Emma Watson says ‘Beauty and the Beast’ supports feminism

Emma Watson attends the Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Feb. 28 (UPI) — Emma Watson says her new film “Beauty and the Beast” is compatible with feminism.

The 26-year-old British actress explained in the March issue of Vanity Fair how she helped incorporate her feminist ideals into the live-action Disney movie.

“I couldn’t care less if I won an Oscar or not if the movie didn’t say something that I felt was important for people to hear,” she said of taking on the role of Belle.

Watson was initially concerned about playing a Disney princess, but was reassured after her mom and activist Gloria Steinem gave the film their stamp of approval. She actively worked to make Belle an independent and resourceful character.

“I was like, ‘The first shot of the movie cannot be Belle walking out of this quiet little town carrying a basket with a white napkin in it,'” the star recalled. “‘We need to rev things up!'”

“[Belle develops a] modern washing machine that allows her to sit and read,” she said, adding the character will wear riding boots. “The original sketches had her in ballet shoes, which are lovely — don’t get me wrong — but she’s not going to be able to do anything terribly useful in ballet shoes.”

Watson was named a a U.N. Women global ambassador in 2014, and works closely with the organization’s HeForShe campaign, which promotes gender equality. She told the magazine she isn’t afraid to openly advocate for women’s rights.

“I used to be scared of words like ‘feminism,’ ‘patriarchy,’ ‘imperialist.’ But I’m not anymore,” the actress said.

Watson had told Paper in 2016 that she will take a break from acting to focus on activism and her own personal growth, saying, “I want to engage [about feminism] with people who wouldn’t normally.” “Beauty and the Beast” opens in theaters Mar. 17.


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