The Beauty and the Beast 30th Anniversary Special has officially found their Belle. Grammy award-winning artist H.E.R. will play the main character in the special, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1991 animated movie’s historic Oscar nomination for best picture –the first animated movie to earn such recognition. The film won two Academy Awards for its original title song and score.
“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy. The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle!” H.E.R. said in a statement. “I have always wanted to be a Disney princess, and I get to work with two wonderful directors Hamish Hamilton and my favorite, Jon M. Chu. It is very surreal, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Jon M. Chu (In the Heights) is executive producing the special, which Hamish Hamilton will direct.
“With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, H.E.R. is the perfect embodiment of our Belle, and we are thrilled for audiences to see her in this celebration of creativity,” said Chu. “We were both influenced as storytellers by the original animated movie, so it’s very exciting to collaborate together to honor the artistry of that timeless classic while also inspiring a whole generation of creators.”
The Beauty and the Beast special will feature a mixture of live-action and animation and new musical performances, sets, and costumes inspired by the film. It will also pay homage to the movie while adding its own twist to the story. The special will be taped in front of a live audience and will air on December 15.
H.E.R. has won a total of four Grammy Awards, including the best R&B album in 2019 for her self-titled release and song of the year in 2021 for “I Can’t Breathe.” She will make her feature film debut next year in The Color Purple, based on the musical adaptation of the Alice Walker novel.