Here’s Why Emma Watson Thinks Beauty and the Beast’s Belle Is a Better Role Model Than Cinderella

Be our guest! Emma Watson revealed in a new interview that she turned down a role in Disney’s 2015 live-action version of Cinderella before tackling the role of Belle in the forthcoming adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

“I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella,” the Harry Potter actress, 26, told Total Film. “But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.”

As a matter of fact, Watson thinks Belle sets the better example of the two beloved princesses. “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,” she explained.

“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,” the British actress continued. “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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Watson also told the publication that she collaborated with director Bill Condon on the story line for Beauty and the Beast. Together, the duo made Belle an inventor, like her father, Maurice. “The core DNA of Belle is a feminist,” Watson said.

The live-action adaptation of the 1991 Disney classic also stars Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson, among others.

Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17.

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