H.E.R. is “so excited” to play Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
The 25-year-old singer will portray the beloved Disney princess in ABC’s forthcoming live action/ animated special ‘Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration’ and though she teased the programme will “stay true” to the original movie, she’s also keen to add a “fresh twist” to the character.
She told ‘Entertainment Tonight’: “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited! I’ve been in the studio, playing with the arrangements, of course staying true to the original but giving it a new fresh twist. It’s gonna be like H.E.R. but also Belle, you know? And I’m really excited.”
The ‘Fight For You’ hitmaker is keen to show Belle’s “strength” in her performance.
She added: “I think the world has never seen a Black and Filipino Belle and there’s a strength in Belle that I think we forget about sometimes, and I think people are gonna see that, musically, and just in the way that she is.”
H.E.R.’s casting in the project – which will be directed by Hamish Hamilton and executive produced by Jon M. Chu – was first announced in July.
ABC said she would be taking part “never-before-seen musical performances celebrating and paying homage to the beloved tale” in the two-hour special, which will be recorded in front of a live audience at Disney Studios and broadcast on 15 December.
H.E.R. – who will serve as executive producer on the special – recently landed her first movie role in Blitz Bazawule’s adaptation of ‘The Color Purple’ Broadway musical, which itself was based on Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated 1985 film.
H.E.R. will join Corey Hawkins in the project and will play the part of Squeak, who goes from a juke joint waitress to an aspiring singer in the musical, and was portrayed by Rae Dawn Chong in the original film.
Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey – who made her feature acting debut in the original flick – will serve as producer on the movie, which is set to be released in 2023.
The star has previously expressed her dream to become both a top musician and leading actress.
She said: “There is so much I want to do. People don’t really get to see my comedic and fun side, except for when I’m impersonating my aunt.
“But I definitely want to do a lot more voice-overs, and comedy, but also some serious roles.
“I’m trying to do it all, I know. Whatever is it, one thing at a time. I’m gonna get there.”