Emma Watson On Learning To Be American



1Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
If we had to make a list of our favorite Brits, well, it would be as long as the English Channel. We can't help it, we're Anglophiles through and through. But, we hold a special place in our hearts for Emma Watson. Maybe it's because we grew up with Harry Potter — Hermione was, after all, one of our favorite imaginary BFFs.

But, Watson is so much more than just a Hogwarts graduate. She's proven her chops as a Valley-girl-turned-felon in The Bling Ring and even hung with the comedic big guns in This Is The End. Next up is Darren Aronofsky's epic blockbuster Noah, which will test her viability as a box office bigwig. And, as she told us, she's ready to take on that challenge head on. After she finishes binge-watching House of Cards, of course.

Did you have to audition for this film?
"I definitely had to audition for it. I was a child when I did Harry Potter, and it’s just so different. Now I have made a very conscious decision as an adult to be a performer. My approach to it is different, and I don’t feel entitled to anything. Every time I do go up for a role, I do feel like I have to prove myself to a certain extent because I played one role with specific parameters over a very long period of time. I still have to show people what I can do. I don’t think people have really seen that yet."

Are you confident as an actress?
"I am more confident now. I used to sort of go in to auditions and sort of say, well you can cast me if you like, maybe I could do a good job, [laughs]. And, now I am much more focused, I am much more of a go-getter. I went away and I studied, took time away, and I realized that it was really what I wanted to do. So, I became very focused and driven about it in a way that I hadn’t quite been before. I didn’t realize that I was able to get films made. I didn’t realize that I would be able to tell stories that I really wanted to be told. I just really got the bug again."

Are you still at college or have you finished?
"Yes, I plan to graduate in May from Brown. I am so glad that I took the time to do it. I have the whole rest of my life to work, but I was developing and changing. I needed space in which to figure out how to be independent, living in another country. It was a really valuable lesson knowing how to take care of myself. And then, also it meant I was able to have a kind of normal existence for awhile. On top of that, having an education is such a valuable asset. It’s something that I think will make my life richer, personally and professionally."

Did you manage to have any normality at University?
"It was difficult. I don’t think it ever could have been like your standard university experience, no. But, I feel like I definitely experienced it, and I also like that I had an experience of a U.S. institution and a U.K. institution, which I kind of compare."

Did you get any new interests when you were in America?
"I was really into TV shows and I started watching House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Friday Night Lights — stuff that I hadn’t really been into before. It was really through my college friends, that was a Friday night thing — we would do TV marathons."

Do you remember a specific moment where you said, "Wow, I can do this?"
"I was just really lucky in that people just really hooked me in with really interesting things. Sofia Coppola sent me The Bling Ring, and I went, 'Wow, how fun would it be to play her?' And, how interesting, and how do I try to understand her, and how do I make her real and how do I make that accent perfect? And then Darren came in with Noah, and Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan came in with This is the End and I went, 'That would be hilarious and I would have to improvise and I have never done that before.' I love that I just get to leave myself behind when I get to play some of these new roles — and I get challenged in a way that I didn’t really get as much when I played Hermione. I find that really exciting."

After This is the End, do you feel like doing more comedies?
"I think earlier on in the Harry Potter films, one of the aspects that I enjoyed the most was that Hermione was actually very funny. She was actually very unaware of herself and as a result she was very comical. I really miss those kinds of scenes between Hermione and Ron where you would really laugh. I did a play when I was at Brown. I did Chekov, and it was The Three Sisters. It was a really dark comedy, and I really enjoyed getting to make people laugh. So yeah, it’s definitely something I want to do."