Emma Watson to play Belle in Disney’s new-live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Twenty-four-year-old actress Emma Watson announced in late January that she has been cast as Belle in Disney’s newest adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” according to ABC.com. The former Harry Potter actress, is ready to leave behind her famous portrayal of Hermione Granger and transform herself into a role even more magical.

The news was initially announced to her followers through a Facebook post on Jan. 26.

“I am finally able to tell you that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast,” Watson said.

Fans faced Watson’s announcement with great approval. Watson is just as excited about the news as her followers.

“My six year-old self is on the ceiling [with her] heart bursting,” said Watson. “Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

Filming has yet to commence, and there has been no set release date for the movie. Insider sources have released that this movie will share an art style close to that of Disney’s “Maleficent.”

Like the aforementioned 2014 retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” this new version of “Beauty and the Beast” will be a live-action film that will be heavily depend upon the use of CGI and other forms of computer graphics.

The success of movies like “Maleficent” and the already abounding press coverage for the new “Beauty and the Beast” appear to be heralding a new trend of Disney movies.

This is not Disney’s first attempt at rebooting Disney classics into new, edgy live-action dramas.

2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” was the first movie in recent memory to attempt to completely and seamlessly combine CGI and live-action into a single, flowing story. The movie combined the art direction of Tim Burton, the acting talents of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, as well as the naturally outlandish nature of Lewis Carroll’s original novel. All of the elements seemed to be aligned perfectly.

Yet with a 51% rating on rottentomatoes.com and less than stellar reviews from the critics, Disney’s executives were left wondering where they went wrong. A confusing and hard-to-follow script were left to blame, and plans for a sequel were immediately scrapped.

Four years later, Disney studios took on the task of creating “Maleficent,” aware of the risk they were taking. Stunningly, “Maleficent,” contrary to its previous successor, became one of the more popular releases of 2014.

Both movies took on the challenge of reconstructing a classic story with Gothic elements, but “Maleficent” was given more positive feedback. Good scripts and flawless acting, it appears, is the best recipe for success. Now audiences are highly anticipating the newest live-action fairy tale.

The live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” has audiences pondering the possible stylistic choices of this upcoming story. Simply, many are curious if “Beauty and the Beast” will be styled after the Gothic tones of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Maleficent” or if Disney will pioneer a new style for this new live-action film.

Speculations are high, and until the studio releases more information, fans will be left to merely imagine what Emma Watson and the rest of the “Beauty and the Beast” cast will bring to theaters.

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