Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle in Disney's 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast, has revealed that the princess's fashion choices were at first more Hollywood.
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle brightens up her hometown.
Paige O'Hara, who provided the voice of animated Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, has revealed that the princess's appearance was drastically altered before being finalised.
The animated musical masterpiece was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise and released in 1991, during Disney's Renaissance period.
The lush and romantic Beauty and the Beast won over audiences of all ages, earning $440 million worldwide.
The story of a young woman named Belle who yearns for adventure but must give up her freedom to save her eccentric father and who develops an unlikely friendship with her jailer, the Beast, was the inspiration for the film, which was based on a 1756 fairy tale by French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.
The 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast was a critical and commercial success for Disney, and the company capitalised on the film's enduring popularity with a live-action remake starring Emma Watson in 2017.
Earning over $1.2 billion at the box office, Watson's retelling of the classic character brought the princess into the modern world.
The original Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, has had a greater and more enduring impact than any other film.
Audiences adored the likeable, relatable Belle, but she almost had a very different appearance.
A related concept is an idea that both "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid" take place simultaneously in history.
The original voice of Belle, Paige O'Hara, is reportedly featured in the new Emily Zemler book Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara.
O'Hara claims in the book that the original concept art for Belle resembled Hollywood It Girl Angelina Jolie in terms of glitz and glamour.
Here is what she says about it:
Beautiful, in a way reminiscent of Angelina Jolie.
I couldn't fathom how anyone could relate to such a character.
You would admire her so much that you would put her up on a pedestal.
Her appearance was altered by the animators.
A touch of perfection would have been nice, but she was too good.
Although Jolie had not yet been a household name at the time of the 1991 premiere of Beauty and the Beast, O'Hara's comparison to her shows the enticing appearance animators were originally looking for when they envisioned Belle.
O'Hara is correct in saying that spectators wouldn't have been able to relate to a more glossy take on the heroic princess.
Belle has the same kind of beauty as her other Disney princesses, but it's meant to be more every day because she plays a small-town heartthrob at the beginning of the film.
Though the villagers in the opening song "Belle" gush over her beauty, Belle has trouble making friends and family members because of her odd behaviour, high IQ, and love of literature.
Because of this difference, it is essential that Belle be lovely, but in a more low-key, daily way than the sophisticated, glam style that O'Hara depicts.
Considering the film's impact on Disney's animation canon, it's safe to say the animators made the proper choice in updating Belle's appearance.
What makes Belle and the other Disney princesses so wonderful, as O'Hara points out, is not that they are perfect, but rather that viewers can find aspects of themselves in them.
It was Belle's compassion and yearning for a more fulfilled life that connected with fans at the time Beauty and the Beast were released, earning the film four Oscar nominations and a win for its stirring soundtrack.
It's a relief that the animators went with their guts on Beauty and the Beast, which has become the norm for the mass appeal of recent Disney productions with its more mature take on a children's fairy tale.