- Belle’s initial look in “Beauty and the Beast” was deemed so glamorous she couldn’t relate.
- In “Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara”, voice actor Page O’Hara compared the early concept art to that of Angelina Jolie.
- Belle was described as looking “a little too perfect”. The animators changed her appearance accordingly.
Belle’s early concept art from Disney’s Oscar-winning “Beauty and the Beast” was originally thought to be pretty.
According to a new book titled “Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara,” the Disney princess’s look was adjusted early in conception to make her less “glamorous” and more relatable.
“The original concept art for Belle showed her as a glamorous woman, but animators quickly adapted the character’s look to ensure audiences could connect with her,” reads the book, which is out now.
“She looked like Angelina Jolie — gorgeous,” Page O’Hara, who voiced Belle, said in a book looking at the history of every Disney princess and her influence on pop culture.
A team of animators including James Baxter and Mark Hein designed Belle. In the book, Baxter says he tried to give Belle a “more European look” than Princess Ariel from 1989’s “The Little Mermaid”, with “fuller lips, slightly darker brows, and slightly smaller eyes”.
Early sketches of Belle by Alison Hamilton show the character in a pink gown tied up with soft makeup and curly hair.
O’Hara said of Belle’s original concept, “I didn’t see how anyone would identify with that person.” “You’d look at her and put her on a pedestal. Mark and James changed her look. She was a little too perfect.”
O’Hara said, “I knew it was going to change the perspective of the Disney Princesses. Belle was the first person who wasn’t looking for a man. She wanted to see the world and all the places she was about.” She used to read in books.
Disney animators developed Belle’s look to ensure she was someone viewers could connect with while watching the film.
According to the book, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood all inspired Belle’s look in the 1991 film.
O’Hara also influenced Bayley’s final look.