The Harry Potter star plays Belle and in the film the character is taking captive by a prince who has been turned into a beast. The 26-year-old is a strong feminist and she explains she didn't want her character to be portrayed as a victim.

"It's something I really grappled with at the beginning: the Stockholm-syndrome question. That's where a prisoner will take on the characteristics of and fall in love with the captor," she tells Entertainment Weekly. "She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm syndrome because she keeps her independence; she keeps that freedom of thought. I also think there is a very intentional switch where, in my mind, Belle decides to stay."

"She's giving him hell," she adds. "There is no sense of, 'I need to kill this guy with kindness.' Or any sense that she deserves this. In fact, she gives as good as she gets. He bangs on the door, she bangs back. There's this defiance that, 'You think I'm going to come and eat dinner with you and I'm your prisoner - absolutely not'."

Another aspect of the script that appealed to Emma was how Belle and Beast's love story was presented.

"The other beautiful thing about the love story is that they form a friendship first," she says. "There is this genuine sharing, and the love builds out of that, which in many ways is more meaningful than a lot of love stories, where it was love at first sight. They are having no illusions about who the other one is. They have seen the worst of one another, and they also bring out the best."