‘Beauty and the Beast’ star Emma Watson addresses ‘frustrating’ rumors about ‘La La Land’

Beauty and the Beast” leading lady Emma Watson laid to rest the rumor that she dropped out of “La La Land” at the last minute, leaving director Damien Chazelle scrambling to find a replacement. Yes, she had been part of the initial planning for the picture but she exited long before pre-production began. As she explained in a recent interview on SiriusXM, her obligations to “Beauty and the Beast” meant that “scheduling-conflict-wise it didn’t work out.”

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This meant that Emma Stone got the part of a struggling actress who finds and loses love in Los Angeles. While Stone went on to win the Best Actress Oscar, the never-nominated Watson has no regrets. “I thought the film was wonderful, and it’s lovely.”

Indeed, the actress says she is “thrilled that musicals are so celebrated at the moment.” That bodes well for “Beauty and the Beast,” a live-action telling of “a tale as old as time” that is due out March 17. Watson detailed her commitment to the role of Belle, a forthright young woman who finds her handsome prince in the form of a beast. “This wasn’t a movie I could just sort of step into. I knew I had horse training, I knew I had dancing, I knew I had three months of singing ahead of me.”

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And, as the English actress explains, “I knew I had to be in London to really do that.” That meant that she would be eight time zones away from Los Angeles, where Chazelle was making “La La Land.” Her only regret about her decision to bow out is all the flak she has received as of late from those who don’t understand that this is all part of the moviemaking process. “It’s one of those frustrating things when names get attached to a project very early on as a way to kind of build anticipation or excitement before anything’s really agreed or set in stone.”

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