Way back in 2012, it was first announced that Emma Watson, who famously played Hermione Jean Granger in the Harry Potter movie series, would be taking on the lead role in Disney's live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast. For awhile, it looked like she may no longer be involved with the project. But today, Disney announced her official casting with a very short press release:
Actress Emma Watson has been cast as Belle in Disney's upcoming live-action interpretation of Beauty and the Beast. The film is directed by Bill Condon and produced by Mandeville Films' David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Production is anticipated to begin later this year.
When Disney first announce this live-action adaptation of the fairy tale back in February 2012, which was a little less than three years ago, it was believed that Guillermo del Toro would direct. He dropped out of the project in June 2014, staying on board as a producer. This latest press release no longer mentions that he is involved with Beauty and the Beast at all. At this time, Beauty and the Beast does not have a release date.