Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Emma Watson: "My interest for meditation comes from an interest for Buddhism"

[Version fran├žaise]

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

Emma Watson chooses roles on instinct, and since the end of Harry Potter four years ago, it guided her pretty well. After independent nuggets (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and big debatable productions (Noah), the freshly graduated actress reveals a dark side to her performance in Regression, the new thriller of Alejandro Amenabar (The Others). But don't reduce her to cinema, because from yoga to her role as a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, Emma has more than one string to her bow.

What made you want to do this film, and how do you choose your roles?
Emma Watson: My choices of roles are quite instinctive and fast. I realized that if I hesitate for too long, it's often a bad sign. And it's very hard to make me change my mind (laughs)! But with this film, I found the role really unusual and surprising, so I was tempted. And when I met Alejandro Amenabar, I saw he was someone I could trust, that he was going to create an environment where I could really build the role. After our meeting, I knew I was going to do the film.

It's a film inspired by real events: have you done researches about it?
Yes, Alejandro sent me a huge folder with all the researches he had done for the writing of the script, which helped me a lot. I discovered there had been lots of cases with similar circumstances, and quite recently. It was fascinating.

The film talks about satanism and faith. What is the place of religion in your family?
My father would say he's not religious at all, and my mother is very spiritual and open. I grew up with both opinions, so I personally feel between the two. I'm fascinated by religion, I love the rituals, the traditions, the sense of community. But there are obviously darker aspects that we see in the film.

Talking about spiritual, it seems you are a certified yoga instructor?
I'm not certified yet, but I'm trying to be! This summer I went to a spiritual retreat - which was described by the media as a "silent vow after my horrible break-up" - but in fact it was in relation to my training. I spent a week of training for meditation, to obtain my certificate. So it wasn't as dramatic as what was told (laughs)!

Where does your interest for meditation come from?
It comes from an interest for Buddhism. I started being interested in an erudite way, but I realized that reading books wasn't enough, that you have to practice for it to work. So I started it, and I love it, it helps me a lot.

Have you ever been hypnotized, or would you like to be?
My God, no. I really believe in the power of the spirit, and I think you have to be very careful about who you let in! It would make me really anxious to let someone else have a control on my emotional and psychological well-being. I'm very wary of all practices that take away our power to help ourselves, which implies leaving the power to someone else.

During your speech at the UN in September 2013, you mentioned the difficulty of being exposed to the media at such a young age. How did you live that?
It was hard because I had held in quite a few negative reactions, and as a result I was feeling I was difficult to live with. I was wondering if I had my place in this job, I couldn't understand if the problem came from me or not, or if there was one. It was a hard time, but I was lucky to be surrounded by trustworthy people, which is not always easy to find in this environment. My parents helped me a lot too, fortunately they were not focused on my career. All that mattered for them was that I was happy.

You thought you were difficult: it's often said about actresses, but not much about actors. Do you think there are double standards?
Yes. The same way an authoritarian girl will be called "bossy" whereas an authoritarian man will be seen as a "leader" (laughs). I think young women are often rewarded for their obedience and good manners. And if they drift from this stereotype, they are not rewarded the way young men are.

Lots of voices are rising to denounce this, do you feel things are changing?
Yes, people are starting to realize it, but the deep social change takes time, it's something subtle. Sometimes I say misogynistic things without even realizing it, and it makes me mad! The social conditioning is something very powerful, you have to be aware. But yes, I think it's getting better!

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