Emma Watson Reveals Why She Turned Down Cinderella, and Why Belle Resonated So Much With Her

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We’re all waiting with bated breath for the release of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as the titular beauty, and we know that this wasn’t the first live-action Disney film she was offered, having also been offered the chance to play Cinderella in the film that ultimately starred Lily James. What we didn’t really know, however, was what prompted Watson to turn down Cinderella while saying yes to Belle. As the “tale as old as time” gets closer to release, Watson is finally talking about that other Disney princess.

In an interview with Total Film Magazine (as reported by E! News), Watson revealed that she didn’t turn down one for the other, but that she did resonate more with Belle. She said:

“I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella, but when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did. She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice.”

Belle’s resonance seemed to touch Watson in a way that was very personal. She went on to say:

“I don’t feel like I particularly fitted in when I was younger. 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. 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.”

As we’ve watched Watson blossom into a talented actress and an assured feminist, it’s clear that she’s a great role model no matter who she plays, and as we’ve written about before, Watson worked with the film’s writer to give Belle even more nuance and intelligence by making her the inventor, rather than her father. It adds another layer of depth to know that Watson identifies so heavily with the character, and we’re thrilled to see the finished result when Beauty and the Beast comes out on March 17th.

(via /Film, image via Disney)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.