Bill Condon

First Belle, now Alice: How screenwriter and headbanger Linda Woolverton is remaking Disney heroines for a feminist age

First Belle, now Alice: How screenwriter and headbanger Linda Woolverton is remaking Disney heroines for a feminist age

When Linda Woolverton was writing the screenplay for 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast,” she developed a reputation for banging her head on the table in meetings. Together with lyricist Howard Ashman, Woolverton was determined to update the fairy tale’s heroine for a modern, feminist age, an approach that occasionally clashed with the more traditional ideas of Disney feature animation’s story department.

“I’d say, ‘Belle is not baking a cake! She’s putting pins in a map of where she wants to go in her life,’” Woolverton said, in a recent interview at a cafe near her Hancock Park home. “I’m sure I was a total...

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