Emma Watson Cast as Belle in Live-Action Beauty and the Beast

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In a surprise Facebook post made earlier today, Harry Potter star Emma Watson excitedly revealed her leading role in an upcoming, live-action take on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast is among the most well-loved Disney movies of all time. The first animated feature the studios released in the 90s, it heralded the arrival of a new golden age for Disney, paving the way for classics like AladdinPocahontasMulan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Based on her comments today, it’s pretty clear that Watson is just as susceptible to the film’s charms as the rest of us, and knows she’ll have a tough job ahead of her filling Paige O’Hara’s shoes.

Best known for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise, Watson is certainly no stranger to going about with “her nose stuck in a book”: from her love of reading to her bravery and curiosity, Hermione clearly shares much in common with Disney’s “strange but special” heroine, so in some ways, it’s hard to imagine anyone more suited to the role. That said, with a couple of major “bookish outsider” roles behind her, Watson will have to exercise caution to avoid being typecast in future.

Beauty and the Beast‘s live-action makeover will be helmed by director Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Gods and Monsters, The Fifth Estate), with Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman of Mandeville Films (Warm Bodies, The Muppets) producing.

What do you think of the casting of Emma Watson as Belle? Are you looking forward to the new Beauty and the Beast film? Let us know in the comments.

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