By: Zenab Saeed ~Staff Writer~
Actress Emma Watson is confirmed to play Belle in Disney’s new live-action version of the classic tale “Beauty and the Beast.”
After wide speculation regarding the actress’ involvement in the highly-anticipated film, Watson posted a Facebook status on Jan. 26 to announce her role in the film: “I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! 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-yearold self is on the ceiling — heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
Disney later confirmed this news and added that the film is set to begin filming and production later this year.
The film is based on Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast,” which was nominated for them 1991 Best Picture Academy Award, and follows movies like “Maleficent,” “Into the Woods” and “Cinderella” in the recent trend of live-action Disney films.
Although a release date for the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” has not been announced, the film is being met with high anticipation due to Watson’s involvement.
Watson, who is best known for playing Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series, starred in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in 2012, “The Bling Ring” in 2013 and “Noah” in 2014, for which she received high praise.
Fans of the actress are looking forward to seeing her as Belle, as evidenced by the level of excitement surrounding the news.
Although the rest of the cast has not yet been announced, it is rumored that Ryan Gosling may star alongside Watson as the Beast.
In June 2014, it was revealed that the film is to be produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films and directed by Bill Condon, an acclaimed and awardwinning American screenwriter and director who is best known for “Gods and Monsters,” “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls” and both parts of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.” Writer, screenwriter and director Stephen Chbosky, who has already worked alongside Watson on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” is rumored to be involved in the film’s screenplay.