Newest BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Images, Emma Watson’s Revealing Belle Interview
Disney’s soon approaching live-action Beauty and the Beast re-imagining stars Emma Watson as Belle, an inventor from a small town who goes on to encounter the Beast (Dan Stevens) and his castle of magically-altered servants — all of whom await for the transformed Prince to find true love. If the Beast finds someone who truly loves him, despite his monstrous appearance, it will break an Enchantress’ tragic spell and restore the Prince and the servants to normal.
Anyone who has seen the 1991 animated classic knows how the story goes — but Disney’s re-take on the material is going in a new direction.
“In the original, you don’t get much of a sense of, who is Belle, what does she do, where does she come from, how does she spend her time before she goes and meets Beast,” Watson told EW. “So I wanted to create more of a backstory for her.”
“You kind of get a little sense of why she doesn’t fit in, like she likes to read books and she’s not desperately in love with Gaston, but why is it that she’s such an outsider? Why does she feel like she doesn’t fit so much? And I really wanted to get to the bottom of that,” Watson shared. “We kind of made her this mad, wacky inventor. Which was, originally, her father was that role, and it kind of became more about Belle. Kevin Kline’s [Maurice] became much more of this slightly frightened, slightly nervous, cautious, but very sensible, wise, loving father. So it was really fun to do that and add that on.”
The actress reveals that Belle “essentially creates a prototype for the first washing machine,” which further puts her at odds with the people of her little town. “They’re deeply suspicious of intelligence, and anyone that is going beyond that, and they don’t like anything that’s foreign, unknown, that might be beyond their realm of experience… they’re trying to break her spirit and kind of push her and mold her into a more acceptable version of herself,” Watson says of the anti-intellectualism surrounding Belle in her quiet village. “I think that happens a lot with women and a lot with young girls, where it’s like, ‘that’s nice, but why don’t we kind of push you this way a little bit?'”
“They see her as a threat,” adds director Bill Condon. “It’s that thing that remains under the surface. But when there’s a real threat that unifies everybody, they start to look for other people who make them uncomfortable. That’s a pretty common pattern.” Beauty and the Beast arrives March 17th.