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Emma Watson is joining Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast as the lead character Belle, the studio said on Monday.
The film will be directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 and Part 2) and is set to begin production in 2015. No release date has been announced.
The Harry Potter franchise actress also shared the news on her Facebook page.
“I’m finally able to tell you … that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! 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,” Watson wrote.
Since its release in 1991, the animated Beauty and the Beast has grossed more than $145 million domestically in various releases, not accounting for inflation. The title also hit Broadway in 1994.
The development of a live-action version follows the studio’s other live-action updates of animated titles, including Alice in Wonderland (2010) and this year’s Cinderella, which is set to hit theaters on March 13. A Jon Favreau-directed live-action version of Jungle Book will be released in April 2016.
David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films are producing Beauty and the Beast. Condon was announced as director of the film in June 2014.
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