Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

“I pushed as hard as I could”: Emma Watson reveals her list of feminist requirements for Beauty and the Beast


Words: Sarah Finley

Emma Watson’s quest to transform Beauty and the Beast  into a feminist fairy tale has not gone unnoticed. The actor has spoken widely about her desire to ensure the character of Belle did not fall into the usual clichés of a subservient princess.

And now, the Harry Potter star has revealed exactly what her requirements were for the film.

Speaking to journalists at a recent press conference in London, Watson explained how she ensured Disney moved away from the unattainable princess image, to show Belle in an authentic light, revealing that she “pushed as hard” as she could to have her requests met.

“It’s subtle things,” she said. “I insisted that she had some kind of trousers on underneath her skirt so that she could get on and off a horse in a way that wasn’t ridiculous.”

Beauty and the beast

In the remake, Belle is an inventor

Additionally, with a love of literature being a key attribute of Belle’s character, Watson was adamant that this be portrayed realistically, explaining: “I made sure that she wore proper boots. And I insisted that she had big pockets so that she could carry around her books. I insisted she had a vocation of some kind.”

The 26-year-old also ensured that she wasn't Photoshopped in the film, saying:  “I insisted on this film, for example, that they keep my freckles. Usually they block them all out.”

Read more: Watch Emma Watson in character as Belle in Beauty and the Beast

Elaborating on her comments, Watson said that she overcame the typical pressures to ensure that Belle was not only dressed in a realistic manner, but also that her body shape was human: “I insisted that my body shape be the body shape.

“You come under quite serious pressure when you’re doing Hollywood films to wear a heavy amount of boob support and whatever else! Various different things like that. I thought the more human I could make her was the best way to serve her.”

But dress and body shape aren’t the only things Watson had changed about the original cartoon. Speaking with EW last year, the actress admitted: “In the animated movie, it's her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle.” 

“I was like, ‘Well, 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?’

Read more: “This phoney outrage at Emma Watson’s breasts is laughably transparent”

“So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead.

“So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”

The film – which is out in cinemas now – has already received glowing reviews from critics. It seems the Watson way has worked its magic.

Images: Rex Features


disney princess shocked.jpg

This Disney princess is the first to turn down a marriage proposal


Emma Watson reveals why she really turned down La La Land

emma watson.jpg

“The phoney outrage at Emma Watson’s breasts is laughably transparent"


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Ellen Degeneres’ sweet anniversary message to Pink keeping it real

by Nicola Colyer
17 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Why Taylor Swift’s sexual assault verdict is a victory for womankind

The pop star has completely changed the narrative

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017