Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast opens in theaters today, and the 2017 film has us reminiscing about the 1991 original — and the cast that lent their voices to the animated classic.
Paige O’Hara, who played Belle more than 25 years ago, recently spoke out about the remake, telling People magazine, “I feel like I’m sort of passing the baton to Emma Watson,” who gave the heroine a modern day makeover. “She’s got millions of fans already. She’s going to have millions more after this.”
The 60-year-old added, “She’s incredibly intelligent and beautiful... and she’s going to be fantastic.”
Emma Watson and Luke Evans (Gaston) in Beauty and the Beast. (Photo Credit: R/R)
When speaking about the changes made to the iconic character, Emma revealed that she “wanted to give [Belle] this element of being quite industrious and very inventive… [She’s] absolutely a Disney princess, but she’s not a passive character — she’s in charge of her own destiny.”
For example, in this version, Belle’s father Maurice isn’t the only creator in the family. The passionate intellectual builds her own washing machine so that she can have more time to read. But despite the updates, Emma didn’t want to stray too far from the woman audiences fell in love with two decades ago. “I know what she meant to me as a young girl,” the 26-year-old shared. “When you love something that much, you really want to do it justice.”
Scroll through the gallery below for a side-by-side comparison of the 1991 and 2017 casts!