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Here’s Why Emma Watson Says Belle Resonated With Her More Than Cinderella

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Emma Watson is making a case for Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle as a feminist hero among the Disney princesses.

In an interview with Total Film, the former Harry Potter darling explains that although she could have starred in the live-action version of Cinderella, she’s glad that she’ll be bringing Belle to the big screen in the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake.

“I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella,” she said. “But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.”

While Watson said that “the core DNA of Belle is a feminist,” she also worked with director Bill Condon to ensure that her version of Belle would be an especially empowered character.

“There’s this kind of outsider quality that Belle had, and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her,” Watson said. “In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring. She manages to keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view. She’s not easily swayed by other people’s perspective — not swayed by fear-mongering or scapegoating.”


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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com