As the 25th anniversary of the release of Disnesy animated classic "Beauty and the Beast" approaches, the movie's cast and crew have been reflecting on the iconic film. But according to the original Belle, the upcoming live-action remake will be quite special, too -- and she's got lots of wonderful things to say about the actress taking over her role.

In an interview with USA Today, Paige O'Hara chatted about both films, and saved plenty of praise for Emma Watson, who will play Belle in the new version.

"I think that if I were producing that movie, Emma Watson would've been my first choice for Belle," O'Hara told USA Today. "I was just really happy they went with Emma. She's got the intelligence, she's got the humor. I think she's going to be really, really special."

That echoes similar comments made by composer Alan Menken -- the original "Beauty and the Beast" composer who's also working on the remake -- who gave his stamp of approval to Watson in a recent interview. And while some Disney fans have wondered why the studio would mess with the perfection of the original, O'Hara doesn't see the remake that way, telling USA Today that she views the upcoming film as "passing on the torch."

" ... [T]here's always going to be room in history for both of these versions," the actress added.

The live-action "Beauty and the Beast" hits theaters on March 17, 2017.

[via: USA Today]