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Singing helped Emma Watson in acting

IANS | Los Angeles |

Actress Emma Watson says she has continued singing lessons following her role as Belle in the live action film "Beauty and the Beast".

"I've found it (singing) actually really helps my acting, and my speaking voice. It's great for my breathing and a discipline that I really like," Watson told

Watson, who shot to fame as Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" franchise, had to show off her singing voice to director Bill Condon to get the part. But she only agreed to do it if he got her a draft of the script so she could ensure her character Belle was imbued with a sense of "adventure, wanderlust and heroism" in keeping with her feminist beliefs.

Talking about her audition, she said: "I had three hours in a recording studio. It was really raw but Bill was pleased. And Disney was pleased."

But Watson still found the audition process nerve-wracking as it has been years since she last had to sing.

"I hadn't sung since I was about 12. This was something I'd always wanted to do, but I thought, 'is my voice still there?' I just hadn't used it, but it was a very pleasant surprise to find it was still there. I just had to kind of unearth it," she told

Watson declared that Belle is "one of my absolutely favourite Disney characters" and she was delighted to land the part in the story.

"She's book smart, emotional, sweet and romantic. It's not like she's cut off from that part of herself because she has a brain. I think Belle is one of those characters who really turns the feminist, man-hating thing on its head.

"It's not that she doesn't want to get married because she hates men. She doesn't want to get married because she wants to explore the world; and she wants to have adventures; and wants her independence. So she wants to be with someone who will enable and empower her, as opposed diminish her. She wants it on her own terms."

"Beauty and the Beast", a live-action remake of Disney's 1991 film of the same name, is releasing in India on March 17.