23 November 2010


Emma Watson talks about college and life after ‘Harry Potter’

BY GEORGE LANG Comment on this article 0
Published: November 23, 2010
LONDON — A magical childhood behind her, Emma Watson now fully embraces life as a college student after her years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But the 20-year-old actress, who spent the past decade playing Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” films, said she occasionally misses the rigors of the wizarding world.

Above: Emma Watson arrives for a premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.” Below: Watson stars as Hermione Granger in the movie. AP and Warner Bros Pictures Photos
Emma Watson talks about college and life after ‘Harry Potter’
“I go through periods where it feels fine, easy, and I’m busy at school, and there are days when I feel really lost, because it was just so structured, and I had people telling me where I needed to be, what they wanted me to do,” Watson said during an interview at Claridge’s, a 200-year-old luxury hotel in London’s Mayfair section, where she discussed the latest film in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.”

“My whole life was on a schedule, on a call sheet, every day, and being at university, you decide when you eat, where you go, if you work, if you don’t,” she said. “No one cares, and it’s all down to you.”

Unlike co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, each of whom are setting the stages for post-“Potter” acting careers, Watson is taking a break from film work while studying at Brown University in Providence, R.I. She recently wrapped a brief shoot for an independent film, “My Week With Marilyn,” but said she has no firm cinematic plans.

That could change, if only from the sheer force of the British public’s acclamation. The morning after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” premiered in London, nearly all the city’s newspapers splashed glamorous photos of Watson, with her freshly cropped hair and couture dress, on the front pages. Radcliffe might be beloved and respected for his work as The Boy Who Lived, but on Nov. 11, the Brits practically coronated Watson.

So England’s latest “it girl” could do anything she wants at the moment, and she plans to do just that.

“I want to be a Renaissance woman,” Watson said. “I want to be good at lots of different things. I thrive on variety. I just love doing things that are new.

“It’s really exhausting when people are like, ‘You’re giving up — it sounds like you’re never going to act again.’ No, it’s not like that,” she said. “I just really want to finish my education, and I’m just taking it slow, you know? I’m just not, like, diving into anything: I’m just taking care of feeling out my options and making sure that whatever I do next is going to be the right thing.”

When that right thing comes around, Watson will be amply prepared. The experience of making eight “Harry Potter” films offered her a chance to improve her acting skills with each film, and according to Watson, the lessons began in earnest when Alfonso Cuaron directed 2004’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Cuaron insisted that his young stars write essays about their characters and delve deep into the young wizards they were bringing to life.

“Alfonso wasn’t going to do any of the ‘kiddie directing’ stuff,” Watson said. “He was like, ‘Get up there and do it.’ He didn’t have much patience for ‘Eyes wide, look terrified!’ He wasn’t going to do any of that, so he made us step up, and then Mike Newell ... and then David Yates. It worked like that, I think.”

Watson is being singled out by many critics for her performance in “Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” and she chalks up her performance to the central role Hermione takes in the final book.

“I just had such a bigger role,” she said. “It gave me such a better chance to really develop it and get into it, and I just felt like I had so much more room to give it a bit more. I had some really challenging stuff to do, which gave me a chance to show what I can do, which was lovely as well.

But Watson is generous with loving critiques of Radcliffe and Grint, offering a glimpse of what each will display when “Deathly Hallows, Part 2” hits theaters in July.

“In ‘Part 2,’ there’s a scene where Rupert’s brother dies, and the amazing thing about Rupert is that he’s a very self-contained human being. It’s very rare that you see him get emotional,” she said. “The minute the camera rolls, he just becomes this other thing and he has so much, and I’m like, ‘Where does that come from?’ Anyway, there’s a scene where he cries, and I remember having to remind myself to keep acting, because I just wanted to go, ‘You’re amazing! That was amazing!’ I don’t know where he pulled it from, and I’ve had moments exactly the same with Dan where I’ve just been amazed — I mean, particularly with a lot of the stunt work Dan’s had to do in the last movie. He’s fearless, and he’ll just launch himself off a building, all this stuff, and I’m just gobsmacked that he just gives it everything.”

Having spent half their lives together, the trio now have time to reflect on becoming the film personifications of Hermione, Ron and Harry, including the minor miracle of casting that carried the series through to the end.

“Someone said to me the other day, ‘What if one of you had gotten really fat? Or, like, what if you had just not been good anymore?’ ” Watson said. “Anything could have happened, but we seem to have come through pretty well. We seem fine. So yeah, it does seem unlikely that being cast at age 9, we’d still be right for the roles now, 10 years later.

“I think it’s remarkable,” she said. “A pretty awesome piece of casting.”

Travel and accommodations provided by Warner Bros.

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