Sunday, September 24, 2006

Emma Watson: "Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint do feel like my brothers"

[Version française]

Emma Watson, 16, plays scholarly Hermione Granger, gal pal to Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) in the “Harry Potter” movies. She sat down with NEWSWEEK on the set of the fifth film, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” at Leavesden Studios, north of London. Watson recently learned that she had aced her national school exams, which are an infamous cause of anxiety for British students.

NEWSWEEK: Congrats on your exams. You knocked it out of the park.
Emma Watson: Oh, thank you. I’m so happy. I couldn’t believe it.

Are you still enjoying making these movies after all these years?
Umm, I am. It’s nice having a new director each time. I keep getting pushed and challenged, and that’s really nice.

Daniel Radcliffe said that David Yates, the series’ latest director, is really stretching him as an actor. Is that true for you, too?
Yeah, definitely. David won’t settle for anything that looks like acting [laughs]. What keeps coming up a lot is his search for truth in the characters and the performances. He really wants it to be real. The fourth film [“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”] was sort of about all the tasks, fighting dragons, and all of that. This film is about Harry fighting his inner demons more than dragons. It’s about the emotional journey. So I think David is the perfect director for that. Also, his previous work has all been quite politically based, like “Sex Traffic” and “The Girl in the CafĂ©,” and with this film you see much more of the world outside of Hogwarts. [The book and film deal, in part, with how the Ministry of Magic begins to restrict personal freedoms and civil liberties following a wave of attacks.] I think this film will be quite relevant to what we’re all experiencing at the moment with all of the terrorist attacks. The film eerily coincides with all of that.

When I interviewed you on the first film six years ago, Daniel and Rupert were teasing you quite a bit.
[Laughs.] Yeah.

What are things like between the three of you these days?
They just keep me laughing really. They don’t tease me quite as much as they used to, which is nice. It is a very nice, crazy friendship.

Do they feel like brothers to you?
Kind of, yeah. It’s funny. It’s been an intense and very long friendship. We’ve known each other for six years now, and have seen each other almost every day. I mean, they’ve seen me in every single state. They have seen me at my most glamorous and they have seen me at six in the morning with no makeup on. They do feel like my brothers. And we’ve been through all the ups and downs of this mad experience together. Yeah, it’s nice.

Do you think you want to be an actress for the rest of your career?
I really don’t know. Daniel and Rupert seem so sure. I don’t know. I wouldn’t want “Harry Potter” to be the last thing I do. Nothing is ever going to be quite on the scale of this. I appreciate that. And also I’ve come into acting in such a funny way. Most people who want to act have to sit through hours of auditioning and work their way up, whereas I seemed to have come straight in at the top, having had no experience at all. That’s quite a strange position to be in, but amazing at the same time because it has given me so many options and choices. I definitely would like to try other films to see what it’s like. I’d really like to try some theater, actually, because I think I would really enjoy that immediate response from an audience. I love making people laugh. I love to perform, but there are so many things I love doing. [Pauses.] Maybe that seems ungrateful. I have been given such an amazing opportunity, but I’ll just have to go with the flow and see what happens.

Well, you’re not supposed to have all the answers at 16.
Yeah, but people keep asking me, so I keep thinking I should know. [Laughs.] Everyone’s just like, “So what do you want to do with your life?” And I’m like, [sighs], ‘Right.’

Do you like the glamour aspects of this job?
The glamour aspects?

The premieres and the gowns and the hair and makeup …
It feels like I’m famous for about two weeks of the year. [Laughs.] I know it sounds strange, but it does. That glamorous part, it feels a bit like a mad surreal dream. But, yeah, I suppose I enjoy it. When you get to a city [for a premiere] you feel a bit hazy because you’ve got jet lag, and people are screaming at you, and you’re being rushed from one place to another and suddenly you’re in all these beautiful dresses. It’s a bit mad, but it’s good fun. I think what I love most is that I’ve been able to travel. If it weren’t for the “Harry Potter” movies I never would have gone to America or Europe and everything—well, not until I was older, anyway. I’ve been able to see New York. I’ve been to China, Tokyo, L.A., Chicago, all these amazing places. So that’s been really great. And flying first class, that’s an experience.

It’s the best, isn’t it?
Oh, my god, you have no idea! I love little things like the airplane bags you get with all of the moisturizer and the little toothbrush. And the reclining seats! For me that has to be a highlight.

Well, Emma, it’s pretty certain you’ll never have to fly coach again.
[Laughs.] Thank you.

And how are things with dating and boys? Do you get a lot of attention from them?
People say to me, “Oh it must be so easy for you. They must be lining up for you.” It’s really not easy. It’s really not. I suppose guys are either kind of intimidated by me and have their defenses up, or they like to take the piss out of me. [Long pause, then sighs.] It’s a minefield, to be quite honest with you. Really. Ugh. It’s stressful.

It’s stressful even if you’re not famous.
I know! And then adding that into it is an interesting like extra dimension. I really like guys as friends, actually. I have about as many guy friends as girlfriends, which is kind of unusual, I suppose. But because I’m in these films, there tend to be more guys around than girls. Plus, you know, I spend so much time here. I’m here for 11 months of the year, and in the free time that I have, I feel like I’m running around between family members and trying to see the friends that I already have. So, yeah. I will just have to wait. Maybe someone will find me. We’ll see.

Well, there are a lot of cute guys working on the crew here. But I guess they’re too old for you.
Yeah. That’s my problem. I think, “Yeah, he’s really good looking, but he’s like, 25! Come on, help me out here!” So, no, that’s not really happening. [Laughs.]

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