Who Is Emma Watson?
Emma Watson was born on April 15, 1990, in Paris, France, but raised in England. The actress got her big break as a child with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, growing up on screen as she reprised her role of Hermione Granger through the franchise's eight films. Watson went on to enjoy success in the fashion and modeling industries, and continued to prove her abilities as an actress with roles in films like My Week with Marilyn, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Beauty and the Beast.
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born on April 15, 1990, in Paris. Her parents, both British lawyers, are Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson. Her brother, Alex, was born three years later. Her parents divorced when Watson was 5, and she moved back to Oxfordshire in England with her mother and brother.
Watson attended the Stagecoach Theatre Arts school at Oxford. She studied singing, acting and dancing, and performed in school plays. Her natural instinct for acting first came out when she won a poetry competition for reciting James Reeves' "The Sea" at age 7.
Playing Hermione Granger in 'Harry Potter'
Watson had never acted professionally when her theater teachers suggested her to agents looking to cast an upcoming movie based on the first novel of the best-selling Harry Potter series. A 9-year-old Watson auditioned eight times for the role that would make her an international star. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who was deeply involved in the film process to make sure it stayed true to the book, wanted Watson involved in the project.
Watson sufficiently impressed casting agents and the film's producers, and won the role of Hermione Granger, Harry Potter's smart, bossy best friend and voice of reason. Harry Potter was portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint was cast as Ron Weasley, Harry's other best friend. The trio of British child actors would become known around the globe for their roles as young wizards fighting a battle between good and evil, beginning with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in November 2001.
Watson's film debut was an enormous success: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone earned a record-breaking $33.3 million on its opening day in the United States, en route to grossing $975 million worldwide. It was nominated for three Academy Awards and seven BAFTA Awards, with Watson receiving critical praise to cement her status as an up-and-coming star.
For the next decade Watson stayed busy filming the Potter series. She reprised the role of Hermione for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002 and for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004, and continued to star in the eight-part series through the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, in 2011.
Although they spent their adolescence on film sets, Watson and costars Radcliffe and Grint kept up with their lessons, with five hours of tutoring each day. Watson took high school equivalency exams, and made high scores in every subject. She took a year off from school to film the final two Harry Potter movies, but maintained that she was committed to furthering her education.
Watson tried hard to shed her child star image, one so closely tied to the Potter franchise. “I have lived in a complete bubble. They found me and picked me for the part. And now I’m desperately trying to find my way through it,” she said in an interview with Vogue in 2011.
Fashion and Education
As a teenager coming of age as an established movie star, Watson also emerged as a fashionista, her style catching the eye of many major figures in the fashion industry. "I love fashion. I think it's so important, because it's how you show yourself to the world," she once told Teen Vogue.
In September 2009 Watson announced that she was working with People Tree, a fashion label that promotes fair trade. Watson catapulted into the world of high fashion and modeling when she was chosen as the face of Burberry's Autumn/Winter 2009 collection, and again for the 2010 Spring/Summer collection.
Watson took fans by surprise when she chopped off her long locks, and debuted a pixie haircut in August 2010. The new 'do helped her shed the child star image of her Potter days, and in July 2011, Watson graced the cover of Vogue. The next month, she starred in a commercial for Lancôme perfume.
Maintaining her commitment to her education, Watson enrolled as a freshman at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in the fall of 2009. Watson claimed she chose an American university over a British education because the American system allows students to study many subjects at once. Brown was also a place, Watson said, where she could more easily blend in. “I want to be normal,” she said. "I really want anonymity."
In March 2011 Watson revealed that she was deferring her schooling to work on the Potter finale. In July she announced plans to return to Brown for a year to complete her degree after studying at Oxford University in the fall. She graduated from Brown in 2014 with an English degree. That same year, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.
'Ballet Shoes,' 'The Tale of Despereaux'
Although Watson became closely identified with the character of Hermione Granger, as an adolescent the young actress wanted to be seen as more. In 2007 she starred in another film based on a children's novel, Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild. The film aired on BBC One, garnering decent reviews with Watson in the lead role. In 2008 she branched out into animated work, voicing the character of Princess Pea in The Tale of Despereaux.
'Beauty and the Beast'
After the conclusion of Harry Potter, Watson was cast in My Week with Marilyn (2011), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), The Bling Ring (2013), This Is The End (2013) and Noah (2014). In 2017 she played the lead role of Belle in the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which became the highest-grossing live action musical of all time.
That year Watson won the MTV Movie & TV Awards' inaugural gender-neutral award for Best Actor in Movie. “MTV’s move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone,” said Watson. “But to me, it indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories.”
'The Circle,' 'Little Women'
Also in 2017 Watson joined Tom Hanks and John Boyega for the thriller The Circle, which earned middling reviews despite its strong cast. Next up for the actress was a leading role in Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women, set for a Christmas Day 2019 release.
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