Hear Emma Watson and the Beauty & the Beast Cast Show Off Their Singing Chops in This Excerpt of “Belle”

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We’ve heard some snippets of Emma Watson singing in previous trailers and teasers for Beauty and the Beast, but not much yet, and we definitely haven’t gotten to see her deliver very many lines as Belle yet. This latest teaser, featuring a minute-long excerpt of the song “Belle,” gives us the chance to both hear more of Emma Watson’s voice and also see a snapshot of her take on this iconic character.

Out of all the clips we’ve heard of Emma Watson singing Belle’s vocals so far, I think this one sounds the best. She sounds casual and relaxed and not like she’s straining, plus I can’t hear any evidence of auto-tune. That doesn’t mean it’s not there, but if it is, it’s a lot more subtly implemented here. (I have no idea if her other recordings have used autotune, either, but some of the other clips have sounded a bit more… robotic, shall we say. I’m glad to hear her sounding more natural here.) Even though Watson’s voice doesn’t have the same classically-trained sound as the original voice of Belle, Broadway veteran Paige O’Hara, she can certainly carry a tune, and I’m sure she took some voice lessons to prepare for this.

What’s also fun to see here is Emma Watson’s performance of various speaking lines as Belle. It was definitely weird to hear this version of the song without all of the iconic lines that I remember from the original Disney version (there’s no “Marie! The baguettes! Hurry up!”). Now there are different speaking lines and more townsfolk to deliver them, and therefore more opportunities for us to see how Belle interacts with everyone else. Just as in the original song, it’s clear to see how Belle is viewed by the townspeople as above-it-all and condescending. Even though we all know that she’s actually kind-hearted and caring, she doesn’t come across that way here, as a woman going “above her station” by burying her nose in books and not socializing with the other townspeople. She’s trying her best, but it’s just not gonna work out. She’s not meant to find a real friend in this town.

Emma Watson does a great job of splitting the difference here between an almost defiant and sarcastic playfulness with a more caring side that shows she isn’t really looking down on anyone… no matter what they might think. I’m pretty interested to see how Watson plays the part in the rest of the movie, too, in spite of my own reservations (and Emma Watson’s reservations) about the Beauty & the Beast romance. What do you think of Emma Watson’s voice, and her take on the character?

(via Oh My Disney, image via screencap)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).