Paige O’Hara doesn’t mind being replaced. The actress voiced Belle in 1991’s animated “Beauty and the Beast,” but she won’t be in the new film. She seems happy about Emma Watson stepping into Belle’s shoes, though.
“I thought it was genius casting!” O’Hara told People. “I don’t think you could pick anyone more right for Belle that’s out there that’s the right age. She’s beautiful, she’s got the intelligence, she’s extremely smart. I think she’s going to be wonderful. I really do!”
Audiences are still waiting to see what Watson will be like as Belle. Though Disney recently released a behind-the-scenes video that shows the “Harry Potter” actress at a table read, her look for the 2017 movie has not been released yet. That isn’t stopping O’Hara from getting excited, though.
The actress has been promoting the 25th anniversary edition of “Beauty and the Beast,” which was released Tuesday. O’Hara just can’t stop singing Watson’s praises during the press tour. “I think that if I were producing that movie, Emma Watson would’ve been my first choice for Belle,” O'Hara told USA Today. “I was just really happy they went with Emma. She’s got the intelligence, she’s got the humor. I think she’s going to be really, really special.”
“Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens will play the Beast opposite Watson’s Belle. It seems O’Hara was a big fan of his character Matthew on the PBS drama. “I fell in love with him on ‘Downton Abbey,’” she revealed. “I was so angry and upset for three days after he got killed off that series – I almost boycotted it I was so angry!”
Though she clearly supports the live action movie, the actress will not appear in the new film. “That is so funny. They should have done that. I’ve had more people say, ‘You should have a cameo in this movie,’” O’Hara told Parade. “I don’t, but I’m excited for it. I think it’s going to be great. I feel like I’m sort of passing the baton on to the new one, but I think Emma Watson is perfect casting.”
“Beauty and the Beast” follows the story of a young girl who goes to save her father after he is captured by the Beast. The original animated film earned $425 million at the box office as well as two Academy Awards. Fans are waiting to see if the remake can live up to the original.
“Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters March 17, 2017.