Emma Watson is ready to tell a tale as old as time. The former "Harry Potter" star has been cast as Belle in Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" movie, the studio announced Monday.
Directed by Bill Condon ("The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" and "Part 2"), the film is slated to begin production later this year. A release date has not been set.
"Beauty and the Beast" is the latest Disney animated classic to get a live-action revamp, following "Alice in Wonderland," "Sleeping Beauty" (via "Maleficent") and the upcoming "Cinderella" and "The Jungle Book."
Originally released in 1991, Disney's animated "Beauty" was a critical and commercial hit that has grossed more than $424 million worldwide, counting Imax and 3-D re-releases. It is also one of the few animated films to earn an Oscar nomination for best picture, and the only one to do so before the academy expanded the number of nominees in 2009.
On Watson's Facebook page, the 24-year-old British actress said the 1991 film was "such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There.' My six year old self is on the ceiling — heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons."
Back in 2011, Watson had been linked to a different live-action take on "Beauty and the Beast" with Guillermo del Toro and Warner Bros., which never materialized. Her other upcoming projects include the thrillers "Regression" and "Colonia."
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