‘Beauty and the Beast’: Belle Is Based on This Popular Literary Character

Belle from Beauty and the Beast is considered one of the most revolutionary Disney Princesses. Her character stands out from the rest because she cares more about reading and education than getting married to a prince. She is also well known for her individuality, considering how she refuses to go with the flow just because it’s what society expects of her.

And apparently, she is based on this iconic literary character. Any guesses who Belle is based on?

Emma Watson at the 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere
Emma Watson at the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ premiere | Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Who is the voice of Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

We all know how excellent Emma Watson is as Belle in the 2017 live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. But who voices the character in the animated 1991 version?

None other than Pagie O’Hara voices Belle. O’Hara is a famous voice actor who got her start on Broadway. And according to O’Hara, she has never played a character as similar to her own personality as Belle. This is why she was practically destined for the role.

Actress Paige O'Hara arrives at the 'Beauty and the Beast' Sing-A-Long DVD premiere in 2010
Actress Paige O’Hara arrives at the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Sing-A-Long DVD premiere in 2010 | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

In an interview with Cosplay and Coffee, the voice actor discussed her similarities to Belle.

“In my career, Belle is the only role I’ve ever played that was so much like me that it was almost frightening,” she laughed. “When they were directing me in the film, they were saying, ‘I want more Paige to come through, I want more Paige to come through!’ And you know normally, as an actress and as a Broadway actress, you hide behind the characters. But there’s something very vulnerable that—when you have to let yourself come through—who you really are- It was also something that was—very challenging—but also very rewarding. So pretty much every character trait about Belle is like me, to be honest.”

Who is Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ based on?

RELATED: ‘Beauty and the Beast’: How Much Has Belle Changed in the Live Action Remake?

Interestingly enough, according to Cosmopolitan, Belle is heavily based on Jo March from
the novel Little Women. More specifically, she is based on Katharine Hepburn’s portrayal of the character in the 1933 film version of the story by Louisa May Alcott.

Similar to Belle, Jo March is a bookish heroine who refuses to adhere to social norms. She also doesn’t care about living a conventional lifestyle, just like the Disney princess.

Who is Belle’s physical appearance based on?

Several iconic celebrities inspired Belle’s appearance. According to The Independent, Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz inspired her looks. Yet apparently, animators also drew inspiration from Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, and Grace Kelly.

And although her character is known for being a “beauty,” the animators insisted that a strand of her hair constantly fall in front of her face. This is done to prove that she’s not perfect.

Whatsmore, her character is the only one in the film who wears blue. This is to show her standing out from the rest of the crowd.

That is until she meets the beast, who also wears blue throughout the film. A match-made in Disney heaven.