Having worked hard to parlay her child star status into a high-profile career as a legitimate actress, Emma Watson is revisiting her humble beginnings.

The British actress, who found fame as schoolgirl Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise, has announced that she has been cast as Belle in the live-action adaptation of Disney's classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast.

Announcing the news on Facebook, the 24-year-old star said it was a dream come true and she couldn't wait to get stuck into her new project.

"I'm finally able to tell you...that I will be playing Belle in Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There'".

She added: "My six year-old self is on the ceiling - heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can't wait for you to see it. Emma x"

Watson, who has been in the spotlight since the age of nine, has drifted further from her squeaky-clean image since wrapping up her final Harry Potter film in 2011.

She has appeared in other big screen hits including The Bling Ring, My Week With Marilyn and cult independent movie Perks of Being a Wallflower. She also worked with director Alejandro Amenabar and actor Ethan Hawke on upcoming incest thriller, Regression.

Meanwhile Time Magazine reports that Bill Condon, the man behind The Twilight Saga, has been enlisted to direct Beauty and the Beast, which will be produced by Mandeville Films' David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman.

Production on the film is scheduled to start in 2016.