"Emma Watson was our first -- and really our only -- choice for Belle," director Bill Condon said, "for a lot of reasons: her talent, her beauty, her intelligence."
He also said that the actress is similar to Belle because she is strong and independent.
"Emma Watson is a twenty-first century, very strong female role model," he said.
Watson, a United Nations Global Goodwill Ambassador, has something else in common with the character: a love of books. She's been known to hide books as a delightful surprise for bookworms out and about.
Beauty and the Beast has earned more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office since its March release.
Thank you to everyone who saw our film Beauty and the Beast! I saw so many lovely photos of families at the cinema together! Love, Em x ❤️🌹 pic.twitter.com/FM1VZEJQDG— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) March 22, 2017
Beauty and the Beast is available on blu-ray and digital HD on Tuesday.
The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Studios and this station.