Actress Emma Watson, best known for portraying Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" film franchise, was previously announced to star as Belle. Thompson ("Sense and Sensibility," "Love Actually") may inhabit the motherly teapot Mrs. Potts, voiced in the original animated feature by Angela Lansbury. The character performs the musical's Academy Award-winning title song.
Bill Condon, who directed the film adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls and penned the screenplay for the film adaptation of Chicago, will direct the film. Production is slated to begin later this year.
The live-action film will feature a script by Stephen Chbosky.
Mandeville Films will produce the new "Beauty and the Beast." Disney is also developing a live-action version of "The Jungle Book," directed by Jon Favreau, and "Cinderella," directed by Kenneth Branagh (and set to release in March).
The 1991 animated film of "Beauty and the Beast" won Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Song and Best Music, Original Score. The 1994 Broadway stage adaptation was nominated for nine Tony Awards, winning for Costume Design (Ann Hould-Ward). Beauty and the Beast features music by Alan Menken, with lyrics by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.