Emma Watson champions ‘very progressive’ Belle at Beauty and the Beast London premiere

The live-action remake of the 1991 Disney animation fills out the backstory of a Beauty who is a little less traditional than the normal princess

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 5:01pm

Belle is a departure from other Disney heroines, Emma Watson insisted at the premiere for her new fantasy romance film Beauty and the Beast on Thursday evening.

“The wonderful thing about Belle is I feel like even in the original, she was very progressive”, Watson said, adding that she enjoyed filling out more of the backstory for the character.

A live action remake of the 1991 Disney animated movie, Beauty and the Beast follows Belle as she is imprisoned by a beast, played by Dan Stevens, in his castle.

She meets and becomes friends with his staff, including Mrs Potts the teapot, voiced by Emma Thompson, and gradually warms to the beast.

At the premiere, Luke Evans, who plays the arrogant, boorish Gaston smitten by Belle, said that there were similarities between his character’s “fear of the unknown” and the current political climate.

There’s a definite parallel to be drawn there, about somebody who doesn’t want to be told ‘no’, will not be told ’no’, and will fight until the end purely because of the fear of the unknown,” he said.

Director Bill Condon said that he felt “pressures” in creating the remake, while Ian McKellen, who takes on the voice of Cogsworth the clock, said the anticipation of seeing how the new film compares with the original was “nerve-racking”.

“Lots of jokes in this, and unexpected jokes, with constant reference back to the Disney animation, so I think it’s very, very likely to appeal to, probably even more than the original”, McKellen adds.

The stars later braved Storm Doris, which has been battering Britain and Ireland, to head to Leicester Square to watch the film.

Beauty and the Beast opens in Hong Kong on March 16