Emma Watson Beauty and the Beast Disney live action remake poster

Harry Potter star Emma Watson has officially been cast as the Disney princess Belle in a live action interpretation of the classic Beauty and the Beast.

This film has been in the works for years, originally with Guillermo del Toro set to write and direct. Unfortunately he had to drop out of the directors chair to focus his attention elsewhere, but thankfully they’re still working with his screenplay. Disney has since found replacement director Bill Condon, director of Dreamgirls and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.

Watson seems like she’d be a great Belle; and hopefully del Toro’s screenplay won’t get altered too much, which i’m sure has a much darker tone than anyone would expect from a Disney movie.

Production is set to begin later this year, with Disney pushing hard for live action adaptations after the success of Maleficent, which brought in over $750 million. A live action Cinderella is even due out in March, a role which Watson actually turned down back in 2013.

Beauty and the Beast was originally a French fairy tale of the same name, and has been adapted numerous times to literature, film, television, theater, and even video games.

The big one most people think of is the 1991 Disney animated film, which was released to massive critical acclaim, becoming the first animated movie ever to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. In 2002 the film was added to the United States National Film Registry, deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Watson as Belle sounds like a good idea, she’s a great actress, with experience being on big budget sets. She also seems like she could handle the darker tone that del Toro’s screenplay will bring. Let’s just hope director Condon can deliver.

Hopefully this will be a good film, which will push ahead the production of more Disney live action adaptations. Aladdin is sorely needed.

Photo Credit: Disney