ABC is slowly but surely starting a trend of adapting classic animated Disney films into live-action musical specials. Just a few years ago, the network recreated The Little Mermaid for a live show starring notable names like Auliʻi Cravalho and Queen Latifah. Now, the alphabet network is circling a live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast and is casting the production as we speak. And it would seem that the show has found its Belle in the form of an A+ musical talent.
ABC’s Beauty and the Beast has tapped award-winning singer and songwriter H.E.R. to play the role of Belle, according to TVLine. This move makes the songstress the first Afro-Latina performer to ever portray a Disney princess. The musician, whose actual name is Gabriella Wilson, seems pumped to be stepping into the shoes of one of the House of Mouse’s most beloved characters. In a statement, she expressed her gratitude for the opportunity:
As the star mentioned, the production is being helmed by Hammish Hamilton, known for his extensive work with music videos. John M. Chu, who’s currently adapting Wicked for the big screen, serves as executive producer. Chu released a statement of his own on H.E.R.’s casting, in which he praised the star and explained just what made her the right fit for the book-smart Disney princess:
It goes without saying that the 25-year-old singer definitely has the chops to take on the movie’s lovable tunes. To date, she’s won four Grammy Awards, including one for Best R&B Album in 2019. In 2021, she also won the Best Original Song Oscar for Judas and the Black Messiah‘s “Fight for You.”
Beauty and the Beast will premiere on ABC on December 15th as part of the 2022 TV schedule. Those who want a taste of what they can expect from the musical can stream The Little Mermaid Live! with a Disney+ subscription.
More to come…