Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson has joined the cast of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast and will play Mrs Potts, the housekeeper who was transformed into a teapot in the magical 1991 animated version.

Emma ThompsonEmma Thompson will play Mrs Potts in Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast

Dame Angela Lansbury voiced the character in the original movie, which was the first animated movie to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.

Elsewhere, Kevin Kline has signed on to play Maurice, the father of the Beauty character Belle, who will be played by Harry Potter actress Emma Watson. It was previously announced that Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens will play the Beast and that Hobbit actor Luke Evans will play the villainous Gaston.

More: Dan Stevens to play The Beast in Beauty and the Beast

"Little town, it's a quiet village"... tum tee tum tum tum...#Belle #Disney thank you for all your kind words! #ahh!!!" said Watson after Disney announced she would play the lead earlier this year.

"Could not be more happy that this man will be Beast!!! Welcome aboard," she tweeted afterwards, attaching a picture of Stevens.

Josh Gad, who most recently voiced Olaf the snowman in Disney's billion dollar hit Frozen, has been cast as Gaston's sidekick LeFou.

Twilight director Bill Condon, who also helmed Dreamgirls and The Fifth Estate, will direct the movie which begins filming at Shepperton Studios in May. The film will be released in US cinemas on March 17, 2017. 

It's been a profitable period for Disney, who released Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella this past weekend to $132.5 million globally. That follows the success of the Angelina Jolie starrer Maleficent, which took $758.4 million on a budget of just $100 million.

More: "Perfectly marvellous" Cinderella could be a massive hit for Disney