Emma Watson hates karaoke. It's not that singing in front of a crowd of friends and strangers makes her nervous; she quashed that fear while working on Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. But when it comes to karaoke, the 26-year-old actor and activist is too much of a perfectionist to have any real fun doing it.
"I can't not take it seriously," Watson told MTV's Josh Horowitz at the New York City premiere of Beauty and the Beast. "I don't know how to do it for fun."
It's that same tenacity and earnestness that led Watson to star in Beauty and the Beast as one of Disney's most iconic princesses, Belle. Despite her early reservations about singing in front of a camera — she hadn't sung since she was 12 — she sent director Bill Condon a tape of her singing voice anyway.
"It was something that I had always wanted to do and I loved to do as a child," she recalled. "Whether or not I could pull off being in one of the biggest musicals of all time, I wasn't sure in the beginning. I was pretty nervous."
But a big part of the reason she wanted to play Belle in the first place, aside from giving her favorite childhood heroine a modern feminist agenda, was to challenge herself. "Being around so many talented performers and working with [composer] Alan [Menken], it just raises the bar," she said. "And you have to find a way to get there."
Watson trained with a vocal coach for three months before stepping into the recording booth, and even then, Watson was a little too nervous to sing in front of the film's Oscar-winning composer. Honestly, could you blame her?
"I worked with her in the studio to a degree," Menken said. "She was nervous. She was a little cowed with the idea of singing in front of the composer, so I hung back because as you can tell, I'm a very intimidating presence. But it was important that I step back. She grew up on my music. I just wanted to give her the space she needed to feel comfortable singing, and she got there."
She certainly did.
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17.