EMMA ROBERTS, KRISTEN STEWART, THERE’S A FEW NAMES WERE FLOATING AROUND THE INTERNET ABOUT WHO WAS GOING TO BE CAST AS BELLE. HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT EMMA WATSON?
“Yeah, I’ve never heard of those other names! [Laughs] You know what it was? Belle is famously the first modern Disney heroine so here you are 25 years later and who best captures those specific qualities of Belle – her brains, how strong she is, how independent she is, how misunderstood she is – it just felt like Emma Watson, in both her performances and how she lives her life, it felt like a great 21st century version of that. And then, on top of that, to hear how much she loved Beauty And The Beast and that she could sing and dance, well, that’s it, right?”
WHAT WAS WATSON LIKE TO WORK WITH ON SET?
“Emma Watson is incredibly serious I have to say. It reminded me of working with Eddie Murphy in DreamGirls, actually. You know where’s there’s that kind of light that goes on and she makes it look effortless but that’s the result of a lot of training and a lot of hard work. I was always impressed by that and just how dedicated she is and always filled with great ideas. On top of that, she’s also almost emotionally translucent, you know? It was sort of fun to watch shot by shot and take by take just how focused she is.”
THERE’S A LOT MEDIA FOCUS ON BELLE’S ALLEGED CHANGING BACKSTORY IN THIS FILM BUT THEN I’VE READ AN INTERVIEW WITH YOU WHERE YOU’VE SAID, IT’S NOT SO MUCH CHANGING THE STORY AS IT IS ABOUT MAKING CONNECTIONS AND ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN THE PLOTLINES. DID FILMING WITH WATSON – IN HER BRAINS AND CREATIVENESS AS A PERFORMER - PLAY ANY ROLE IN ADDING TO THE BACKSTORY.
“Not with the backstory, no. But it’s a process I like, all the actors sit around and we go through the script and discuss every scene and we dig a little deeper and people suggest ways of doing certain things. So everyone contributed to each character but the backstory was something we devised.”
WAS THERE ANY PARTICULAR SCENE WHERE YOU WENT HOME ONE NIGHT AND JUST COULDN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT?
“Oh wow… It was one of the first scenes we filmed… The Ballroom scene. Watson and Stevens dancing to Beauty And The Beast. That really puts you on a high.”