Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Emma Watson An Action Hero

Emma Watson was only 10, an unknown British girl, when she started shooting Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 2000. Today, as she bids farewell to Hermione Granger after eight films—the last of which, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, will open worldwide on July 15—Watson is a 21-year-old international star and fashion model.

“Oh, my goodness,” Watson says. “I thought maybe we’d do one or, maybe, two movies. I never thought they would be as big or as successful as they have been.”

“I certainly never expected to be as famous as I currently am,” she continues. “Really, I guess, just the scale of everything, the size and the impact of all of it, and how long we’ve been doing it, that was certainly unexpected.”

Though Harry Potter will live on in the imaginations of readers and moviegoers, the big-screen adventure will conclude with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Part 2 finds Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione and Ron (Rupert Grint) continuing their race against time to collect and destroy the mysterious horcruxes before Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), can assemble them and attain ultimate power. There’s also an extended epilogue that catches up with the surviving characters and their families 19 years later.

Watson sounds eager to talk about Part 2, but also ready to move on with the rest of her life and career.

“There will be a sense of the spectacular about this last one,” Watson says. “It’ll be a real tsunami. We’ll go out with a big bang. I think that the fans will really enjoy it.”

When it comes to Watson, the Hogwarts faithful are most eager to check out the kiss between Hermione and Ron, as well as seeing how Watson plays the action heroine. And there’s the epilogue, with Watson—thanks to a combination of makeup, prosthetics and digital magic—transformed into a 40-something Hermione.

“The kiss was … Rupert and I just couldn’t stop laughing,” Watson recalls. “It was very hard. I guess, when you’re nervous and something is awkward, all you can do, really, is laugh.”

“I’ve been saying that Hermione gets her Lara Croft on in this one,” the young actress continues, “and I loved doing all the stunts. Hermione is such a thinker—she intellectualises everything, she really lives in her head—so it’s really nice to see her live in her body in this film.”

And that epilogue?

“The epilogue was cool,” Watson says. “It felt very complete to do that scene. It was fun to experiment with trying to look older and how to be older.”

“Looking in a mirror didn’t freak me out that much,” she adds, laughing. “I wasn’t thrilled with my appearance. I didn’t think, ‘Wow, I look great!’ But it’s convincing.”

Having wrapped Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Watson moved on quickly. She shot an advertising campaign for Lancome, dropped out of Brown University, shot My Weekend with Marilyn—about the making of the Laurence Olivier/Marilyn Monroe classic The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), and featuring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Williams and Eddie Redmayne—and signed on for The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Though much has been made of Watson’s departure from Brown—rumours suggest that fellow students made it too difficult for her to stay—the actress herself cites other, perfectly plausible reasons for her decision.

“I knew I had to be back in the UK for this film”, she says. “I have to promote this film, and trying to commute from the UK to Brown and get all my assignments in on time and still show up for all the premieres and junkets, etc. It was all just looking so silly. So I just wanted to do my best, rather than be pulled into a million pieces.”

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