Emma Watson announces she will play princess Belle in 'Beauty and The Beast'

Harry Potter actress and United Nations spokeswoman Emma Watson announced via social media that she will be playing Disney's princess Belle in the live action remake of 'Beauty and The Beast.'

Jonathan Short/Invision/AP
Actress Emma Watson arrives for the UK Premiere of Noah in London, March 31, 2014. Watson will play Belle in Disney’s live-action remake of 'Beauty of the Beast.' The Walt Disney Co. announced the casting of the 'Harry Potter' star Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, setting the prettier half of the romance at the center of the fairy tale. Disney said production will begin later this year.

Emma Watson will once again be playing a book loving heroine.

Ms. Watson, former 'Harry Potter' actress and United Nations spokeswoman, announced on Facebook today that she will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live action version of the animated classic 'Beauty and The Beast.'

“I'm finally able to tell you... that I will be playing Belle in Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast!,” Watson posted on Facebook today. “It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There.' My six year old self is on the ceiling - heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons.

This will be Watson’s first appearance in a musical. Director Bill Condon has confirmed that the new version will feature songs from the 1991 animated film as well as some additional original music, according to Entertainment Weekly. 

“Technology, we hope, has finally caught up to that treatment of the story, so I think we’re all kind of excited to bring that brilliant, amazing score and beautiful story into three dimensions,” Condon told Entertainment Weekly.

The script was written by Stephen Chbosky, author and director of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower,' which Watson starred in. Although the studio has not set an official release date, 'Beast' is set to start filming later this year.

Rumors have been floating around that Watson would play Belle for over a year, ever since she ended talks with Kenneth Branagh about starring in his upcoming movie Cinderella, supposedly to commit to the role of Belle.

Following last year’s hit 'Maleficent,' 'Beast' is yet another addition to Disney's recent trend of turning classic animated movies into live action films. Coming up, Branagh's highly anticipated 'Cinderella' opens March 13, and an adaptation of 'Jungle Book,' directed by Jon Favreau is also in the works.

Apart from taking on the role of full time Disney princess, Watson has recently been spending much of her time speaking about He For She, the gender equality initiative she started last September as part of her role as the UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador.

Yesterday she introduced the new phase of this initiative at Davos: IMPACT 10x10x10, which will fight for long-term positive change for women in universities, corporations, and governments.

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