Disney has been making an absolute killing with their live-action adaptations of animated classics in recent years. This year, they have easily one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year with the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which will feature Harry Potter star Emma Watson as Belle. As it turns out, this wasn't the first time the studio tried to get her to play a classic Disney Princess.
In a recent interview with Total Film, Emma Watson revealed that she turned down the role of Cinderella in Disney's 2015 adaptation. She also revealed that she wasn't holding out to play Belle, because at the time, she had no idea Beauty and the Beast was even happening. Here is what she had to say about it.
"I didn't know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella. But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did. She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that's the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice. In a strange way, [Belle] challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring. And also, 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 fearmongering or scapegoating."
Given how successful the Harry Potter franchise was, it isn't likely that Emma Watson has to take a job like this for money, but still. Turning down something like Cinderella is a big deal, especially considering the movie went on to make a lot of money, $543 million worldwide to be exact. Not only that, but the movie was very well-liked by both critics and fans. Emma Watson couldn't have known that at the time, but it is Disney and she must have known it was a big opportunity. It says a lot that she had the integrity to turn it down because she didn't feel she was right for the role.
It looks like things are going to work out pretty well because, as Emma Watson points out, she ultimately identifies better with the character of Belle, which probably helped her in the performance. The early reactions to what we have seen of her as Belle have been largely positive, which is also good. Again, not that she took the role for the money, but all signs are pointing to this live-action version of Beauty and the Beast being a massive success. The teaser trailer and the first full-length trailer for the movie broke the record for views in a 24-hour period, which indicates people are very excited for the movie. Also, if the success of The Jungle Book, which grossed 966 million worldwide, tells us anything, Beauty and the Beast could easily wind up besting Cinderella's impressive take.
In addition to Emma Watson, the cast for the movie includes Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. They also have an Oscar-winning director with Bill Condon and an Oscar-winning composer with Alan Menken, who is returning to do the music for this new version, since he also composed the score for the original animated movie. Beauty and the Beast is set for release on March 10.