Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (born
15 April 1990) is a British actress who rose to prominence playing
Hermione Granger, one of three starring roles in the Harry Potter film
series. Watson was cast as Hermione at the age of nine, having previously
acted only in school plays. From 2001 to 2009, she starred in six Harry
Potter films alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint; she will return
for the final two installments: the two parts of Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows. Watson's work on the Harry Potter series has earned her
several awards and more than £10 million.
In 2007, Watson announced her involvement in two non-Harry Potter
productions: the television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and an
animated film, The Tale of Despereaux. Ballet Shoes was broadcast on 26
December 2007 to an audience of 5.2 million, and The Tale of Despereaux,
based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo, was released in 2008 and grossed
over US $70 million in worldwide sales.[
Emma Watson was born in Paris, the daughter of British lawyers Jacqueline
Luesby and Chris Watson. Watson has one French grandmother, and lived in
Paris until the age of five. Later, following her parents' divorce, she
moved with her mother and younger brother, Alex, to Oxfordshire. From the
age of six, Watson wanted to become an actress, and for a number of years
she trained at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts, a part-time
theatre school where she studied singing, dancing and acting. By the age
of ten, she had performed in various Stagecoach productions and school
plays, including Arthur: The Young Years and The Happy Prince, but she had
never acted professionally before the Harry Potter series. "I had no idea
of the scale of the film series," she stated in a 2007 interview with
Parade; "if I had I would have been completely overwhelmed."
In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
(released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States),
the film adaptation of British author J. K. Rowling's bestselling novel.
Of importance to the casting directors were the lead role of Harry Potter
and the supporting roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Harry's best
friends. Casting agents found Watson through her Oxford theatre teacher,
and producers were impressed by her confidence. After eight auditions,
producer David Heyman told Watson and fellow applicants Daniel Radcliffe
and Rupert Grint that they had been cast for the roles of Hermione, Harry
and Ron, respectively. Rowling supported Watson from her first screen
The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2001 was
Watson's debut screen performance. The film broke records for opening-day
sales and opening-weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of
2001. Critics praised the performances of the three leads, often singling
out Watson for particular acclaim; The Daily Telegraph called her
performance "admirable", and IGN said she "stole the show". Watson was
nominated for five awards for her performance in Philosopher's Stone,
winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress.
A year later, Watson again starred as Hermione in Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets, the second installment of the series. Although the
film received mixed reviews, reviewers were positive about the lead
actors' performances. The Los Angeles Times said Watson and her peers had
matured between films, while The Times criticised director Chris Columbus
for "under-employing" Watson's hugely popular character. Watson received
an Otto Award from the German magazine Bravo for her performance.
In 2004, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released. Watson was
appreciative of the more assertive role Hermione played, calling her
character "charismatic" and "a fantastic role to play". Although critics
panned Radcliffe's performance, labelling him "wooden", they praised
Watson; The New York Times lauded her performance, saying "Luckily Mr.
Radcliffe's blandness is offset by Ms. Watson's spiky impatience. Harry
may show off his expanding wizardly skills ... but Hermione ... earns the
loudest applause with a decidedly unmagical punch to Draco Malfoy's
deserving nose." Although Prisoner of Azkaban remains the lowest-grossing
Harry Potter film as of April 2009, Watson's personal performance won her
two Otto Awards and the Child Performance of the Year award from Total
With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), both Watson and the Harry
Potter film series reached new milestones. The film set records for a
Harry Potter opening weekend, a non-May opening weekend in the US, and an
opening weekend in the UK. Critics praised the increasing maturity of
Watson and her teenage co-stars; the New York Times called her performance
"touchingly earnest". For Watson, much of the humour of the film sprang
from the tension among the three lead characters as they matured. She
said, "I loved all the arguing. ... I think it's much more realistic that
they would argue and that there would be problems." Nominated for three
awards for Goblet of Fire, Watson won a bronze Otto Award. Later that
year, Watson became the youngest person to appear on the cover of Teen
Vogue, an appearance she reprised in August 2009. In 2006, Watson played
Hermione in The Queen's Handbag, a special mini-episode of Harry Potter in
celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday.
Watson signing autographs for fans outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre,
2007The fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix, was released in 2007. A huge financial success, the
film set a record worldwide opening-weekend gross of $332.7 million.
Watson won the inaugural National Movie Award for Best Female Performance.
As the fame of the actress and the series continued, Watson and fellow
Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint left imprints of
their hands, feet and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in
Hollywood on 9 July 2007.
Despite the success of Order of the Phoenix, the future of the Harry
Potter franchise became surrounded in doubt, as all three lead actors were
hesitant to sign on to continue their roles for the final two episodes.
Radcliffe eventually signed for the final films on 2 March 2007, but
Watson was considerably more hesitant. She explained that the decision was
significant, as the films represented a further four-year commitment to
the role, but eventually conceded that she "could never let the role of
Hermione go", signing for the role on 23 March 2007. In return for
committing to the final films, Watson's pay was doubled to £2 million per
film; she concluded that "in the end, the pluses outweighed the minuses".
Principal photography for the sixth film began in late 2007, with Watson's
part being filmed from 18 December to 17 May 2008.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince premiered on 15 July 2009, having
been controversially delayed from November 2008. With the lead actors now
in their late teens, critics were increasingly willing to review them on
the same level as the rest of the film's all-star cast, which the Los
Angeles Times described as "a comprehensive guide to contemporary UK
acting". The Washington Post felt Watson to have given "[her] most
charming performance to date", while The Daily Telegraph described the
lead actors as "newly-liberated and energized, eager to give all they have
to whatís left of the series".
Watson's filming for the final installment of the Harry Potter film
series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, began on 18 February 2009.
The film, divided into two parts filmed back to back for financial and
scripting reasons, is scheduled for release in November 2010 and July
Watson's first non-Harry Potter role was in the 2007 television film
Ballet Shoes. She said of the project, "I was all set to go back to school
after finishing Harry Potter [and the Order of the Phoenix] but couldn't
resist Ballet Shoes. I really loved it." A BBC adaptation of Noel
Streatfeild's novel of the same name, the film stars Watson as aspiring
actress Pauline Fossil, the eldest of three sisters around whom the story
revolves. Director Sandra Goldbacher commented, "Emma was perfect for
Pauline. ... She has a piercing, delicate aura that makes you want to gaze
and gaze at her." Ballet Shoes was broadcast on Boxing Day in the United
Kingdom, to an estimated audience of 5.2 million (22% of the viewing
total). The film received generally poor critical reviews, with The Times
describing it as "progress[ing] with little emotional investment, or
magic, or dramatic momentum". However, the performances of its cast were
generally praised; The Daily Telegraph wrote that the film "was certainly
well done, not least because it confirmed how good child actors are these
Watson also took a role in the animated film The Tale of Despereaux, a
children's comedy starring Matthew Broderick and Tracey Ullman which was
released in December 2008. She voiced the character of Princess Pea in the
Watson's other media work has been limited, taking second place to the
completion of higher education. Despite a storm of rumour in April 2008,
linking her to the role of "Betsy" Bonaparte in an anticipated film
Napoleon and Betsy, the production never materialised. Equally,
suggestions that she was to replace Keira Knightley as the face of the
fashion house Chanel were flatly denied by both parties, despite being
presented as a fait accompli by a major British newspaper. In April 2009,
rumours emerged of a similar deal with Burberry; the contract was
eventually confirmed on 9 June 2009, Watson modelling Burberry's
Autumn/Winter 2009 collection for an estimated six-figure fee. As she has
grown older, Watson has become something of a budding fashion devotee,
saying that she sees fashion as very similar to art, which she studied in
school. In September 2008, she told a blogger, "I've been focusing on art
a lot, and fashion's a great extension of that." On 16 September 2009,
Watson announced her involvement with People Tree, a Fair Trade fashion
brand. Watson says she has been working closely with People Tree to create
a spring line of clothing (due to be released at the end of February
2010). The line will feature styles inspired by southern France and the
City of London. Later, The Times released a short article on Watson's
progress with the collection. Watson admitted that her competition was
minimal. She also stated that, "I think young people like me are becoming
increasingly aware of the humanitarian issues surrounding fast fashion and
want to make good choices but there arenít many options out there." Watson
additionally participated in the 2010 Spring/Summer Burberry advertisement
campaign alongside her brother Alex, George Craig, Matt Gilmour and Max
Watson's extended family has grown as her divorced parents each have new
partners. Her father has a son, Toby, and identical twin girls, Nina and
Lucy. Her mother's partner has two sons (Watson's stepbrothers), who
"regularly stay with her". Watson's full brother, Alexander, has appeared
as an extra in two Harry Potter films, and her half-sisters were cast as
the young Pauline Fossil in the BBC's Ballet Shoes adaptation.
After moving to Oxford with her mother and brother, Watson attended The
Dragon School, an independent preparatory school, until June 2003 and then
moved to Headington School, an independent school for girls, also in
Oxford. While on film sets, Watson and her peers were tutored for up to
five hours a day; despite the focus on filming she maintained high
academic standards. In June 2006, Watson took GCSE examinations in 10
subjects, achieving eight A* and two A grades; she was a target of
friendly ridicule on the Harry Potter set because of her straight-A exam
results. She received A grades in her 2008 A level examinations in English
Literature, Geography and Art, and in her 2007 AS (advanced subsidiary)
level in History of Art.
After leaving school, Watson took a gap year to film Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows beginning in February 2009, but said she "definitely
want[ed] to go to university". Despite numerous contradictory news
stories, some from highly-reputable sources, claiming that she would
"definitely" attend Trinity College, Cambridge, Columbia University, Brown
University or Yale University, Watson was reluctant to commit publicly to
any one institution, saying that she would announce her decision first on
her official website. In interviews with Jonathan Ross and David Letterman
in July 2009, she confirmed that she was planning to study liberal arts in
the United States, saying that Ė having missed so much school as a child
for filming Ė the "broad curriculum" of American higher education appealed
to her more than British universities, "where you have to just choose one
thing to study for three years". In July 2009, after a second storm of
rumour, The Providence Journal reported that Watson had "grudgingly
admitted" that she had chosen Brown University, located in Providence,
Rhode Island. Watson defended her attempts to avoid announcing her choice
of university Ė accidentally slipped by Daniel Radcliffe and producer
David Heyman, during interviews publicising the release of Harry Potter
and the Half-Blood Prince, and finally confirmed in September 2009 after
the university's academic year had started Ė saying that she "want[ed] to
be normal. ... I want to do it properly, like everyone else. As long as I
donít walk in and see ... Harry Potter posters everywhere, Iíll be fine."
Watson's work in the Harry Potter series has earned her more than £10
million, and she has acknowledged she will never have to work for money Ė
in March 2009 she was ranked 6th on the Forbes list of "Most Valuable
Young Stars". However, she has declined to leave school to become a
full-time actress, saying "People canít understand why I donít want to ...
but school life keeps me in touch with my friends. It keeps me in touch
with reality." She has been positive about working as a child actress,
saying her parents and colleagues helped make her experience a positive
one. Watson enjoys a close friendship with her fellow Harry Potter stars
Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, describing them as a "unique support
system" for the stresses of film work, and saying that, after working with
them for the ten years of the film series, "they really are like my
Watson lists her interests as dancing, singing, field hockey, tennis, art
and fly fishing, and she donates to WTT (Wild Trout Trust). She describes
herself as "a bit of a feminist", and admires fellow actors Johnny Depp
and Julia Roberts.
[in response to a reporter asking her whether she always wore
pigtails]: I never wear pigtails, I wear plaits.
[Hardest scene]: Neville comes up to me with his toad, Trevor, and
says, "Do you want to kiss Trevor goodnight?" Every time he did this
I burst into laughter. I was supposed to give him an "I hate you"
look, but I couldn't help myself. It took me about eight takes to
It was unbelievable seeing me as an action figure! In a few months,
toddlers all around the country will be biting my head off!
[On kissing her co-stars]: Oh my God, no, no chance, no chance.
That's not in my contract!
My friends are all really nice about my fame, they're just curious
really, they ask lots of questions.
[On how her character, Hermione Granger, has matured]: She's rock
and roll. She's feisty. Girl power!
[On reporters asking the same questions over and over]: That's the
good thing about them! They all ask exactly the same questions and
you can say exactly the same answers! You don't have to think, you
can just stand there like a broken record going LALALA.
[on working with boys]: I like being around mixed company. Dan
(Daniel Radcliffe) and Rupert (Rupert Grint) definitely make their
fair share of cheeky comments about me being girlie, but it's all in
It took me three films to get Hermione in jeans. To get out of the
robes with the tights and the itchy jumpers. Whoo-hoo!
I hope my head doesn't get very big. I'm just going to keep my feet
on the ground, stick to friends and family and try and lead a normal
I love fashion. I think it's so important, because it's how you show
yourself to the world.
[On being a known actress]: Most people are really nice but some
stare, like you're some kind of zoo exhibit and not a real person
with real feelings. Even when you take away all the glamour and
attention and premieres and everything, it still comes down to the
fact that I'm acting.
Hermione uses all these big long tongue twister words, I don't know
what she's going on about half the time!
I could be 100 years old and in my rocker, but i'll still be very
proud that I was part of the Harry Potter films.
[On her co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, who play Harry
and Ron]: More than just friends, they've become like brothers. Or
sisters, I don't know. In fact, I don't see them like normal boys. I
mean that I cannot imagine me going out with one of them. For me,
they are like my best friends. I can laugh and talk about everything
with them without any taboo. I really like them a lot.
[On other roles]: Now that I've played the snotty, bossy, posh
Hermione Granger, I'd like to play some American high school girl. I
want to play something totally different. I want to play every kind
of character and every point of view, but I'm probably going to be
playing Hermione for a while.