NOAH

Emma Watson will be Disney’s next fairy tale princess. The Harry Potter alum has just signed on to lead Beauty and the Beast, which Bill Condon is directing from a script by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spilotopoulos.

If the news is giving you déjà vu, that’s because Watson was previously attached to star in a competing Beauty and the Beast project over at Warner Bros. with Guillermo del Toro directing. More on the Emma Watson Beauty and the Beast casting after the jump.

TheWrap reports that Watson has closed her deal for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She had been set to lead del Toro’s Beauty and the Beast in early 2012, but the project hit a speed bump last June when del Toro decided not to direct. After del Toro’s project fell apart, he gave Disney their blessing to hire Watson.

Del Toro’s exit came around the same time Disney hired Condon to helm their competing version. Chbosky, who directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, signed on to rewrite the Disney film in September. (Spilotopoulos had penned the original draft.) We wondered at the time whether Watson might decide to reunite with Chbosky, and now it’s actually come to pass.

Beauty and the Beast is the latest in a long streak of live-action fairy tales from Disney, following Alice in Wonderland, Oz The Great and Powerful, and Maleficent. That trend continues with Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella this March and Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book next year.

Since finishing the Harry Potter series in 2011, Watson has appeared in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. She recently wrapped the thriller Regression with Ethan Hawke, and is now shooting Colonia with Daniel Brühl and Michael Nyqvist.

Disney’s 1991 animated adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was a massive success, grossing $424 million worldwide and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The film was then adapted into a smash Broadway musical.

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