July 07, 2011

New interview of Emma Watson for the Evening Standard

For all the fun she's had on the Hogwarts set, her estimated £24 million fortune, her youth, beauty and modelling contracts, it's hard to envy Emma Watson right now.

In the middle of a frenzy of publicists, stylists, journalists and stray fans at Claridge's hotel, the actress better known as Harry Potter's friend Hermione Grainger is jet-lagged and exhausted, vulnerable, pulled in all directions.

"The scale of the junket for this kind of movie is like, whoah," she says as she catches her breath after being gang-interviewed by foreign press.

Thank God, she doesn't quite say, I won't have to do this ever again.

The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 marks the end of the line for the most successful franchise in movie history. This is the one where Harry has it out with Voldemort and Hermione finally kisses Ron. However, there has also been a secret narrative running through the Harry Potter movies that is just becoming interesting. As her once-cute co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint endured the ungainly mutations of puberty, the once-gawky Watson has become lovelier with each film. You could admit that legally from The Order of the Phoenix onwards.

Now, while Grint advertises milk on the sides of London buses, Watson has been chosen to represent Burberry and Lancôme and graces the cover of American Vogue. Today, she wears a sequined Valentino dress, which she has the habit of scrunching up, then primly smoothing down, when nervous. Her dangling diamond earrings emphasise the pixie haircut she had once the "Hermione hairdressing" clause expired last year. She has a face that would inspire great acts of gallantry.

Poised, clipped, a little melancholy, she describes herself as "pretty emotional" to have reached the end. "It's been 12 years of my life. I think change for anyone is scary. But at the same time, it's exciting for me to watch the last film and think, 'Wow, I've really learned something'."

And what has she learned, at the eye of the £9.3 billion Potter industry? Kissing scenes are awkward, for one. "Having to kiss someone who feels like your brother, it's not ever going to be fun, is it?" she says, a line I suspect she has used before. "We were giggling like schoolchildren. But we were really happy with how it came out. It felt very Hermione and Ron."

Most of all, though, you have to "fight for your life", as former child actor Jodie Foster once put it. "You definitely have to find your voice. You have to say when enough is enough. My mum's always said that I've got grit and that's really helped."

Watson's parents, Jacqueline and Chris, both lawyers, divorced when she was five - she grew up in Oxford with her mother, stepfather, younger brother Alex (now a model) and two stepbrothers.

As the oldest sibling in a complicated family where children were treated as small adults, she learned to be headstrong early.

The film crew too became a surrogate family, from paternalistic producer David Heyman to the women in the make-up department where she fooled around between takes. She counts herself lucky to have made the films in a warehouse in Watford, not amid the madness of Hollywood, and to have had Grint and Radcliffe to share the experience. "Very often there'll be a child doing a movie on their own and they don't have any support."

Everyone involved in the film stresses the measures taken to normalise the situation, ease the pressure, keep them "in the bubble", as she puts it. Still, when I ask whether she would let her own child enter the bubble, the sure tone falters. "Oh, don't ask me that question!" She lowers her eyes, before deciding "no", in a small voice. "I probably wouldn't. If she really, really wanted to do it, then I would just make sure I was with her. I would make sure that she had the supportive family around her that I did."

She seems level-headed enough to deal with the wealth - her biggest extravagance is plane tickets, she says (she recently flew to Masai Mara in Kenya and was relieved that the Masai warriors did not recognise her). Being constantly pestered by kids with camera phones is annoying but liveable, she maintains. But there is something existentially weird about seeing her own image everywhere, on billboards, pencil cases, Lego sets. "I have to bear in mind that it's not me, it's my character. It looks like me; but it's not me. It's Hermione." She repeats it softly, like a spell. "It's Hermione, Hermione, Hermione."

At least she has the opportunity to lie low as Emma Watson in the near future. Having studied for two years at Brown, the Rhode Island Ivy League university, she is starting at Oxford in October.

(Rumours of bullying are far wide of the mark, she stresses; US students often spend their third years abroad). She is playing hard to get with casting directors and there will be no acting after she completes the US indie film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, her first post-Potter role.

"I will be focusing solely on my studies. People were very respectful at Brown of my privacy - and I just hope that will be the same at home." She hopes to live in college and may even do student drama, "if it feels right".

Of the leading trio, it was only Watson who insisted on going to university - and an earnest yearning for adult insights communicates itself clearly now. She was recently blown away by Patti Smith's autobiography; the grim romantic film Blue Valentine left her feeling "physically ill for like three hours afterwards"; when I ask what acting roles she aspires to in future, she says: "I want to work with directors whom I feel I can keep learning from."

But she becomes most engaged when the conversation turns to painting, which she appears pretty good at. "My biggest difficulty is shutting my head up, there's just constant chatter. And [painting] is the one thing that I do where I can just stop thinking and get completely lost in, like, placing that piece of magazine in one of my collages. More and more I'm finding that when everything feels so enormous, when you feel really out of control, having something that you can control, that's small, is really satisfying. It's the little things that keep you sane."

An interviewer from Vogue reported seeing a self-portrait on the wall of her home: it showed her holding a camera, pointing it out to the viewer like a gun. She has decided not to share the sanity collages, however. "The really great actresses are the ones who retain a certain amount of mystique: Meryl Streep - you've got very little idea of what's going on in her life." To the point, when I ask if she is still single, she wriggles, laughs and declines to comment.

As for her status as a style icon, she has no further ambitions to design fashion (she helped create a collection for ethical label People Tree last year) but may continue to model. The Burberry shoot was liberating because "it let people see me as something other than Hermione".

She sees modelling as an extension of acting, in fact - just playing a role - but is conflicted about its demands. "I think the pressure the media and the fashion industry put on women to look a certain way is pretty intense. There's a certain tyranny to trying to achieve that kind of beauty. I don't know, I'm maybe not the best person to speak about this because I obviously completely adhere to it," she laughs nervously. "It's always scary to answer these questions when I'm still trying to figure out how I think about things. So please don't… I don't know…" and the sure turn falters and you remember she's still only 21.

She tells me she has not fully put childish things away either, keeping her wand, time-turner and cloak from the Harry Potter set, though she wishes she could have retained the invisibility cloak.

"That would be super-useful at times."

However, the most valuable souvenir will be her bond with Grint and Radcliffe, who have faced this strange journey with her.

"When all of this dies down, maybe in a year or two, that's probably when we'll need each other the most. We'll be like, 'Am I sane? Did I really remember this right? Did this really happen? Did we really feel this way?' The world will remember it in a different way from how we remembered it. I think we'll need each other to make it all make sense."
Source: ThisisLondon

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even if I do believe life as a child actor isn't as pink and nice as it sound, I find it a little sad to know she's found the experience difficult enough to struggle and be sad about some things that happened to her. But yeah, she's young and she's probably hhad too much attention for that age. even if she doesn't have any other roles, I ope she'll continue acting after her third year at Oxford.

Anonymous said...

AND it's pretty cool, she'll be able to go to uni by foot of by a 10 minutes car ride, since Oxford is a university city and she lives there.

Anonymous said...

"when I ask if she is still single, she wriggles, laughs and declines to comment."

Hello Johnny!

Anonymous said...

so is she now with johnny? i mean her reps slammed the rumors, this would be a pr fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Celeb reps deny just about everything. You cannot go by what paid pr people say.

Angie said...

J'aimerais bien voir ses peintures et ses collages, mais on peut toujours rêver.
Oh, Blue Valentine... Ce film était tellement triste. Michelle était géniale là dedans (et ryan gosling aussi,of course), j'ai hâte de voir my week with marylin.

Anonymous said...

this bit about being single doesnt say anything. in this context i take it more as a playful banter because before it she said she wants to be more mysterious.
like "i wanna be mysterious" "oh i see...next question: whats your favourite color" "no comment lol" "lol".

i think they are dating or have been dating/humping, only this sentence doesnt say it.

But are there no more questions for that? she always gets asked these questions and i see it only in this interview.
hopefully someone at the premiere will be as cool as the guy last year with george and ask her directly about johnny. i want to know.

Anonymous said...

In April she was saying she was single and guys did not persue her. Emma met Simmons in May filming Perks.
In July, she wriggles, giggles and refuses to talk about being single.

She is never going to talk openly about who she is dating.

Anonymous said...

She has the right to hide her private life, Personnally i'm only interested in her studies and professionnal projects.

Anonymous said...

Anon above, studies = private life too ;)

Anonymous said...

this is ONE interview, we havent herad about any other interviews asking the boyfriend question. lets wait and see.

Echee said...

"To the point, when I ask if she is still single, she wriggles, laughs and declines to comment"

What a liar. She could have said no like she said, "We're just friends" and her reps denied those claims. She hooked up with him after only two weeks and after complaining about this fame wall and saying she would never date someone in the business. she's a liar and plays on your sympathy for her fake dating woes.

Just saying

Eden said...

She's a liar by not answering a question? Make some sense in your make up stories at least please.

Dating after 2 weeks is being a whore? Some people never dated apparently. Avoid talking about stuff you know nothing about, and I say that for your own good. (And also because I'm tired of your non-sense sentences because, because of them, it's easy for some people to insult you and I'm tired of the "give him some peace please, thank you").

Anonymous said...

im sure we will get more of those questions and then we will see what she says.

imho this answer is the best she can give. no denying, no confirming.

i never understood why her reps (!) denied the rumour, with george it was her with the friends line.

we will see. though i dont think it can last when she returns to england. he doesnt come across pretty smart (george wasnt the brightest too though), im sure you cant have a long distance relationship with someone like him, what do they wanna talk about? art, science? or line dancing? lol

Anonymous said...

Johnny Simmons actually seems like a nice guy. He is very cool to fans. He would walk up and start talking to fans on the Perks set.

He's also way better average as an actor. Watch "The Greatest" sometime. Depressing film - but he's very good in it.

Skype can take away some of the distance. Plus she does not start school until sometime in October. Johnny does not have a 9-5 job and could spend some time in the UK.

She's 21 with 2 years of college left. I highly doubt she will be getting serious with anyone. But if she meets a nice guy - nothing wrong with a summer/fall romance.

If they are dating - bet they go on holiday together and bet we never hear a peep about it.

Echee said...

I love how her fans embrace her secret men and then bash him when they split. they were all over george for instance and once they warmed up to Jay he was the best thing ever. emma does not have to put her dating life in the terms she puts it because obvisiously she is lying about it. she wants sympathy and needs approval from people so she plays the poor victim role. Its disgusting.

Eden said...

Not as disgusting as your jealousy.

Echee said...

you really think emma has dating issues? please. at beast she goes guy crazy and at least she just likes to have fun. anyone who has dated or been in relationships and understands she is not the only famous actor with millions of dollars understands her issues is not a fame wall but too many options with many fish in teh sea. Like i said, she does not have to spin her dating life the way she does. its private to her but she always makes herself out like a victim. She so perfect and great but men are turned off by this? Think about that eden.

Eden said...

I never said anything about Emma saying she has dating issues anywhere. I don't think anything about this because I couldn't care less. The only thing I want to know is her future professional projects and university plan. I'm not as obsessed with Emma as you (and lots of others) are Echee. So I don't think she's an angel, I don't think she's the devil, and if she wants to lie, great! for what I care. I lie all the time, that doesn't mean I'm a bad person. I have friends, I respect people (something that not lots of people here know anything about) and I'd love it if people could care just as much as I do about all this (which is not).

You never answer when we ask you why you are that obsessed with proving she is bad and why you spend to much time on a person that you hate that much but I'll ask again. Can you answer all the questions above?

Anonymous said...

To Echee - I was one of the fans Johnny Simmons took the time to walk up and talk to on the perks set and I posted about him above.

I know nothing about the other guys you mentioned. So if I am "embracing Emma's secret man" it's because of how nice he was to me and my friends on Perks and I'm am actually fan of his.

I am more of a fan of his than Emma's and came across this site looking for info on her. I did not realize people hate someone they have never met so much. Weird.

Anonymous said...

How about praising people they never met before? Celebrities put there best face on to make money and they are vain. something eden and emma's followers dont realize. eden admits she lies and shes a diehard fan. I think echee has a right to having a blog and so does eden but she praises someone who is fake. And omg johnny simmons talked to you. People talk to me all the time. Its called having a conversation. No pun intended to eden or anyone else.

amethyst echo said...

Sorry, but I don't recall anyone ever warming up to this Jay character.

Anonymous said...

well we never heard anything negative about jay. only that some lonely people felt the need to say they think he is too ugly for emma.
george was more embraced because he was better looking in their eyes. but a famewhore.

Eden said...

Praising someone makes no harm in the contrary of hating. Even though both reactions are annoying to me.
And how come people think I'm a diehard fan? I barely say anything about her. All I say is that I sometimes understand how she feels, that's not being a diehard fan but being empathic. I also said that I understand how some people who hate Emma feels, so am I diehard fan of some of Emma's haters too XD
And I'm not that naive, it's obvious that celebrities put their best face on, their image is their job.
And I also think Echee has the right to have his blog, I never said I don't. I'm just wondering why spreading so much hate againt someone who doesn't deserve it. I just think it's unhealthy. My blog is not praising her, it just gives infos about her, I'm not telling people how to think, they make their own opinion, but I don't admit people like Echee who are forcing their opinion on people. Opinions are meant to be shared, not imposed.

amethyst echo said...

"well we never heard anything negative about jay. only that some lonely people felt the need to say they think he is too ugly for emma."

And that he was too old for her. So, tell me, what did you hear that was positive?

Anonymous said...

I made a comment above, and someone answered to me that University was her private life. I'm not interestedin seeing her at uni. I juste like to explore her interests so her student life doesn't interest me but what courses and programs she's in interest me (not that I want to do the same program cause I wont, but intellectually it's interesting.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she is really going back in the fall. i can picture her making a statement saying she's not going back. There is no point to it because university is for people who dont have a career or her bank account. She's just going to overwork herself and end up doing stuff like she did at Brown.

Eden said...

Yeah, I can picture that too. But we'll see. The university new year didn't begin yet so I'm not going to speculate on that :)

Anonymous said...

@ Anon commenting about the school studies.

The classes she takes at uni are still a part of her private life. It's OK that it interests you on whatever level.

Wanting to know what type of guy Emma is attracted to might interest others. Not so they can track the guy down and date him to (just like taking the same classes she does).

You are no different that they are. Don't condemn other people for being interested in other parts of her private life that may not interest you.

Just don't read that info and focus on what you want too.

lost said...

I think she'll head back to uni this fall. I also would not be shocked if some of her roomies from Brown joined her at a school in the UK.

She said a lot students @ Brown do a year abroad.

Just guessing.

Anonymous said...

eden your most recent post of all those photos of emma is not a die hard fans doing? Be honest with us. You are diehard like some others and there is nothing wrong with that because that's how you feel. Why not do a blog on potter and not focus on emma then? At times you take negative things said about emma personally. This is your blog and you have a right to say whatever but be true about it.

Eden said...

I've been obsessed with Emma but that was like 4/5 years ago. People change in 4/5 years. And people who come here are expecting me to post all what you find here, that's the only reason why I post them and why I continue this blog. If I had only listened to myself, this blog would have been shut down since a while already. I'm a perfectionist, so if even just a couple of people tell me they consider this blog as a reference, then I'll do anything I can to not disappoint them. If I was a diehard fan, I wouldn't accept any negative comment about her. I defend Emma when I think some people are going too far in their comments, but when they go to far about a commenter I defend them too. And I'm not a diehard fan of each single person posting here, even though I appreciate very much to have nice conversations.

Anonymous said...

you are still obsessed eden. Admit it. It's cool. So many others are as well. Are you making money off this bog? Then I'll understand. The blog is great but fess up already.

Eden said...

It's not because you'll keep saying it that it'll make it real. I'm not going to say that I'm someone I'm not just to please you, I'm sorry. But it's obvious that whatever I say, you want to see me as a diehard fan so you won't listen to what I say. So let's just move on.

Anonymous said...

@lost "...roomies from Brown joined her at a school in the UK" ...

"She said a lot students @ Brown do a year abroad."

This could be a profound irony if Emma does a year "abroad" in Oxford where she grew up.

@Eden ... Who is that horrible Anon above that keeps second guessing your posts and says your obsessive. Go start your own Blog you jerk! Sorry, no name calling.

Anyway, you don't need to defend yourself to that ... something, something. (although you did a pretty good job)

Anonymous said...

that "anon" already has his own blog.