Emma Watson relates to Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast' because she ''breaks the mould''.

The 26-year-old actress has been cast alongside Dan Stevens in the new live-action movie, and Emma has explained why she feels so strongly connected to her on-screen character.

She said: ''I think she was meant to be a departure from the Disney princesses that had come before her. She's actually loosely based on Katherine Hepburn, she was written by a woman called Linda Woolverton. She was meant to break the mould so I felt very connected to her.

''Actually, Belle isn't a princess. She's the only Disney princess who actually isn't a princess.''

Emma observed that Belle refuses to comply with expectations, particularly when she spurns the advances of Gaston and instead finds love with the Beast.

She said, according to the Metro newspaper: ''She's trying to move beyond the expectations that people have for her. I think everyone thinks that marrying Gaston would be the most wonderful happy ending possible, and she wants more for herself.

''She's going against the grain and against the status quo and that's not easy to do.''

And Emma said that Belle's sense of isolation is, in part, what draws her towards the Beast - even though they appear to share little in common.

The British actress explained: ''There's a kind of isolation and loneliness there that I think is what Belle and Beast when they meet - there's a parallel world in which Beast is incredibly isolated and stuck in this castle, and you can see that even though they have completely different backgrounds they both feel like they don't fit in some way. And I think that's one of the reasons why they fall in love.''