Emma Watson to star in Disney’s new live-action ‘Beauty And The Beast’ film

'Dreamgirls' director Bill Condon will start shooting the film later this year (2015)

Emma Watson is to star as Belle in Disney’s forthcoming live-action version of Beauty And The Beast.

The Harry Potter actress confirmed the casting on her Facebook page last night (January 26), writing: “I’m finally able to tell you … that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action !”

The 24-year-old actress continued: “It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our 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.”

Dreamgirls‘ Bill Condon is set to direct Disney’s live-action Beauty And The Beast movie from a script by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) and Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules). Shooting is due to start later this year but Disney has yet to announce the film’s release date. At present, Watson is the only confirmed cast member.

Disney previously adapted Jeanne-Marie Leprince’s traditional French fairy tale La Belle Et La Bête into a much-loved animated film featuring the popular songs ‘Be Our Guest’, ‘Something There’ and ‘Beauty And The Beast’. Released in 1991, it became the first ever animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.