Emma Watson Thinks 'Beauty And The Beast's' Belle Is A Feminist Role Model, And She Would Know

"That’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice."

The more we hear or see of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast remake, the more excited we are to experience it when it hits theaters this March. One of the biggest draws is definitely Emma Watson as Belle. The 26-year-old actress continues to express her commitment to making the iconic princess anything but a damsel in distress.

We already learned that Watson worked with the costume designer to create a dress without a corset, not to mention that Belle herself will be an inventor in this version. (In 1991, it was just her father.) But Watson and her fellow filmmakers didn't have to change the character entirely. As she explains in the new issue of Total Film magazine, Belle's feminism is what drew Watson to the role in the first place.

She reveals that she was initially offered to play Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh's live-action version, which was released in 2015 with Lily James in the title role. Watson didn't know Beauty and the Beast would be made when she turned down Cinderella. "But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did."


"The core DNA of Belle is a feminist," Watson reportedly told the magazine, crediting the original screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who was the first woman to write an animated feature for Disney. She praised Belle's "curious, compassionate and open-minded" spirit.

"That's the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice," she continued. "There's this kind of outsider quality that Belle had, and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring. She manages to keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view. She's not easily swayed by other people's perspective ― not swayed by fear-mongering or scapegoating."

Watson would certainly know what it takes to be a feminist role model, considering she is one herself. In 2014, she was appointed U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador and launched the HeForShe campaign, which encourages men to fight for gender equality. She also hosts her own feminist book club, and has also left free books on the subways in London and New York.

We can't wait to see how Watson interprets Belle when Beauty and the Beast comes out March 17.

(H/T: Huffington Post)

Cover image via YouTube


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