The former Hermione Granger was always destined to be a Disney princess, apparently. As reported by People and originally revealed in Total Film, Emma Watson very nearly signed on as the wearer-of-glass-slippers herself for Kenneth Branaugh’s 2015 adaptation of Cinderella. Of course, that role eventually went to up-and-coming British actress Lily James, further solidifying her as a promising young talent in Hollywood. While there’s no clear cut reason that Watson cites for turning down that role when it was initially offered, she does say,
“I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella. But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.”
Is that a bit of shade thrown Cinderella’s way? No way to tell for sure, but Watson is one of the most well spoken and sophisticated actresses out there so when she negs one Disney princess while preparing to premiere as another on the big screen she probably means it.
“She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice. There’s this kind of outsider quality that Belle had and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring.”
That perfectly describes Watson’s own life and goals, given that she’s already done extensive work with The United Nations in order to make life better for girls and women all over the world. Curious, compassionate, and empowering indeed.
Beauty and the Beast is out on March 17th of this year, and after that everybody can get to work comparing and contrasting Watson’s performance in this movie with what her performance as Cinderella might have looked like should she have taken that path at her career fork in an alternate universe.