Emma Watson talks about the varying emotions of playing Hermione in the Harry Potter films, as well as being considered a role model, kissing Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint and why fan approval means more to her than awards.
How will it feel not to be returning to a Harry Potter set in the future?
Emma Watson: It's funny, you're sort of used to having a gap between each of the films of five or six months. And then after this last film ended, around that point I started getting this itch, that was like I was ready to go back now, and then I realised I wasn't. That was really the moment that I had to come to terms with. It was so difficult to process. But Dan [Radcliffe], Rupert [Grint] and I have all moved on to other projects, and we've been working really hard on what's next for us. We've learned so much during the making of these films, and I think we're all just excited to put it into practice and do more good work.
Can you identify a turning point in this series, either for your characters or maybe just learning a big lesson?
Emma Watson: These last two films were the first time I found myself doing something that I really had never done before in my own life, or had any way that I could relate to. For example, I have no ideas what it's like to be tortured, and I have no idea what it's like playing 20 years older and what it might be like to say goodbye to my children at a railway station. I found myself in positions that I couldn't even imagine what it would be like. I found myself really stretched in the last two [films]. And also physically, we did a huge amount of stunts and running around, so that was a big learning curve for me.
Can you compare the kiss with Ron and Harry and would you like to have had one with Tom Felton?
Emma Watson: I should have seen this one coming... it's really difficult... [embarrassed laugh]... I've got to be diplomatic. Well, Dan isn't here so that makes it easier. Kissing Dan, kissing Harry, for that scene, it's a figment of Ron's imagination and the worst possible thing he could imagine so the kiss had to be passionate, I was half-naked and covered in paint so that was pretty awkward. Kissing Rupert [giggles]... that was awkward. We'd just been soaked by an enormous bucket of water which hurt, which we had to pretend we didn't know was going to drench us but we knew was coming. So, that was equally awkward and weird so both strange situations to be in. Both were complete gentlemen but, you know, it's hard to put our personal history to one side considering we grew up together but I hope they don't mind me saying that once you've done it four or five times kissing gets quite boring, between you and me, so it definitely gets easier.
Emma Watson: Well, his beautiful girlfriend is sitting on the other side of the [press conference] room so no, I don't think so. My 12-year-old self would say yes, but my 21-year-old self, no.
Do you feel any role model pressure associated with playing such a big role for so long?
Emma Watson: I think Hermione is such an incredible young woman so growing up alongside her definitely pushed me and made me a better person and me work harder, just as a result of comparing myself with her literally every day. I feel so privileged to have played her and got to be her. In terms of the role model thing... someone who I admire very much said to me recently, "The cleanest way to live as a human being and as an artist is to always be true to yourself and always honest." I think that's the best way to live and I will try to do that first and foremost and secondly if that makes me a role model it's very flattering, but yes, it's been amazing and I feel very lucky to have played her and been associated with her.
What was the best memory you've taken away from the whole experience? What proved most challenging? And what does the character of Hermione mean to you?
Emma Watson: I think [the best memory is] getting to work with Helena Bonham Carter, both when she tortured me and when we got to work together with her playing me essentially. We had so much fun and I just really enjoyed working with her. As for the most challenging, I was lucky in a way in this film because the film deals with loss and I was so emotional anyway with how I felt about it all ending that I was doing my own grieving, saying goodbye to Dan and saying goodbye to Harry weirdly mirrored each other so I was able to bring a lot of that to the role. And what does Hermione mean to me? Well, what doesn't she mean to me? She's been like a sister or someone I really know and when people ask what I'll miss the most, of course I will miss the people, but I will actually miss just being her. Coming to work every day and be this girl that lives in this magical world and gets to go on the adventures that she goes on, that's quite devastating. I'll miss wandering around Stuart Craig's sets and having these two [Dan and Rupert] as friends, it has been great.
Are you disappointed at the lack of award recognition for these films?
Emma Watson: Well, these books are just so loved, the fans of these books were the most discerning critics and the fact that they've really embraced the series that we made and there are pretty much no complaints - everyone seems to love [them] and think they're true to that. I just don't think there's any better reward than that, than that we've satisfied them.
What's your personal favourite line that your character uttered?
Emma Watson: My favourite line is: "Well, I'm going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed, or worse, expelled." I remember getting so much joy out of saying that line, I must have been about 11 or 12 at the time and it just seemed the wittiest, cleverest line.
Interview: Rob Carnevale Photo: Warner Bros