H.E.R. is now a Disney princess. The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer has been cast as Belle in ABC’s upcoming special “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration.”
Her casting marks the first time an Afro Filipina woman will play the role of Belle on screen. The rest of the cast will be announced at a later date. Jon M. Chu will executive produce the special, with Hamish Hamilton set to direct.
“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ legacy. The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle!” H.E.R said in a statement. “I have always wanted to be a Disney princess, and I get to work with two wonderful directors Hamish Hamilton and my favorite, Jon M. Chu. It is very surreal and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
In a statement of his own, Chu said: “With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, H.E.R. is the perfect embodiment of our Belle and we are thrilled for audiences to see her in this celebration of creativity. We were both influenced as storytellers by the original animated movie, so it’s very exciting to collaborate together to honor the artistry of that timeless classic while also inspiring a whole new generation of creators.”
The R&B artist will lead audiences through the world of Belle with never-before-seen musical performances celebrating and paying homage to the beloved tale. The special is being dubbed a two-hour reimagining of the classic story will be taped in front of a live audience at Disney Studios.
According to ABC, “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” will blend animated and live action elements.
The special commemorates three decades since the original film was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The theme song, “Beauty and the Beast,” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1992.
“Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” will air on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.