Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Emma Watson: "I try to show that I'm not just an image"

[Gallery] [Fashion] [Beauty] [Version française]

Translated by Emma Watson Updates. Credit if you use it.


In an enclosure, Emma Watson is sitting down. A pretty 23-year-old girl with the figure of a sylph, dressed with a black dress with sequins. She's fidgetig on her seat, drinking tea, nicely greeting. Probably by reflex. In The Bling Ring, inspired by a real story, she's Nicki, a loaded teenager from Los Angeles, superficial and flirtatious who, with her friends, starts to rob from the houses of their favourite stars, while quoting the karma and esotericism her crazy mom teaches her. For the film promotion, she's the most famous one, even reaching the same level as the "it" director Sofia Coppola.

If everything revolves around Emma Watson, it's because she represents a worn out, but unbeatable in the pop culture, figure: the child star. At 6, the little English girl, born in Paris from lawyer parents, decided to become an actress. In 1999, a national casting is starting in the UK for the film adaptation of Harry Potter. She becomes Hermione Granger, first in class, unbearable pain, but adorable and spells enthusiast. For ten years and eight films, she co-stars with Daniel Radcliffe, takes correspondance courses when filming, does promotion tours after promotion tours, gets used to interviews, becomes the little talking doll of an industrial machine that gathers billions of cash. In 2011, the last film is released and, for the young actors, the filming childhood is over.

Like her co-stars, Emma Watson refuses to waste all her money (30 millions of euros). She registers at Oxford, then at a US university, follows English literature courses, declaims her love for Keats and Austen to feminine magazine. And shoots some films, including The Bling Ring, that she herself calls a "significant moment in [her] career". After meeting with Sofia Coppola and reading the script, she sent an essay to the director that she admires for "her capacity to capture adolescence, this age where we're lost, this feeling of loneliness, and especially of transition". And signs here her independence, her emancipation from her on-screen princess confinement and merchandisings.

By playing Nicki, a Californian kid attracted by the superficial, Emma Watson plays her opposite, turns the tables. That's the strength of the film: to confront the contemporary obsession for celebrity, in which she gravitates since her childhood and that she would seem to want to leave: "I don't plan on becoming a big star, only to be an actress capable of giving sincere performances." And she talks about her "strenuous but fun" work to prepare for The Bling Ring, her lessons with a vocal coach in order to trade her British accent for the one from Los Angeles. Like Natalie Portman, who has a similar career, she plays hide-and-seek with fame, swears she wants to keep her "life very private", that she doesn't understand the exhibitionism of teenagers who, like the heroes of The Bling Ring, "post everything on Facebook". But she knows how to make the most of her opportunities, benefits from a lucrative contract as an ambassador for Lancôme, and has the means, the confidence, at 23, to pick the director Guillermo del Toro for an adaptation project of Beauty and the Beast. She'll also be on screen in the biblical epic of Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan...), released in 2014.

In that enclosure, Emma Watson is sitting down, facing a big frame of white light, let on by a photographer or a television crew. The beam bothers her, she turns her head. Like a metaphor of what she was saying: "I'm at the heart of a system where I don't control anything. I might as well be honest, maybe it's cynicism. But I try to get around, to make my way through. And especially to show that I'm not just an image."

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