Emma Watson was first attached to a live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast" all the way back in 2011. Guillermo del Toro was the director at that point, and Warner Bros. was set as distributer. Four years later, Watson is still set to play Belle, but at a different studio and for a different filmmaker. As first reported by TheWrap, and then confirmed by Disney, the former "Harry Potter" star will play Belle in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," a live-action film from director Bill Condon.
"I'm finally able to tell you ... that I will be playing Belle in Disney's new live-action 'Beauty and the Beast'!" Watson wrote on Facebook soon after the news broke. "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 6-year-old self is on the ceiling -- heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can't wait for you to see it."
The new film is a reunion of sorts for Watson. The script was written by Stephen Chbosky, who directed the 24-year-old actress in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." (As TheWrap notes, Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the initial draft of the script.)
Last June, the del Toro version of "Beauty and the Beast," titled "Beauty," hit the skids when the director dropped out of the project. At the time, Deadline.com reported that Watson was still attached to star in that version of the film. But according to TheWrap, Disney reportedly had del Toro's blessing to hire Watson away from the Warner Bros. project.
Production on Condon's film is expected to begin later this year.