Emma Watson's HeForShe campaign "captivated" her 'Beauty and the Beast' co-star Dan Stevens.

Dan Stevens and Emma Watson

Dan Stevens and Emma Watson

The 34-year-old actor stars as the titular Beast alongside Emma's Belle, and has said he was deeply moved by a video he watched prior to their shoot in which the 26-year-old star gave her impassioned speech at the United Nations headquarters in 2014, which urged men to be active speakers in the fight for gender equality.

Dan said about the speech: "It was really addressing a lot of things I had always seen in fairytales, that I had always seen in literature and really believe in: that feminism is about redressing a balance, and in order to do that you need to engage boys and men.

"You need to engage masculine energy, and grapple with what that balance is, what that entails, what are the elements of the patriarchy that need walking down and which are just elements of masculinity that need to be balanced with femininity."

And Dan says the ideas put forward in the 'Harry Potter' star's speech are "very much in play" in the live-action remake of the 1991 animated Disney classic.

He added: "All of these ideas are very much at play in 'Beauty and the Beast' and they're also very much in play in Emma Watson's mind. It was getting to sit with her and discuss how this fairytale resonates timelessly but also resonates now. Not shoehorning anything but just realising how much of what we both believe about the gender spectrum and those masculine and feminine energies are at play in this fairytale."

The star also notes that the Beast had to have something more to him than being "monstrous" because the reinvention of Belle is "looking for" something special.

He told The Daily Beast: "He can't just be a monstrous, growling, grumpy dude.

"There has to be 'something there' in order for her to fall in love with him. What kind of guy would Emma Watson's Belle fall in love with? If it's not the strapping, handsome Gaston, what is that she's looking for? I was really, really excited to wade through the water with a brain like Emma Watson's."

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