HARRY Potter alumni and outspoken feminist Emma Watson is picky when it comes to her Disney princesses.
The 26-year-old actor turned down the opportunity to star in the 2015 live action adaptation of Cinderella, which grossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide. The part went to fellow Brit Lily James.
But that doesn't mean Watson is allergic to Disney damsels - she's taking on the role of Belle in the upcoming live-action Beauty in the Beast remake, due for release in March.
In a new interview with E!, Watson said that, while she didn't know she'd sign on to star in Beauty and the Beast at the time she turned down Cinderella, "when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did."
The star, who has emerged as an outspoken activist on feminist issues in recent years, said she thought Belle was a better "role model" to young girls than Cinderella.
"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 told E!.
"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. 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 fearmongering or scapegoating."
So intent was Watson on making sure Belle stayed a strong, inspiring role model for young girls, she only agreed to the film once director Bill Condon agreed crafting the character would be a "collaborative" process. Moderations included turning Belle into an inventor, after Watson had wondered what the princess "did all day."
No word yet on whether Watson had any collaborative input in the Belle doll now in stores - which has copped criticism online for more closely resembling Justin Bieber than the actress.
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