Who could help not be hit with the strongest wave of nostalgia when we read about Beauty and the Beast being remade by Disney! We have all loved and admired Belle, the heroine who loved reading, who didn’t fit in, who saved her father, stood up to townspeople and changed the beast to a beautiful prince with her love. We have also pitied Prince, laughed at Maurice and hated Gaston. No wonder the news of remaking of this timeless classic hit every 90s kid home.
Disney is producing this fantasy drama musical film scheduled for its release in March 2017. Directed by Bill Condon, it stars Harry Potter fame Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast. It is still a long time before the movie it’s the theatres, but the movie has been making the audience prance in excitement for a very long time now. Right from the news of it being made, the casting of Emma Watson and release of its posters, the world has jumped up in excitement at every step.
At being asked about the original 1991 film, I would say that although the story projected a strong, smart female protagonist, unlike most Disney stories that have beautiful princesses waiting to be rescued by a handsome hero, it wasn’t all. The move had a significantly small number of female characters, and the ones that were present spent their time swooning over Gaston (the triplets) or flirting with Lumiere (feather duster).
The story also boldly projects the absurdity that is the assumption that intelligent girls read and love their fathers, and other normal girls of the time following handsome men around town (who, comically, was in love with the intelligent bookworm!) But it is admirable that Belle’s character is portrayed as strong girl who believes that her opinions do matter, especially when the beast is adamant on ignoring her needs, conditions, speaking over her, throwing tantrums and going to the extent of kidnapping. Belle is the most feminist of Disney’s pre-Tangled Caucasian princesses.
So, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that to me, the most fantastic news was that of Emma Watson being cast as Belle. She is the one who rose to instant stardom even before her teen years, majestically portrayed Hermione, also, completed her education from an Ivy League university of England, is now making women around the world proud as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and spends her time hiding beautiful books in subways! And she is perfect for this beloved role. And guess what, she has made tweaks of her own in this remake.
Her striking influence has made major changes in the movie, all for good. It seems, Belle is not just the ‘beauty’ of the tale, as the title suggests, but is also full of brains. In the upcoming movie, she too, like her father, is an inventor.
Watson says, “Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also, what is she doing with her time? So we created a back story for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead.”
She has weighed the character in a way that she will do more than read books, save her family, protect men, fall in love and change men with her love.
Such progressive development of an already adored character!
All these exciting development in the making of the story has put fans on their toes. March couldn’t be any farther.