Emma Watson's singing lessons for 'Beauty and the Beast' have helped her general acting.

The 26-year-old actress plays the role of Belle in Disney's upcoming live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic and for the part she has to show off her vocals on numbers such as the opening tune 'Belle'.

In order to bring out the best in her voice, Watson took singing lessons and has revealed why she's kept having them - even though the film is finished and is set to hit cinemas on March 17.

In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, Watson said: ''I've found it actually really helps my acting, and my speaking voice. It's great for my breathing and a discipline that I really like.''

Watson - shot to fame as Hermione Granger in the 'Harry Potter' film franchise - had to show off her singing voice to director Bill Condon to get the part, but she only agreed to do it if he got her a draft of the script so she could ensure her character Belle was imbued with a sense of ''adventure, wanderlust and heroism'' in keeping with her feminist beliefs.

Speaking about her audition, she recalled: ''I had three hours in a recording studio. It was really raw but Bill was pleased. And Disney was pleased.''

But Watson - who stars in the fantasy film with Dan Stevens and Luke Evans, who play the Beast and Gaston respectively - still found the audition process nerve-wracking as it has been years since she last had to sing.

She shared: ''I hadn't sung since I was about 12. This was something I'd always wanted to do, but I thought, 'is my voice still there?' I just hadn't used it, but it was a very pleasant surprise to find it was still there. I just had to kind of unearth it!''

Watson declared that Belle is ''one of my absolutely favorite Disney characters'' and she was delighted to land the part in the story - which is based on French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's 1740 fairy tale 'La Belle et la Bete'

She said: ''She's book smart, emotional, sweet and romantic. It's not like she's cut off from that part of herself because she has a brain. I think Belle is one of those characters who really turns the feminist, man-hating thing on its head.

''It's not that she doesn't want to get married because she hates men. She doesn't want to get married because she wants to explore the world; and she wants to have adventures; and wants her independence. So she wants to be with someone who will enable and empower her, as opposed diminish her. She wants it on her own terms.''