H.E.R. cast as Belle in ABC’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ special

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R. has landed the role of Belle in ABC’s upcoming “Beauty and the Beast,” set to air in December.

The “Slide” songstress will play the book-loving Disney princess in the special, which will mix live-action and animation.

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The special will be shot at Disney Studios as a two-hour presentation in front of a live studio audience. “In the Heights” and “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu will produce the special, and British powerhouse director Hamish Hamilton — best known for his over-the-top Super Bowl halftime shows — will direct.

“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy. The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle!” said H.E.R. “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.”

H.E.R will be the first Afro-Filipina woman to play the role of Belle on the screen. Over the past few years, Disney has opened its casting to feature more diverse casts. The 2023 “The Little Mermaid Live!” special, for example, featured Halle Bailey as Ariel and Queen Latifah as Ursula.

“With her obvious extraordinary talent and stage presence, H.E.R. is the perfect embodiment of our Belle and we are thrilled for audiences to see her in this celebration of creativity,” Chu told Deadline.

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of “Beauty and the Beast.” The movie was the first animated film to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards. A few other accolades include: winning a Golden Globe Award for best motion picture, and the theme song winning an Academy Award for best original song in 1992.

“The Wonderful World of Disney Presents: Beauty and the Beast” will air on December 15 on ABC and be available on Disney+ the next day.