Emma Watson Encapsulates Princess Belle with A Twist


Walt Disney World – Florida

Emma Watson is set to play Belle in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, which will hit theaters on March 17. Watson is known for her incredible acting abilities, most notably her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise. But in the past few years, she has also used her intellect and compassion to bring awareness to society about various issues surrounding gender equality.

She is a strong-willed and outspoken feminist who is dedicated to creating an equal society, and she has even spoken at the UN regarding gender issues. Watson carries her feminist mentality not only in everyday life, but in her movie roles as well, and this current role as Belle is no exception.

Kingsley Huang Photo, Courtesy of Flickr
Kingsley Huang Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

In a recent Entertainment Weekly article, Watson discussed how she worked with the film crew to combine her feminist mentality and her portrayal of Belle in the movie. In the article, Watson spoke about her decision to help give Belle’s character a more definitive background. “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her.” Watson explained that Belle’s newly created background finally answers what Belle does with her spare time, other than reading books.

In the original movie, Belle doesn’t fit the traditional female roles that Disney often portrays. Fans of the film know her to be an avid reader, but Watson wanted more substance behind her character’s actions.

In the Entertainment Weekly article Watson explained, “In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle.” In this rendition, Belle is an inventor who uses her creation to make her time more efficient.

Mraz Center for the Performing Arts Photo, Courtesy of Flickr
Mraz Center for the Performing Arts Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

In the new movie, Watson also decided to abandon the traditional corset so that her character can freely move about, a move that completely breaks gender norms. The article explains that Watson’s character is an intelligent woman: she “invented a kind of washing machine so that instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead.”

Watson’s refreshing take on Belle’s character is truly inspiring. It reminds young girls that intelligence is desirable, and that they can be leaders who can forge their own life paths rather than conform to societal norms.

Entertainment Weekly’s article also discussed how costume designer Jacqueline Durran had a role in changing the interpretation of Belle. “In Emma’s reinterpretation, Belle is an active princess,” Durran said. “She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way.”

Emma Watson’s take on Princess Belle is promising and empowering, to say the least. Originally, Belle was a free thinker and unafraid to challenge the stereotype that people tried to put her in. Watson’s portrayal takes Belle’s wit and determination to a different level, and it’ll be interesting to see it all play out in theaters in March.

Feature Image: Lee Photo, Courtesy of Flickr