In Disney’s animated version of Beauty and the Beast, the movie’s heroine, Belle, is a big fan of reading while her father, Maurice, is an inventor. Indeed, it is while traveling to sell his latest brainwave, a wood-chopping machine, that Maurice winds up imprisoned at the Beast’s enchanted castle.
However, in a new, exclusive image from Disney’s forthcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast (out March 17) Emma Watson’s Belle and Kevin Kline’s Maurice are shown by a work table covered in music boxes. What gives? Well, it turns out that in the forthcoming Bill Condon-directed movie it is Belle who is the inventor while Maurice constructs the aforementioned music-makers.
“In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,” says Watson. “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”
The music boxes also play a role in adding dimension to Watson’s character.
“Kevin Kline as Maurice, is making all these music boxes that have to tell the story of Belle not traveling,” says the film’s set decorator, Katie Spencer. “She’s overprotected in a way, by her father, because she’s lost her mother. So, we’ve made all these music boxes that represent different countries of the world, so she can see what she’s missing.”