Emma Watson on why she chose Beauty and the Beast's Belle over Cinderella

Emma Watson has confirmed that before signing on to play Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ film, she turned down the lead in 2015’s live-action ‘Cinderella’.

Speaking to Total Film magazine (via Vulture), the star best known for her starring role in ‘Harry Potter’, also explained why Belle appealed to her over the glass-sipper-losing princess.

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“I didn’t know they were going to make ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the time I turned down ‘Cinderella’,” she explained, “but when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.”

Vulture’s report, based on the Total Film cover story now on sell, also says Watson described Belle is the better role model of the two characters.

“There’s this kind of outsider quality that Belle had,” Watson explained, “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.”

If you’re not familiar with the story: Belle is a young woman whose father is captured by the Beast, a creature living in a dusty castle deep in the forest. When Belle finds her father she offers to take his place and become the Beast’s prisoner.

“She manages to keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view,” Watson said of the character. “She’s not easily swayed by other people’s perspective — not swayed by fear-mongering or scapegoating.”

Emma Watson as Belle and Lily James and Cinderella. (Credits: Disney)
Emma Watson as Belle and Lily James and Cinderella. (Credits: Disney)

Lily James ended up playing the title role in Kenneth Brannagh’s ‘Cinderella’, and it’s safe to say that worked out for the best. Emma Watson is a far better fit for Belle anyway.

Disney’s string of major live-action remakes have been enormously successful. Without Watson’s involvement, ‘Cinderella’ netted over half a billion dollars, while ‘Maleficent’ took home over $750 million and last year’s ‘The Jungle Book’ earned over $950 million.

In ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Watson stars alongside Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Kevin Kline as Belle’s father Maurice and, providing the voices of the castle’s singing clocks, candlestick holders and teapots: Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellan and more.

Directed by Bill Condon, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will be released on 17 March.