HER to star as Belle in 30th anniversary special E! News UK

HER will headline ABC’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration special.

Network executives announced Wednesday that R&B singer, real name Gabriella Wilson, will take on the lead role of Belle in the production.

Jon M. Chu will serve as the special’s executive producer, with Hamish Hamilton set to direct. The casting of HER marks the first time a woman of Filipino and African American descent will play the role of Belle on screen.

“I can’t believe I could be part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy. The world will see a beautiful black and Filipino girl!” exclaimed the young man of 25 years. “I’ve always wanted to be a Disney Princess, and I work with two wonderful directors, Hamish Hamilton and my favorite, Jon M. Chu. It’s very surreal and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

The two-hour reimagining of the classic story will be recorded in front of a live audience and will air on December 15.

Additional cast members will be announced at a later date.

“With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, HER is the perfect embodiment of our Belle and we are thrilled for the audience to see her in this celebration of creativity,” Chu added. “We were both influenced as storytellers by the original animated film, so it’s very exciting to collaborate together to honor the artistry of this timeless classic while inspiring a whole new generation of creators.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of when Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. The film went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, while the theme song won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1992.

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