Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
Playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter Series
Currently Known For:
Beauty and the Beast, The Circle
2001 - Present
When you land the role of a lifetime as a 10 year old, it can be hard to adjust to adult life. Thankfully, Emma Watson is one of those success stories about a young actress that’s been able to handle the limelight and has used her influence to help people around the world while continuing her career as an actress.
Watson was born on April 15, 1990 to her parents Jacqueline and Chris who were both lawyers from England, though Watson herself was born in Paris. When Watson’s parents separated while they she was just a few years old, all three of them moved back to England along with Watson’s brother where she developed an interest in wanting to be an actress.
Watson was on stage several times before she was even 10 years old, and was a model student that had huge aspirations. When she was nine years old, the role of a lifetime came calling, and Watson would answer that call.
Back at her school in Oxford, Watson’s teacher had suggested to producers that she receive the role of Hermione Granger in the film adaptations of the “Harry Potter” series. It was a parade of auditions that took place, and Watson landed the role thanks to the suggestion of the book’s author, J.K. Rowling. The first of the auditions came in Watson’s school gym, and she said “it was exactly like a drama lesson…and it was just fun.” In 2001, Watson finally made her film debut in the first “Harry Potter” movie that became one of the biggest movie openings of all-time.
Watson would reprise the role of Hermione for all of the films, with the final (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II”) being released in 2011. During her time playing the character, Watson also appeared in the television film “Ballet Shoes” and lent her voice to the animated film “The Tale of Despereaux”.
Spending much of her youth playing one character was a heavy task for Watson, who said that she “spent more than half of my life pretending to be someone else. While my contemporaries were dying their hair and figuring out who they were, I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her…for the first time in my life, I feel like I have a sense of self that I’m comfortable with. I actually do have things that I want to say and I want to be my most authentic self.”
With the “Harry Potter” series out of the way, Watson decided that she wanted to get back into her education, and chose Brown University in Rhode Island. Watson would spend a year and a half there before attending Oxford for a year, then taking some time off so that she could film more movies. Watson would eventually get back into Brown, and after five years of being a student, received her degree in English literature.
Of the three main actors in the “Harry Potter” series, Watson has had the most notable post-Potter career in terms of film acting. She’s starred in movies such as “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “The Bling Ring”, while also making a cameo in the comedy “This Is the End”. After 2013, however, Watson stepped away from leading in blockbuster roles, but would return in 2017 with a pair of big budget movies in the form of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Circle” with Tom Hanks.
Watson has used her status to do philanthropic work, working with the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador that has promoted education for young girls in developing countries. She said that “part of me relaxed after I took on that position, it gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. Everything clicked into place, in a way that it hadn’t before. I understood what I’m here to do and knew where to channel all this energy that has been coming at me. I now feel this sense of peace. People say that I’m different since I did it.”
Currently, Watson has no projects that are in the works, and she hasn’t starred in a film since 2017’s “The Circle”. In the meantime, Watson has focused a lot of her energy in photography and modeling, saying that “Fashion is something I love.” It’s a bit different from acting, because as Watson puts it, “you’re being asked by the photographer to take on a role like you would in a movie – and being a fancier version of yourself…but also trying to explain to photographers that the ‘me’ is often taken out of context because it has all of this other stuff attached to it. The fact that I was a child star is difficult for most people to understand, and it can be really conflicting for me.”
Watson has never had a problem with taking breaks from acting, and is waiting to pick out the next role that’s right for her career. At just 28 years old, Watson has plenty of time to think about what’s in her future, and says that when she has periods without acting it’s to focus on personal development, meaning it could be just a few months or even a few years before we see another Watson movie.