For the first time on screen, an Afro-Filipina woman will transform into Belle for ABC's animated and live-action blended special " Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration."
Five-time Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R. will play Belle. The special will include never-before-seen performances celebrating the classic film.
"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."
Chu and Hamilton were previously announced as the executive producer and director.
"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," said Chu. "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 role of the Beast and other characters will be announced at a later date.
The special will be taped in front of a live audience at Disney Studios and will air Thursday, Dec. 15 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. EST, on ABC and on Disney+ the next day.
The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this ABC station.