H.E.R. is going into a tale as old as time. The five-time Grammy winner will star as Belle in the previously announced Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, according to Variety. Wicked film director Jon M. Chu will executive produce with Hamish Hamilton directing.
The two-hour hybrid animated and live-action special will air on December 15 at 8PM ET and be available the next day on Disney+. Songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman from the original animated movie will be performed in front of a live audience at Disney Studios. Alongside a screening of the film, it will include live never-before-seen musical performances and features brand-new sets and costumes inspired by the story.
“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the Beauty and the Beast legacy,” said H.E.R. in a statement. “The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle! 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. won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah and five Grammy Awards, including a win for the 2020 Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe.” She will make her feature acting debut in the upcoming The Color Purple film as Squeak.
The Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast ran from 1994 through 2007 and garnered nine Tony nominations, including a nod for Best Musical and a win for Best Costume Design. A live-action film adaptation was released in 2017 and a prequel series, starring Josh Gad and Luke Evans, was in the works before being put on hold.