Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - Emma Watson interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
EMMA Watson talks about the latest Harry Potter movie, The Half-Blood Prince, heading off to university and coping with the pressures of fame, success and modelling.
She also reflects on the time she has spent making the Harry Potter movies and how she feels she’s developed as an actress over that time period.
Q. What’s it like returning for this latest film, The Half-Blood Prince?
Emma Watson: I think it was quite exciting to be back and to know that this film was going to be more of a romantic comedy than ever before and that we had a chance to focus more on that side of things. Sometimes the films are quite dark and it can be quite heavy, but I think we had a really good time working out how we were going to make this film as funny as we possibly could. I was really excited to come back and do something a bit different.
Q. How does it feel looking back on the Harry Potter years? Do you feel you missed out in any way? And if the characters were to be revisited would you want to be involved?
Emma Watson: I think it’s difficult to talk about the things that we missed when we gained so much. I think we probably had to grow up a lot quicker than normal children would, we had a lot more responsibility. Essentially, we were working from 10, 11-years-old so I think in that sense it was difficult and it was odd pressure, but I only feel that the experience has been so amazing and so unique, it’s been incredible really.
Q. And the thought of revisiting the roles 20 years down the line?
Emma Watson: Never say never but I hope I would have moved on by the time they’re making the Harry Potter remake.
Q. What are your plans once the films have been completed?
Emma Watson: At the end of August I’m going to university in the States, so I’m very excited and looking forward to a bit of normality for a while. That will be nice. But that doesn’t mean that by going to university I’m never going to act again. There’s a lot of confusion in the media that, because I’m going to university, that happening is mutually exclusive, that I can’t act as well as study at the same time. I seem to have managed it okay up to this point so that’s what I hope to continue to do. I can hopefully schedule whatever I want to do around the holidays. I think anything’s possible really. I’m 19-years-old, I’ve got no idea what I want. I’m just going with it, but very excited about university.
Q. Is the choice of an American university down to getting a bit of normality away from the world of Harry Potter?
Emma Watson: Yeah, I don’t want to put a negative light on it and put it like I’m ‘escaping’ or anything like that. I think I’m just looking forward to being a teenager for a bit. A normal teenager, meeting people my own age and just being normal for a bit. I’m going to sound really like Hermione Granger but for me my comfort, my way of dealing with all of this, if I’m ever really stressed my way of dealing with it, I will go and open a book and I will sit and read and that will be what will de-stress me. It’s been my comfort, so geeky, but it’s what got me through it. It’s something that I really love, I love learning and I don’t ever really want to stop. It just seemed natural for me, it was always my dream before I did the films so I don’t see why it should change necessarily.
Q. Can you explain how you’ve developed as an actress over the years and what you might have learned from the seasoned talents you’ve been working with?
Emma Watson: I think when we first started people forget we were so young, we were nine or 10, and we very much relied on Chris Columbus. We were so young he would sometimes switch off the sound and would direct us over the take and add it [the dialogue] in later, so as the camera was rolling he would be directing us through it. We needed that much guidance, especially as we were working with so many special effects, and so many things were going on – animals, magic, everything and we had to act on top of that. Rupert and I were totally new to this experience. I think the first two films were just getting to grips with the idea of being on a film set and being an actress. That was enough.
By the third film I think… when I was younger I think I probably was Hermione, I probably didn’t really need to act too much. I did a caricature of who I was myself, so it didn’t require too much thought. As I got older and she’s become a much more complex character I needed more guidance. I guess now I like to think of myself as an actress, I think of going through all of the films as my kind of film academy, the way that I’ve learnt. I’m lucky that I’ve worked with so many different directors with very different styles and with a lot of different actors. We get asked a lot if the actors give us any advice, but I don’t think they have particularly. Helena Bonham Carter was the first person I really connected with, she’s as close as anyone has come to being a mentor to me, because I think she probably had quite a similar experience to me when she was younger.
Q. How would you describe your relationship with JK Rowling. Is she a mentor for you?
Emma Watson: I think in the earlier years she was still writing the books, so she was really busy, and she also had a young child so she was busy with that too. So now her children are a little older and she’s finished writing the books she can be more involved in the films and it’s more of a pleasure for her. So, she has been around more, and she very sweetly e-mails me from time to time, which is really nice. We are quite similar in a way. She’s been nice to talk to, she’s been very caring and she is genuinely a really lovely woman. I really admire her so it’s wonderful to have her in my life.
Q. Do you feel pressures of the fashion world now you’re the face of Burberry, as to how you should look?
Emma Watson: Do I feel pressure? I don’t, no, I don’t feel pressure to alter my appearance in any way. I think I have more pressure being the girl, the media’s more interested in what I choose to wear whereas with boys there’s less you can do with it. So, I think there’s more interest and sometimes that’s quite hard. As I’ve got older I’ve been aware that people care about what I put on my body, which is strange. So it’s something that I’ve become interested in. And I think where Dan went and did Equus and Rupert’s taken on other film roles, because I’ve been studying I haven’t had as much time to go and make another film, to start trying to get directors and casting agents to look at me in a different way.
So, I think my way of doing that has been fashion and modelling. In a way I’ve been trying to play different characters in each of the photo-shoots that I’ve done and hope that people could look at me differently. It would be very naïve of me not to be aware that it would be hard for audiences to separate us from these characters that we’re so identified with. So I think maybe that’s been my way of expressing myself.
Q. Do you have a stylist or do you choose your clothes yourself?
Emma Watson: Actually, this year I confess I’ve had some help because I’ve been filming six days a week doing Harry Potter 7 and doing pre-production for Harry Potter 8 so I’ve only had a week to do this so I’ve just had no time to go and do it. So it’s all my choices but I’ve had some help.
Q. The characters’ hormones are raging in this story. How did you cope when you went through a similar period in your life?
Emma Watson: I think it’s fun because we’re all a year or two older than our characters are in the books and in the films, so I feel as if we experience everything first and then have that experience applied to the characters. Sometimes I have to bring myself back with Hermione because she’s so innocent and naïve and she really is very vulnerable in this film. She really does get her heart broken by Ron and Lavender and that whole situation. It’s so amazing to be playing a role that you’re growing up with and you’re learning things. It’s pretty good.
Q. There’s a quote from Daniel Radcliffe in Esquire that, between the third and the fifth film, the atmosphere was very ‘horny’ between you all because you were the only girls and boys you mixed with at that point. Is that true for you?
Emma Watson: I don’t know what to say, I think certainly when we were younger we were always going back and forth from school filming, so it wasn’t like Dan and Rupert were the only boys I ever met at that time in my life. But I think it would of huge media interest if one of the three of us were hooking up. Unfortunately, we don’t have that story for you. We’ve grown up together, from the ages of 10 to 19, 20 and we’re just like siblings. So, there’s nothing between the three of us. If you ask other members of the cast, there haven’t been any pairings like that. Sorry, it’s really boring.
Q. How much of a sense of loss will you feel with the end of this series of films? And would you return if JK Rowling wrote some more somewhere down the line?
Emma Watson: We’ll all miss it. There will be a big hole. I’m not sure who brought up the question about what will be the next big thing but I think you underestimate the longevity of the books in this series. I’m a massive fan of the books, not just as part of the films, I don’t think it’s going anywhere very fast. They’re making the theme park, I think new generations of children will keep reading the books and hopefully watching the films. We’ve tried to make them in a way that they will be classics, they’ll hopefully be watched again and again and again and again.
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