Belle from Beauty and the Beast stands out from the crowd (not just because she’s the only one wearing a blue dress) thanks to her love of reading and her longing for adventure in the great wide somewhere. That feeling of not fitting in and Belle’s thirst for knowledge were some of the characteristics that attracted Emma Watson—who is known for her work as a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador—to the role in the live-action film. In her cover story with Entertainment Weekly this week, Emma shared more about Belle’s new backstory, and why the villagers see Belle not only as odd, but potentially dangerous to their provincial life.
In the film, Belle is an inventor who creates a prototype washing machine so she can spend her time reading, and even teach another girl in the village to read. Belle’s fellow townsfolk do not take kindly this, as Emma explained to Entertainment Weekly.
They don’t think women should read and it goes further than that … They are deeply suspicious of intelligence and anyone that, you know is going beyond that. They don’t like anything that’s foreign, unknown, that might be beyond their realm of experience. Breaking the washing machine is symbolic of not just them breaking something she spent hours working on, but them really trying to break her spirit and trying to push her and mold her into a more ‘acceptable’ version of herself.
But, Belle doesn’t let the villagers break her spirit, which of course is one of the reasons why we love her character so much. She doesn’t change herself to fit the mold of her little town, and like Emma Watson, she is a one-of-a-kind, brilliant person—and we can’t wait to see how Belle’s story unfolds!
What do you think of Belle’s new backstory in the film? How excited are you to see Beauty in the Beast in theaters March 17? Tell us in the comments!