Emma Watson thinks Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast' is the "first real feminist Disney princess".

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

The 26-year-old actress stars as Belle in the long-awaited new movie and as a staunch advocate of women's rights, Emma has admitted she takes real pride in her on-screen role.

She shared: "Belle is such a hero of mine. She was so fearless, defiant and had this independence of mind that I admired so much.

"I definitely felt a sense of responsibility. I remember modelling myself on her.

"For me, she symbolises the best part of all of us, the part of ourselves that we all want to be, the part that's compassionate."

Emma, who stars in the movie alongside the likes of Dan Stevens and Luke Evans, explained she was keen to "push" Belle's position as a feminist.

She said: "I wanted to push a feminist angle and to believe Belle was a real woman. She is the first real feminist Disney princess.

"I am such a romantic. I hear the songs and it takes me back to feeling young and wondering what it might be like to fall in love."

The live-action movie is the first time Emma has sang on screen, and the British actress admitted to relishing the unique challenges of the role, which included dancing with the Beast, who is played by Dan.

She explained, according to the Daily Star newspaper: "There's something very intimate about dancing.

"For me, it was a dream to have Dan there on set with me and to interact with him in character. When you see the beast on screen there's something so human about him.

"But I had to catch Dan in case he fell over on his stilts.

"He had this huge beast suit on and we were doing the waltz with pounds of extra stuff on him.

"It was wonderful but we worked hard to get it right."