Emma Watson Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson will star in Disney’s live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” as the lead character Belle.

Disney made the announcement Monday, saying that production will begin later this year. No release date has been set.

The film will be directed by Bill Condon (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”), who was announced as director in June. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films are producing.

The “Harry Potter” actress also made the announcement on her Facebook page:

“I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! 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.”

The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Steve Chbosky. Linda Wolverton wrote the script for the animated “Beauty and the Beast,” which has grossed more than $145 million domestically since its release in 1991.

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