Why Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ may have originally resembled Angelina Jolie


Belle in Beauty and the Beast.  A new book reveals that early character designs were similar to Angelina Jolie.  (Photo: The Walt Disney Company/Courtesy Everett Collection)

A new book reveals that early designs for Belle in Beauty and the beast She looks like Angelina Jolie. (Photo: The Walt Disney Company/Courtesy Everett Collection)

like the song, Beauty and the beastBelle was very different from the rest of her Disney Princess ancestors when the classic animated movie screens came out in 1991. A young, independent woman from a country village, Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara) stood in marked contrast to the more glamorous royals like Snow White. and sleeping beauty.

But according to Emily Zimler’s new book, Disney Princess: Beyond the CrownThe Beauty and the beast The animators—led by James Baxter and Mark Henn—originally envisioned a character very similar to a Hollywood witch.

“She kind of looked like Angelina Jolie—she’s so beautiful,” O’Hara points out in the book about the art’s initial concept of her alter ego. “I didn’t understand how anyone could sympathize with this person. You would look at her and put her on a pedestal. Mark and James changed her appearance. She was pretty perfect.”

London, England - October 27: Angelina Jolie attended a party

Angelina Jolie in the UK eternity Premiere in London in October 2021 (Photo: Samir Hussain/WireImage)

For the record, it’s unlikely that Jolie was a direct inspiration for Belle. Oscar winner girl cut off The star was just a teenager when Beauty and the beast She was in production, and didn’t make her feature film debut until 1993 Cyborg 2. In Zimmler’s book, Baxter says that he and Hin initially conceived Bell as “more European-looking with plump lips, [and] Slightly darker eyebrows ”- characteristics that were definitely identified with Julie beyond tiaraHowever, celebrities who have served as reference points for animators are Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn and O’Hara herself.

“Animators have created a lot of concept artwork and dozens of drawings to find what works best for them,” Zimmler confirms to Yahoo Entertainment via email. “You can see in the drawings how Belle has evolved. Paige O’Hara mentions early versions of Belle looking like Angelina Jolie, but that’s just Paige’s perception. None of the animators Jolie spoke to mentioned Belle as inspiration for Belle.”

In pre-production Beauty and the beast Continuing, Baxter and Hain eventually agreed with their co-star that Belle has the potential to be a transformable Disney princess and they revised their picture of her accordingly. “I knew this would change the view of the Disney princesses,” O’Hara says in the book. “Bill was the first not to look for a man. She wanted to see the world and all the places she read about in books.”

Emma Watson played Belle in the 2017 Disney animated film. (Photo: Laurie Sparham/Walt Disney Pictures/Everett Collection)

Emma Watson played Belle in the 2017 Disney animated film. (Photo: Laurie Sparham/Walt Disney Pictures/Everett Collection)

Belle eventually changed the face of the Disney princesses, directly affecting the way later characters like Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan were written — not to mention drawn. “Bell opened the doors to who could be considered a Disney princess more broadly, welcoming a wider fan base with her,” says Zimler. “Her acting, in both character and appearance, has encouraged those who make Aladdin To make Jasmine more adventurous and energetic. It had a ripple effect.”

This focus on spirit and adventure has been carried over into live-action adaptations of many classic Disney cartoons, including upcoming releases of the little Mermaid And the snow whiteStarring Halle Bailey and Rachel Ziegler, respectively. (Emma Watson played Belle in the 2017 film version of Beauty and the beastbut the character has also been portrayed by a variety of performers on stage and screen.)

In 1937, the animation [Snow White and the Seven Dwarves] She was very focused on finding true love, and that wasn’t what she had in mind at all in this movie,” Ziegler told Yahoo Entertainment at D23 last month. May you find love. Perhaps you will find friendship. But what’s really important is that she finds her voice.”

For Zimler, Bell’s lasting legacy has less to do with her looks than with her attitude. “I’ve always been impressed by Bell’s spirit and love of books,” says the author. “Sometimes we think of the classic princess as blond and maybe a little shallow, but Belle undermines those traditional clichés. She’s a loyal daughter, a good friend and she makes sense of the world by reading books. In that way, she’s someone we love so many of us call or look forward to to be “.

Beauty and the beast Currently streaming on Disney+; Disney Princess: Beyond the Crown Now available at most major book sellers, including Amazon.


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