Harry Potter actress Emma Watson has been cast as Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, to be directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) and produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Production is anticipated to begin later this year.
Though Watson had been attached to another version of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy tale at Warner Bros., that project stalled after director Guillermo del Toro dropped out last summer. Apparently Del Toro gave Watson his blessing to move on to Disney’s version, no doubt sweetened by the fact that the script was written by Stephen Chbosky, who directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The actress took to Facebook to announce the project to her fans:
Beauty and the Beast will be the latest in a string of live-action retellings of classic Disney animation the company has embarked upon, including Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and the upcoming March 13 release Cinderella, as well as Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book which opens in April 15, 2016.
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