Wearing a black Roland Mouret dress and Louboutin heels Emma Watson, 23, is in Los Angeles to talk about her upcoming biblical drama, Noah, in which she stars with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins.
Born in Paris and raised in London, the brunette beauty rose to fame for her role in the Harry Potter franchise as Hermione Granger which she was cast at age of nine. She has since starred in The Tale of Despereaux, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, This is the End, and The Bling Ring.
Watson made her modelling debut in 2009 for Burberry’s autumn/winter campaign, and in 2013 she was voted Sexiest Female Movie Star by Empire magazine. She attended Brown University, deferred for two semesters and will finish her degree in May this year.
She is currently dating Oxford University student, Matthew Janney, 21, who follows a two-year relationship with Brown University student, Will Adamowicz.
Q. Who do you play in Noah?
WATSON: She is the adopted daughter of Noah; she’s a refugee and she’s rescued by Noah’s family. Her family was killed in a battle or a raid, and she kind of suffers these serious wounds to her stomach which means that she can’t bear children. And, she falls in love with Shem (Douglas Booth) who is Noah’s older son. It’s a very dark film, and I think it’s a very youthful, innocent, hopeful love story, which brings a kind of light to the eclectic chaos. So yeah, it’s a really special love story.
Q: You read the bible growing up?
WATSON: Yeah. I studied the bible in school, I studied other religious texts as well, but in England, you do get taught biblical stories and I was definitely aware of the story of Noah.
Q: What was it like working with Russell Crowe?
WATSON: Amazing. I didn’t think anyone else could have played this role. It needed an actor that you believed physically would be able to build something of the magnitude of the ark, and he was someone who could be both a warrior, and also have complicated internal walls. He just felt very believable to me; he pulled off something that would be very difficult.
Q: Are you still at college or have you finished?
WATSON: Yes, I plan to graduate in May. From Brown.
Q: What are your favourite subjects?
WATSON: I love history, I love English, I paint and I draw, so I love visual arts.
Q: Did you manage to have a normal university experience?
WATSON: 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 US institution and a UK institution, which I kind of compare the two and yeah, I am happy that I got to experience it.
Q: Did you get any new interests when you were in America?
WATSON: (laughs) I was really into TV shows, and I started watching House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black and Friday Night Lights, stuff that I hadn’t really been into before, and it was really through my college friends, that was a Friday night thing, we would do TV marathons.
Q: After This is the End, do you feel like going to some comedies?
WATSON: Yeah, Steve Chbosky, who I did Perks with, and I have put together a comedy together at the moment and it’s something that I think earlier on in the Harry Potter films, that was 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 missed that aspect as things got more serious and things got darker throughout the series. I really miss those kinds of scenes between Hermione and Ron where you would really laugh. And I did a play when I was at Brown, I did Chekov, and it was The Three Sisters and 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.
Q: What was the part that you relate yourself to the character?
WATSON: Just I guess that I am making the same transition that she is. It’s kind of I am at that age where I am deciding what do I want to do, where do I want to live, what kind of person do I want to be, who am I going to choose to love, you are making all of these really big, important life choices. It’s very intense in many ways, I feel like that’s what your early 20s are about, figuring out your place in the world, and that’s what she’s going through. She’s becoming a woman.
I think you have reached that interesting stage with your parents where you might not necessarily agree with everything they believe, and it’s something you are trying to figure out, okay, which parts of my upbringing do I take with me, and how do I have my own independent mind and that conflict is really difficult. It can be very difficult to overcome, and I think very specifically at this age, it’s quite difficult too where you are becoming your own person, but you don’t want to lose your parents, and they don’t want to lose you but they don’t know how to be this new person in your life if they are not this very sort of dogmatic figure, and you are trying to figure it all out.
Q: If we had an ark today, who do you think deserves a seat on that ark?
WATSON: My cat Phineas. (laughter) She’s never done anything bad to anyone.
Q: After growing up with the Harry Potter films, do you feel that you are comfortable on huge scale movies like this?
WATSON: I think it’s useful having had a history of working with special effects, and I feel also just in terms of stamina, (laughs) I know that sounds crazy, but I am used to things taking a long time. I am used to having to do the same thing over and over again in order to be able to get technical things right. I am used to being outside in the freezing cold for hours and hours and hours and being soaking wet and rained on and then having to run and then cry, that kind of stuff. It’s very comforting for me in many ways, not in terms of performance, but just in terms of like, what it’s day to day, as hard as it has been, I have already done that. And in terms of again, we are about to start promotional stuff on Noah and it can feel quite overwhelming and I have to remind myself, it’s never ever going to be as full on as it was with Harry Potter. So it’s a comfort in a way to know that. If I have done that, I feel like I can do most things, which is nice. (laughter)
Q: Is that something that you take into consideration when you choose a role, if it’s a positive role for women?
WATSON: I mean I do yeah, I do. I think it would be difficult for me to take on a part that I felt, it’s difficult to follow up Hermione with someone that feels a bit wet, (laughter) and it’s difficult. But obviously, I played Nicky from The Bling Ring.
Q: Which was the opposite.
WATSON: Yeah. So, I will play all sorts of different types of characters and no one is perfect. I would hate to play a sort of nauseatingly perfect person as well. You want to play someone that you feel is relatable and real and who makes mistakes and has fears and doubts, insecurities, but yeah, I think I do take it into account. Yeah.
Q: Do you watch yourself on film?
WATSON: You know, it’s funny, I think it was Maggie Smith who, I remember saying to, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I could do it, I don’t know if I could watch myself, it’s so hard.’ And she basically just told me to get a grip. (laughter) Because ultimately, what I do is an art, but to a certain extent, it’s also a science, it’s also something that I need to get better at. It’s something that I keep learning at and if I don’t watch what I do, how can I get better? How can I see what I did wrong in order to know how to do it better the next time? So I try to be objective, I try to tell myself that I do it in order to keep getting better each time, and of course it’s difficult, but you just kind of got to do it.
Q: But you know when you are good.
WATSON: I think so. (laughter) I do struggle, but I can say in some scenes that I am really proud of them. I would probably never be able to say that about a performance as a whole that something was perfect, but I can always be like I am proud of that moment, or proud of that moment. I can see that there’s something truthful here.
Q: Can you cry easily?
WATSON: I cry in the film four times. I cry so many times in the film, so I guess it is something that I am good at. I think that’s what my mum said after the film, ‘Well, if nothing else, it establishes you as a good crier.’ (Laughter) And I went, ‘Thanks mum.’ And that is something that is difficult to do because you are actually having to produce something physical; it’s not something you can really fake necessarily very well. So it was challenging. And you really have to kind of go there to be able to make that work. /Viva Press