Emma Watson to play Belle in Beauty and the Beast

Shooting on the live action remake is set to begin later this year

Emma Watson will play Belle in Beauty and the Beast
Emma Watson will play Belle in Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson has been cast as Belle in the upcoming live action remake of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

The English actress, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, was first attached to the movie back in 2011 and has now been confirmed for the part.

Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) is directing the reboot while Stephen Chbosky, who directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is writing the script.

"I'm finally able to tell you that I will be playing Belle!" Watson wrote on her official Facebook page. "It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Out Guest' and sing 'Something There'.

"My six-year-old self is on the ceiling - heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can't wait for you to see it."

Watson was initially lined-up to play Belle when Guillermo del Toro was on board to direct a version of the animated classic for Warner Bros. When that project was scrapped, permission was given to Disney to cast her instead, The Wrap reports.

Production on Beauty in the Beast is scheduled to begin later this year and further cast details are yet to be announced.

Disney's Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie proved a huge hit last year, while Cinderella and The Jungle Book are set to receive the live action treatment soon.

First released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast grossed more than $375 million at the global box office and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

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