Development[ edit ] Conception and writing[ edit ] After the success of Walt Disney Productions ' first feature-length animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , filmmaker Walt Disney himself made several attempts to adapt the fairy tale " Beauty and the Beast " by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont into one of the studio's earliest animated feature films during the s and s.
Before Beauty and the Beast, Disney's tradition of depicting female characters as victims had already long been established. Director Kirk Wise was particularly interested in casting an actress capable of "creat[ing] a character completely with her voice",  envisioning a voice similar to that of American entertainer Judy Garland. I mean, I was into musical theater and Gershwin and Rodgers and Hammerstein while people were going to Led Zeppelin concerts.
So I understood that I wasn't the norm either. I was very focused on my career, on my performing all through my childhood and my teens I had a one-track mind, and I think that Belle was like that a lot. O'Hara told The Guardian that to solve this she "softened and used the microphone. The Enchanted Christmas , Belle's Magical World and Belle's Tales of Friendship , as well as various video game releases such as the Kingdom Hearts series and several audio and video recordings associated with the Disney Princess franchise.
However, O'Hara eventually admitted that she found the process quite difficult as a result of the way in which her voice has changed over the course of 20 years. She became bitchy "; the screenwriter argued that Belle would be "too smart" to act this way.
More statuesque than most Disney princesses, Belle's appearance was inspired by that of American actress Jennie Garth. Discourses on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, author Sharon Hayes described Belle as "the quintessential beautiful young ingenue. A Handbook author Jerry Griswold described the character as a similarly "feisty and outspoken" heroine.
Francis Xavier University , Dawn Elizabeth England observed that Belle possesses equally as many traditionally feminine as she does masculine traits, citing her bravery, independence and assertiveness as masculine, and her sensitivity and fearfulness as feminine. Susan Jeffords, author of Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era, felt that although Belle appears to be the protagonist in Beaumont's original fairy tale, the character becomes "less the focus of the narrative" in Disney's adaptation and more of a "mechanism for solving the Beast's 'dilemma'.
Having grown weary of her uneventful provincial life, in which she is relentlessly romantically pursued by an arrogant hunter named Gaston , Belle longs for adventure. After her father's horse returns without its rider, she willingly ventures into the woods in search of her father. She persuades the Beast that she will trade her own freedom in return for her father's, since her father is ill in the dungeon, promising to remain with the Beast in his castle among his staff of enchanted objects forever.
Belle's curiosity leads her to the forbidden west wing where she discovers an enchanted rose without realizing that it is tied to the Beast's fate; and the Beast's rage at her trespassing causes her to flee the castle on horseback. Belle is pursued by wolves in the woods but they are driven off by the Beast, afterwards Belle helps the injured Beast back to the castle and nurses him back to health. Although she initially dislikes her captor, Belle gradually learns to accept the Beast in spite of his appearance and eventually befriends him.
Belle and the Beast's strong bond greatly envies Gaston to the point of which he storms the castle and mortally wounds the Beast, though Gaston falls to his own death in the process. However, Belle confesses her love for the Beast just in time to break the spell under which he had been placed by an enchantress as punishment for his selfish ways, and the Beast ultimately transforms back into a handsome prince.
The Enchanted Christmas , Belle attempts to reignite the castle's waning spirit by reintroducing and celebrating Christmas , in spite of the Beast's strong resentment towards the holiday. Meanwhile, a solemn pipe organ named Forte grows determined to sabotage Belle and the Beast's burgeoning friendship because he longs to maintain his co-dependent relationship with his master. Tricked by Forte into retrieving a large Christmas tree from a frozen pond, Belle nearly drowns, only to be rescued by the Beast.
The Beast, however, having been misinformed by Forte, wrongly accuses Belle of trying to escape again, and locks her in the dungeon as punishment. When the Beast finally discovers the truth, they forgive each other, and Belle helps him thwart Forte's plan to destroy the castle. Belle's Magical World , depicts Belle as she interacts with both the Beast and his enchanted servants in various segments, exploring themes such as forgiveness, friendship, cooperation and respect. For the first time, Belle appears as both animated and live-action versions of herself, voiced and portrayed by actresses Paige O'Hara and Lyndsey McLeod, respectively.
In the television series Sing Me a Story with Belle — , Belle, in a role reprised by McLeod, owns her own music and bookshop, where she is visited by children to whom she tells and sings stories. She is portrayed by Australian actress Emilie de Ravin. The series Sofia the First included a cameo by Belle in a episode.
In January , Emma Watson announced that she would be portraying Belle in a live-action version of the film ,  which was released in As a feminist and model, Watson suggested several changes to the character in the live-action film. For costume design Watson rejected the traditional "big princess dress" and corset for the golden gown as that would have reduced her mobility, with the gown seen as crucial for marketing the film, while for the village scenes she requested boots instead of ballet slippers to give the character more ruggednes.
Nonetheless Belle's attire in the live-action remake largely stays true to its animated predecessor. It is also revealed that Belle's mother died of a disease plague during Belle's infancy, consequently Maurice is somewhat overprotective of Belle and does not allow her to leave the village. For instance, Maurice creates "music boxes playing tunes from faraway places, in a bid to sate her thirst for exploration", as he is unwilling to let Belle be adventurous due to her mother's death, although Belle harbors no hard feelings about this.
The role was originated by actress Susan Egan ,  who was initially reluctant to audition for Beauty and the Beast because she "thought it was a terrible idea for Disney to put a cartoon on Broadway.
However, the song was ultimately so well-received that it has been included in the musical ever since. She also makes a brief cameo appearance in Disney's 34th animated feature film The Hunchback of Notre Dame during the " Out There " musical sequence. In the former, the storylines generally have the servants trying to coax Belle into doing something with the Beast, only for it to backfire and nearly ruin their friendship before they make up. In the latter serial, Belle ends up locked up in a cellar by village children after reluctantly playing pirates with them, and later nearly goes down the path leading to Beast's castle.
The latter serial also implies that she holds misandric views and refuses to associate herself with the village children, especially the males, due to their not being as well-versed in literature as she. Emma Slater then played Belle while dancing a Foxtrot during the Disney theme night of the show's 24th season.
And it's true that in that respect at least, Belle stood in stark contrast to past Disney heroines Still, the filmmakers didn't do the character any favors by swapping out that boy crazy trait for a pronounced maternalistic streak that comes across as a little creepy. Their romance also lacks spark because — due to the fundamental set-up of the narrative Particularly when compared to some of the dynamic animated heroines that came after her