Emma Watson might be one of the smartest actresses on the scene right now. She has come a long way from the rumors of her wanting to quit acting after Harry Potter. One year after Harry Potter ended — and after she famously got a major haircut — she starred in the film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a hit coming-of-age story. The year after that she added a Sophia Coppola film — whatever that truly means now — and a huge Seth Rogen and Co. comedy to her belt.
Fans love her in these eclectic roles. It could be because their passion for her as Hermione Granger is still thriving or because she truly has a great presence on screen.
But she isn’t just making headlines because of her acting. Watson is the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and gave a beautifully empowering speech about the HeForShe campaign at the United Nations Headquarters in September 2014. More and more, she’s showing she was meant for this position, especially when young women tweet at her for advice and her responses break the glass ceiling out of sheer fear of going against her word.
And now, Watson destroyed the Internet when it was confirmed she was moving forward as Belle in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s 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!” the actress posted on her Facebook page. “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. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
Screams of “she’s perfect!” and “OMG yes!” came from all over the world because no one can deny she’s perfect for the role. Buzzfeed already has the mockup of what she will look like as Belle. Just like Hermione, Belle loves books, and Watson was a huge advocate for her own education and her Harry Potter cast mates always joked about her doing the best in the on-set school. Of all the original Disney princesses, Belle was the least like a damsel in distress. She took the lead in saving her father and came to love the Beast on her own terms. If one had to choose a classic Disney princess — Tiana, Rapunzel and Anna and Elsa don’t count — for this feminist activist, Belle isn’t too bad of a choice. Plus, Steve Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is penning the script, so one can only assume he’s going to take this beloved character to new heights.
She has already proved she can dance and does anyone really think she would take on this role if she didn’t have vocal talent?
I cannot wait to see her run around a little town singing “Belle” and to see her sing the beautiful “Something There.” I can’t imagine anything more regal than her in a giant, golden ball gown swirling around an immense ballroom to “Beauty and the Beast.” I already know I’m going to have a mini-feminist victory when she stomps all over Gaston’s misogynistic views and talk.
Vulture has already joked about just casting the rest of the Harry Potter cast in the film, but there are some serious candidates I would love to see in this adaptation. However, I must say Viktor Krum as Gaston is the most perfect of all perfect ideas.
- Gerard Butler is known now as the ridiculously bulk lead of 300 but before he was leading the Spartans, he was the belting baritone in The Phantom of the Opera. His voice is stunning and has incredible range. He already usually has some great scruff so he could easily adapt to the Beast costume.
- Ewan McGregor charmed everyone’s pants off in Moulin Rouge. His voice is simply beautiful and I could listen to him sing “Your Song” and “Come What May” all day, every day. Who wouldn’t fall in love with him even if he was a large, hairy beast?
- Zachary Levi is a more unlikely choice, but his turn as the lead in Broadway’s First Date proves he has the chops to carry a musical. He has also already been a Disney prince because he voiced Flynn Rider in Tangled. Plus, he’s my dream man and needs to be in more projects that I can obsess over.
- James Marsden is very underrated. He’s charming, handsome and funny. He perfected the role of Corny Collins in Hairspray, and, like Levi, is already a Disney prince after his role in Enchanted. It might be hard to picture him as the Beast, but imagine that reveal at the end. He has the perfect prince face.
- Watson is younger, and thus a younger male lead would bode well. People have already started pairing her with the lovely Joseph Gordon-Levitt after they presented together at the Oscars. Seriously, they would be such a cute couple! Plus, JGL can sing! He might not have the register necessary for the part — I could be wrong though — but he would be a great option.
- Hugh Jackman was one of the first people I thought of in general when thinking of actors who can sing. Then I remembered he played Gaston in the original Australian production of the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast. He would fit well in either Gaston or the Beast’s role, and I’m sure producers are thinking the same thing.
- John Stamos has the white-toothed smile, coifed hair and dashing good looks that would make him the perfect Gaston. His recent role as Jean Hamm in Galavant is further proof he can play the smug, egotistical character while still be charming as hell.
The possibilities for this movie are endless! So many great men could be cast with a great Belle. Watson has an opportunity with this role to add another classic character to her credits, further helping her to move away from the Harry Potter franchise — though I don’t think anyone just thinks of her as Hermione anymore. Watson is smartly acquiring more and more roles that are moving her farther away from simply being Hermione. Watson, like her Disney counterpart Belle, is playing it smart.