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I wanted Bella to be powerful

Statesman News Service |

From child star to UN Goodwill Ambassador, the beautiful Hermoine from the Harry Potter series has grown up to become a phenomenally inspirational woman.

At 27, global star, Emma Watson, has a lot of dazzling achievements to her name, multimillionaire, Ivy League graduate and an emerging Hollywood player. She has been making her voice heard and standing up for not just women but men as well with her He For She campaign.

A still of the dance from the film.


In this interview, Watson gets talking about the her last movie, Beauty and the Beast — how she improvised the character of Belle, how it’s different from the first movies and what was the most difficult part in preparing for the role. Excerpts:

Q Was this a role you had wanted to take on after watching Beauty and The Beast as a kid?

Oh my god, if you had told me when I was five, which was probably around the age that I was watching it on repeat, that one day I would get to play Belle from Beauty and the Beast, I don’t know what I would have done. First, I wouldn’t have believed you and second, I would have freaked out. I watched it so many times that I made my parents crazy!

Q Besides the obvious fact that it is live action, how is this Beauty and the Beast different from the previous one?

Beauty and the Beast if you think about it, is really like four movies in one. It’s an action movie, we’re making a live action film.

There’s a huge amount of stunts-there’s wolf fighting, horse riding, guns, sword fights and all of that going on. It’s also a comedy. The comic timing of characters like Coxworth, Lumiere and Mrs Pots; it’s just hysterical in my opinion.

Then on the other hand it’s a romance, a romantic drama and then it’s a musical so there’s also music, dance and theatre.

So, you need someone at the helm of a movie like this that can really do all of those things and it takes someone quite special I think to get all of that working very well. I think Bill (Condon) has done a brilliant job of that.

Q That’s amazing. We’ve heard that you’ve also improvised the character of Belle. Could you tell us a bit more about that? Has it been done so that she is more relatable to the modern audience?

It was very important to me that she should be very active and in control of her own destiny. I wanted her to be powerful. We knew she loves reading, we knew she loves to travel but we also wanted to make sure that we give her this element of being industrious an practical and very inventive.

In the animation, Maurice is kind of the inventor but in this movie it’s actually Belle who is really forging forward and innovating.

And I thought it was really interesting and an idea I loved. Belle also does some teaching in this film, not only does she love reading for herself but she also loves sharing her love of books.

Q What was the most difficult part while preparing for the role of Belle?

So we started rehearsing the movie in January and started filming in April-March. So, I had a few months to start learning, particularly the waltz.

And I realised that particular dance is the story of them falling in love and so it had to have so much communicated through it not just as a dance but as how two people interact and how their perception of one another changes.

It’s all wrapped up in these two or three minutes and we wanted to try and communicate so much.

So I realised I couldn’t just be a dancer, I couldn’t just know the dance steps perfectly. But what would make the dance really special was if I brought what I am good at, which is acting and that was what was really going to bring it to life and tell the story.

So it was a really special experience for me. I have always loved to dance and getting to do this choreographed dance between Beast and Belle was definitely a highlight.

Q The dress is something, which has been talked about a lot. What was taken into consideration while making the dress?

We realised the important thing this dress had to do was dance beautifully. We wanted the dress to feel like it could float, it could fly almost like as if it was the third person in that dance.

We started off with a much heavier, more intricate, probably historically more accurate dress but we realised it just wasn’t going to tell the story that we wanted it and we went with something lighter, made of chiffon and it’s just perfect for that moment.

Watch the enchanting tale of Beauty and the Beast come to life on Star Movies Select HD tonight at 9 pm