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Beauty And The Beast Gave Emma Watson’s Belle A Very Inspirational Backstory

Another day, another teaser from Beauty and the Beast—but it’s not like I’m complaining. We’ve heard Emma Watson sing a snippet of the film’s opening number (“Belle”), watched Josh Gad and Luke Evans tackle the rousing “Gaston,” and seen Dan Stevens’s Beast attempt a “dashing smile.” But now it’s time to focus on the heroine that revolutionized the Disney-princess genre: Belle.

Since the film’s conception, Watson has been vocal about her aim to modernize Belle for the 21st century. The beloved Disney princess has swapped her feminine ballet flats for sturdy working boots, sworn off corsets, and even engineered her very own washing machine to dedicate more time to reading and teaching young girls in the village how to read. She’s an intelligent, modern woman, which of course makes her the outcast in the poor provincial town at the center of the story. It’s a little town of small-minded people, and they don’t take kindly to Belle’s feminist agenda.

“We wanted to give her this element of being quite industrious and very inventive,” Watson said in a newly released featurette from the film. “I know what she meant to me as a young girl. When you love something that much, you really want to do it justice.”

Beauty and the Beast hits theatres March 17 (which is only two weeks away!).

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