‘Beauty And The Beast’ Writer Wants A Strong Belle – Someone Who Doesn’t Only Sit And ‘Wait For Her Prince To Come’

Eunice Alcala

The recently released teaser for Disney's live-action remake of the Beauty and the Beast made a record after being watched 91.8 million times for the first 24 hours. What some do not know is that the screenplay for the beloved fairytale was notoriously reworked because Linda Woolverton wanted a strong character.

"I wasn't on a soapbox, but Belle is a feminist. I'm not critical of Snow White, Cinderella... they reflected the values of their time. But it just wasn't in me to write a throwback. I wanted a woman of the '90s, someone who wanted to do something other than wait for her prince to come."
"There's been a lot of talk about Stockholm syndrome, that [Belle] fell in love with her captor. But I disagree! She was captured, but she transformed him. She didn't become, you know, an object. She didn't turn into a beast! She transformed him. So it was certainly the transformative power of love and what it can do."

The screenwriter also acknowledges the film's lyricist, Howard Ashman, for supporting her vision for Belle. Ashman sadly passed away in 1991 before the original film's release, but Woolverton said that the playwright similarly wanted Belle to represent something greater.

"Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale, but she has an independent, open mind. She loves to read and to explore the outdoors. But even so, every day was a battle of making it happen. Every single line of her dialogue was a battle. My daughter was born the same year that Beauty and the Beastcame out, so I'm always aware how long ago it was. And in some ways it's taken until now for people to realize that Belle was something of a first."
"She was so strong, so independent, and in this day and age she would be for women's rights — she wasn't looking for a prince, she fell in love with a man."

Aside from Beauty and the Beast, Woolverton is also working on Maleficent 2, which she claims will delve deeper into the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora.

[Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]