The name Emma Watson no doubt immediately brings to mind Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. To the world, Watson and her character seem almost synonymous. The actress began working on the Harry Potter film franchise at just 9 years old, and, since then, she has grown into an internationally recognized leading lady.
Being cast in the role of Hermione came out of Watson’s very first film audition, and she told Vanity Fair it felt exactly like “winning the lottery.” Harry Potter quickly became one of the most popular franchises in the world and propelled the actress into stardom. Following the success of the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the filming of the powerhouse series spanned over a decade of Watson’s life. While the world watched Hermione grow up on-screen, Watson herself was growing up too. Here’s why Emma Watson was never the same after the making of Harry Potter.
Emma Watson's childhood identity was formed by Harry Potter's Hermione Granger
Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger was Emma Watson’s dream role, and she knew that she had to have it when she began auditioning as a child. The young actress realized she had a lot in common with the magical character. Perhaps the biggest trait that Hermione is known for is being a perfect student, which Watson was as well. She told The Telegraph in 2007, “I felt I really was Hermione.”
Watson’s mother tried to explain to her the dramatic impact that accepting the role would have on her life. “She told me that in the future it would be important to know people liked me for myself and not because of my career,” she noted to The Telegraph. At the young age of 9, Watson just didn’t understand all of the advice her mother was giving her. Watson continued, “Now I know exactly what she means.”
After landing the part of Hermione, Watson quickly became obsessed her character. She said, “Sometimes even I get muddled which one I am, because I know Hermione so very well.”
Emma Watson's "awkward" years were spent starring in Harry Potter movies
When the final Harry Potter film premiered, Emma Watson was 21 years old. Filming the series spanned not only throughout much of Watson’s childhood, but throughout her teenage years as well.
At a time when many are just trying to get through high school and deciding what to wear to prom, Watson was spending hours on set. She told The Telegraph, “Sometimes I miss the fact that I have never really been a teenager because I have been Hermione for such a long time.” When asked about growing up in front of the world, she admitted to the Mirror, “It’s embarrassing to see myself go through the awkward stages of growing up — my hair was just enormous!”
Before the premiere of the final Harry Potter film, Watson told the Mirror, “I have spent more of my life being someone else than I have being myself.” The conclusion of the series meant it was time for Watson to focus on herself. Though it seemed as if she was at the height of her career following the films’ massive success, her incredible acting career was just getting started.
Emma Watson's education on the Harry Potter set
Continuing her education has always been important to Emma Watson. The actress filmed Harry Potter throughout nine months of the year and still managed to keep high grades. She told The Telegraph in an interview in 2007, “I feel it’s terribly important to continue with my education, in case acting doesn’t work out for me.”
Watson’s character Hermione was a driving force behind her decision to pursue college. Watson told Paper, “I was the girl in school whose hand shot up to answer the questions. I was really eager to learn in an uncool way. In a super uncool way, actually. And then the character of Hermione gave me permission to be who I was.”
Upon the completion of the Harry Potter film series, Watson’s acting career exploded. She told the Mirror, “I feel I’ve graduated from the most difficult, hard-core film school of all time and I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been.”
Emma Watson had to deal with the Harry Potter fandom
Growing up on screen isn’t easy, as Emma Watson knows all too well. She told Vanity Fair, “I have met fans that have my face tattooed on their body. … I don’t know how to explain it, but the Harry Potter phenomenon steps into a different zone. It crosses into obsession.”
Alongside the film series, the wizarding world quickly transformed into something more in front of Watson’s eyes. It now includes a spin-off film series, a Broadway play, a theme park in Orlando, Fla., a new sport called Quidditch taken from the series, a studio set tour, and countless pieces of purchasable memorabilia.
With the “Potterhead” obsession came many scary stalker situations for Watson. She now refuses to take photos with fans. Watson explained to Vanity Fair that she tells people, “I will sit here and answer every single Harry Potter fandom question you have, but I just can’t do a picture.” She’s learned that photos can mark her location for stalkers, which has caused danger for her. She continued, noting that when she became an adult, “it dawned on me that this is what you’re really signing up for.”
Emma Watson's experience in the Harry Potter series made her appreciate privacy
Growing up in the spotlight made Emma Watson feel like her life was on display, which is why she decided to remain private with her personal life. She told The Telegraph, “The thought of all this publicity chills me to the bone. I hate seeing my name on the front of a magazine.”
More than that, Watson defends the idea of keeping a personal life due to her responsibility as an actor. The Harry Potter star believes that knowing too much about her will affect how viewers feel toward her on-screen characters. Watson told Interview, “When I step into a character, people have to be able to suspend their disbelief; they have to be able to divorce me from that girl. And not having everyone know every single intimate detail of my entire life is part of me trying to protect my ability to do my job well.”
Unfortunately, privacy is becoming more of a challenging feat with social media. This idea of privacy eventually led her to star in The Circle, a film that follows a woman broadcasting every moment of her life online.
Emma Watson's Harry Potter character, Hermione, influenced her perception of feminism
Though the Harry Potter series isn’t named the Hermione Granger series, Emma Watson’s character played a defining role as one of the leads in the franchise. She told Scholastic that Hermione is “never afraid to take control of a situation or be the brains behind anything,” adding, “She says what she thinks and doesn’t hold back. In many ways, she bosses the boys around, which I think is kind of cool. I think they need her. That’s girl power.” Because of this, Watson’s passion for feminism started at an early age.
Through her experience working in a male-dominated field, Watson became a UN Women’s goodwill ambassador advocating for women’s rights. In 2014, she received global praise for her speech at an event for the HeForShe campaign. The goal of the initiative was to encourage males to support their female counterparts.
She told Paper in 2016, “My understanding that has allowed me to feel so much more accepting and loving of myself as a woman — it came through reading.”
The Harry Potter franchise made Emma Watson a millionaire
Needless to say, the Harry Potter films raked in some pretty serious financial benefits for Emma Watson. In 2007, the same year the fifth Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) had been released, The Telegraph stated that the then-17-year-old was worth around $12 million. However, money has never been all that important to Watson. At that time, the young actress told the publication that the most expensive thing she had ever purchased was a laptop. Despite her fame and success, she always seems to portray herself as an extremely humble and down-to-earth person in interviews.
Three years later, in 2010 at the age of 19, Watson was on Vanity Fair‘s list of Hollywood’s top 40 earners. The publication estimated that she earned about $25 million that year, making her one of the most successful actresses of the decade.
Emma Watson felt forced into being a role model after starring in the Harry Potter movies
Young girls everywhere grew up alongside Emma Watson’s character Hermione Granger, and, almost six years after the Harry Potter film series concluded, Watson was cast as another beloved character to little ones — Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Given the relatable and lovable characters Watson plays, it’s really no wonder that she has come to be considered a great role model. However, Watson feels that being a role model comes with an awful lot of responsibility. She told Interview, “When people call me a role model it puts the fear of god into me, because I feel like I’m destined to fail.”
As a kid, Watson never understood what kind of power her image held. Being labeled as a role model as a young adult instantly added pressure to her life and still causes the actress to live in fear of the choices she makes every day. But she chooses to try to look past this label. Watson realized, “But if I live in that fear, then my life as an artist, as a human being, really, is over.”
The Harry Potter franchise influenced Emma Watson's style
Growing up in the theatrical world, Emma Watson has used her style to express characters. For ten years, she was Hermione, described in the Harry Potter books as having frizzy hair, so Watson had to keep long, curly locks. During that time, Watson grew close with the head of Harry Potter‘s makeup department, Amanda Knight. Though Watson couldn’t change her hair, she was given opportunities to experiment with makeup. “Every now and then Amanda would let me do the extras’ face paint for the Quidditch matches,” she told Vogue.
Regarding fashion, Watson told the Mirror she was asked at one of her first premieres, “‘Who are you wearing?'” She recalled, “I thought, ‘That’s strange, it should be WHAT are you wearing?’ That was the instant I understood it was really an art and I had fun with it.”
With the completion of the Harry Potter films, Watson marked a monumental moment in her career, and she could finally do something different with her style. In 2010, she debuted a pixie cut, a drastic change from her magical character’s long locks. She told Vanity Fair, “It’s the sexiest I’ve ever felt.”
The Harry Potter franchise led Emma Watson to enjoy work on smaller films
Emma Watson wanted to change the types of films she pursued after Harry Potter. She told the Mirror, “I’ve got the blockbuster box well and truly ticked. I want to make smaller films that are really high quality and mean something to me personally.”
Watson starred as her first non-magical character in Ballet Shoes. “It’s the first time I’ve been anything but Hermione,” she told The Telegraph. Regarding her acting, she said, “If I’m no good, now is the time to find out.” Afterwards, Watson went on to pursue many successful films, including Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Bling Ring, and Noah. In Regression, an R-rated film in which a detective uncovers a satanic cult, the director said he never even approached Watson about the role. Instead, she approached him (via Vogue).
Watson told Interview, “There’s usually one line that I read and I’m like, ‘Okay. I have to say this line. I have to tell this story.’ It’s an instant click. And if there isn’t that line, even if the story is great, I’m always a bit meh.”
Emma Watson made lifelong friends on the Harry Potter set
Ever since Emma Watson’s first audition for the Harry Potter films, her mother told her to focus on her friends to maintain a normal life (via The Telegraph). Luckily, while filming the franchise, she became close with her young co-stars, especially those with whom she was in most scenes — Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, and Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley.
Radcliffe told Vogue that he and Watson developed a special brother and sister-type relationship. “When one or the other of us was having a tricky moment in our lives, it was often that we would confide in each other,” he shared. They also would offer up relationship advice to one another as they grew up and entered the dating world. “It was certainly the case of the blind leading the blind, but it was extremely funny,” he added.
To this day, the Harry Potter co-stars still keep in touch. According to Watson, they all communicate in a group chat on WhatsApp, as she told Entertainment Tonight. Some of the actors even came out to support Watson at the premiere of Beauty and the Beast, including co-star Tom Felton.
Emma Watson's crush on Harry Potter co-star Tom Felton started romance rumors
Young girls always tend to fall for the bad boys. While other girls her age gushed over schoolyard crushes, Emma Watson had a crush on a co-star while filming the Harry Potter franchise. “Between the ages of 10 and 12, I had a really terrible crush on Tom Felton,” she told The Jonathan Ross Show. Felton played the role of Draco Malfoy, the bad boy in the series. “He was a few years older, and he had a skateboard, and that just did it really,” she explained.
In 2018, when Access Hollywood asked Felton how he felt hearing news of Watson’s crush, he was flattered. “Eventually we became good friends, and we can laugh about it now,” he said.
Fast-forward to August 2019, and romance rumors began swirling around online after Felton posted a photo of himself and Watson looking cozy on his Instagram. Watson has made it clear that she has always wanted her personal life kept out of the spotlight, so there have been no comments made regarding their romance. It sounds like the world may never know just where these young stars stand!
Harry Potter led to Emma Watson receiving even bigger roles
In 2017, Emma Watson was cast as a Disney princess in Beauty and the Beast, which became the most-viewed film trailer in its first 24 hours with 127 million views, as noted by Vanity Fair.
Just like Harry Potter‘s Hermione, Belle had a love for books that Watson immediately related to. However, Watson wanted to make sure she was portraying yet another powerful female lead and not just a stereotypical princess who needed saving. The film’s costume designer Jacqueline Durran told Entertainment Weekly, “In Emma’s reinterpretation, Belle is an active princess. She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way.”
Then, in 2019, Watson wrapped filming for her next big role as Meg March in the re-telling of the classic novel Little Women. Upon casting Watson, director Greta Gerwig told Entertainment Weekly that Watson “embodies everything that I was interested in, in terms of who the March women were.” Gerwig added, “She’s just smart. She’s on multi-governmental organizations that speak to the U.N., and she’s so thoughtful and present. She is way out there trying to do everything she can.”
Harry Potter star Emma Watson learned there's more to life than fame
Emma Watson probably never thought about fame when she began acting, but fame found her anyway.
Thinking back to her last few Harry Potter movie premieres, Watson said she would look at the heavy makeup and dress she was wearing and not feel like herself. “I didn’t connect to the person who was looking back at me, and that was a very unsettling feeling,” she told Vanity Fair. Bell Hooks, an author whom Watson admires, said of the star for the Vanity Fair piece, “She’s [part of] a very different, new breed who are interested in being whole and having a holistic life, as opposed to being identified with just wealth and fame.”
The Harry Potter films were shot while Watson was still discovering herself and obviously had a huge impact on her. And it seems Watson wouldn’t change a thing about that. She told the Mirror, “How do I put into words what all of this has meant to me? It will always be a part of who I am and I feel so blessed to have shared in it.”
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