Film News: Emma Watson Will Star in Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

This morning, TheWrap.com reported that Emma Watson will be taking the role of Belle in Disney’s live-action adaption of “Beauty and the Beast.” Watson shared her excitement about her role on her Facebook page today:

Facebook announcement today, January 26th. Screen shot by author.

Facebook announcement today, January 26th. Screen shot by author.

Disney is really lining up the adaptations of its classics, making this venture the fourth one in a recent string. Thus far, we’ve had “Maleficent” and this year we’re getting “Cinderella” and “Jungle Book.” You might also include “Frozen” in that list, if you count the appearance of the beloved Disney characters in the fourth season of “Once Upon a Time.” The fairy tale trend can be expanded further with the popularity of “Into the Woods,” another Disney project.

Live-action adaptations of stories (whether from fairy tale or general storybooks) have been around for a long time, but newer and better special effects do much to raise the hype for these productions, something that is not singular to Disney. Just look at the recent success of “Paddington” from StudioCanal, with a very convincing but computer generated bear.

The question now is whether the new “Beauty and the Beast” can match or even surpass the flair and magic of the original animated film. For a time, Guillermo del Toro was going to make his own version, which would have starred Emma Watson. While it’s interesting to consider how his might have turned out, it’s probably a relief to know that Disney will be at the helm this time and that so far casting is in good hands.

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