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A 21st-century Heroine: More on Belle’s Backstory in the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’

A 21st-century Heroine: More on Belle’s Backstory in the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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If you’re familiar with the Disney animated version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, you know that Belle’s father Maurice is an eccentric inventor, whose plan to bring his new invention to the Science Fair leads to him being trapped in the Beast’s castle. Belle is the dutiful daughter who doesn’t fit in with the townspeople, because of her love of books.

Beauty and the Beast

Screenshot from Teaser Trailer

This narrative is turned on its head in the Bill Condon-directed live action film to be released this month. The film’s star Emma Watson, who plays Belle, shared that they created a backstory for the heroine to explain more about why she was isolated. In her exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, Watson said, ‘There was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also what is she doing with her time?”

It turns out that she has all this time because she invents a type of washing machine. Yes, that’s right – Belle is the inventor! (Her father meanwhile, builds music boxes.) And having this machine do the work for her means more time for her beloved books.

In the film’s new teaser trailer, Condon explains, ‘She really is the first modern princess who doesn’t want to be a princess. Someone who’s more interested in figuring out who she is instead of finding a guy and getting married.’

Gugu Mbatha-raw, who plays Plumette (the feather duster) thinks this modern Belle is someone to look up to. ‘Belle is a great role model because she stands up for who and what she believes in.’ Dan Stevens, who plays Beast, concurs. ‘Her thirst for knowledge, her imagination, and curiosity makes her a fearless heroine. ’

This Belle won’t be wearing a corset either. And with the involvement of Emma Watson in the creative process – Watson is a known feminist advocate – it comes as no surprise that we’re going to meet a stronger, more empowered Disney princess.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ also stars Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson. The film is set for release on March 16, 2017.

You can watch the new teaser trailer below!


About the Author /


Loves museums, libraries, and coffee shops. Pet mama to a fluffy baby boy. In her spare time she likes to sing entire musicals in her head. You can find her other writings at mister beebop.

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