obviously be more interested in her love life if she plays in such a movie. weird choice from her side.

    • miriam says:

      She doesn’t hate the spotlight at all, she’s completely fame hungry. If she could act, then it would justify her constant exposure, but she’s a terrible actress. She needs to go away and let real actresses with talent get these roles.

  29. LolaBones says:

    Nothing against Emma, but why didnt they pick an actual musical theatre actress? Im pretty sure the movie will do good without huge stars.

  30. LAK says:

    I adore BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Gaston is my favourite villain. Back in the day, rumour had it that he was based on Tom Cruise.

  31. Kate says:

    Someone over at Lainey suggested Tom Hiddleston for the Beast. I would be ALL over that. Emma Watson as Belle, though, doesn’t really hit the right spot for me.

    But who would I want it to be?

  32. Flower says:

    I like Jason Momoa , wonderful eye candy but all he can really do is the strong silent type, sadly he isn’t that great an actor the Beast needs to be really talented as he will have to emote through a heavy costume.

  33. Abby says:

    Seven year old me just jumped with joy. I’ve ALWAYS identified with Belle more than any other Disney princess, and Hermione is my literary spirit animal. Really excited to see what happens here.

    Ideas for other characters:
    Gaston: Dwayne Johnson or Jon Hamm
    Beast: Gerard Butler
    Belle’s dad: Billy Crystal

  34. Anna says:

    Emma Watson will be perfect as Belle.

    And can they get Henry Cavill to play…IDK he’s perfect for both the Beast and Gaston.I will go with the best because…


  35. Lr says:

    No no. Bad casting. Emma can’ t act Disney should have to get a real actress who can also sings well. I just don’ t get it. I really hope Del Toro realized to having Emma it wasnt work and that’ s would be the reason that he leaved the project.

  36. ramona says:

    Anyone feel like a Chbosky script for Beauty and the Beast is going to be vaguely emo?

  37. jasmine says:

    terrible, terrible casting choice! she’s the last person i would ever think of to play Belle!!

    I grew up watching the classic animated version and now i watch it with my daughter and sing along to it, but this is going to ruin the whole thing