It may be a tale as old as time, but Emma Watson is intent on giving Beauty and the Beast a fresh, feminist twist.
The former Harry Potter star is almost as famous for her work in the fashion industry as she is for her acting, so it makes sense that Disney asked her to help with the design of Belle’s iconic yellow gown for the live-action reboot.
And Watson says she made sure to incorporate Belle's updated feminist attitude into her wardrobe.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the challenge, she said: “I really embraced working on the dress, making sure that it was utterly whimsical, and magical.”
She continued: “The scene that I wear that dress in, and I have that dance in, it really tells the story of Beast and Belle falling in love. You know, we don’t have a huge amount of time in the story to tell that story.”
“The dance, for me, is really where the audience starts to see it happening and starts knowing that it is happening. This is total, blissful escapism. You are transported to another world. The dress, and the dancing, and the candlelight, and the music – it was really fun to work on every aspect of that.”
Watson went on to praise “wonderful” costume designer Jacqueline Durran for allowing her to work so closely with her on the project, adding that “she did such a amazing job.”
Durran, for her part, was keen to help Watson realise her vision of a feminist Disney princess – and the pair worked hard to incorporate that into the ballgown, which was made famous in the 1991 animated classic.
“For Emma, it was important that the dress was light and that it had a lot of movement,” Durran explained.
“In Emma’s reinterpretation, Belle is an active princess. She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way.”
They even made sure that Belle’s shoes fit within this new narrative, ensuring that, while they were heeled slippers from the 18th century, they were still “something that Belle can run in and that she can go off and save her father in”.
New Belle sounds like a complete badass, doesn’t she?
Watson previously revealed that she wanted her interpretation of Belle to evolve the character's backstory, allowing her to be a more fleshed-out and awesome character than the bookworm from the original.
In the new film, she will be just as curious and kind-hearted as she ever was. However she will be seen putting all of the knowledge gleaned from her incessant reading to good use, designing new inventions to help her avoid all the sexist chores a woman from a “poor provincial town” was supposed to undertake in the 1700s.
Watson will star opposite Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast, which is due to hit cinemas 17 March 2017.
The movie will also star Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts (the teapot), Ian McKellan as Cogsworth (the clock), Ewan McGregor as Lumière (the candelabra), Luke Evans as Gaston, and Josh Gad as LeFou.
Images: Disney / EW