Are we going to exclaim, “Wow, Emma Watson can really sing!”
Bill Condon [director]: Yes! She sort of had to and wanted to prove she could do it. She had always loved singing, but in those years of doing Harry Potter she hadn't done it. She got her voice back in shape, took lessons and then there it was! This beautiful, sweet, pure sound that she has. It is interesting.
We don't usually think about movie stars being able to sing, and then they do it. Some people's voices just reveal something about themselves and seem like the essence of them. Emma is one of those people, there's a natural connection from the way that she speaks and the way she sings.
Can you talk about the three new songs added to the movie?
Bill Condon: We keep all the songs from the original film, but in this translation, we expanded upon how Belle and the Beast become who they are when we meet them. Two of the new songs connect to that new material. “Days in the Sun,” in particular, is sung by Belle and has more to do with the household staff and how they see the future when the curse is lifted. But it's also as a song the Beast's mother sang to him when he was a boy. So it sort of comes full circle.
Finally, there's the song [“For Evermore”] the Beast sings as at a crucial dramatic point at the end of the movie. They always say you should only ever sing when speaking isn't enough. When you can't help but sing. And that's what the song is, a cry of pain. I think that's a really big, 11-o'clock cinematic number.
Do you think one of those songs, like “Days in the Sun,” might be an Oscar contender?
Bill Condon: Oh, God knows. It's up to them.