Oh, isn’t this amazing! H.E.R will be playing Disney princess Belle in ABC’s Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration special, the network announced on Wednesday (July 20).
“I can’t believe I get to be part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy. The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle!” the five-time Grammy winner enthused 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.”
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“With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, H.E.R. is the perfect embodiment of our Belle, and we are thrilled for our audiences to see her in this celebration of creativity,” Chu, who is executive producing, said in a statement. “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 new generation of creators.”
The rest of the cast will be announced later.
The celebratory production — directed by Hamilton — will a blend of animated and live-action, featuring musical performances that ABC says will pay homage to the beloved film. The special is set to be taped before a live studio audience, and airs Thursday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. ET; it will be available on Disney+ the next day.
The original Disney film was released in November 1991, and went on to win two Oscars: best music original song, and best music, original score. ABC’s special marks the beloved animated movie’s 30th anniversary wins of the two Academy Award wins, but also its nomination for best picture, the first time an animated film received a nod in the category.