Emma Watson talks ‘life after Harry Potter’

With the last of the “Potter” films hitting cinema this TODAY, we’re asking some of the cast about their reflections, fave moments and what is ahead for the 20-something actors after ten years playing the same iconic characters. First, our beloved Hermione:

Emma Watson at the UK Premiere of "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Emma, how are you feeling now that it’s over?

Emma: It’s so strange. I can’t articulate it. Emotional overall but a real sense of excitement about the next chapter of my life starting but I feel sad and nostalgic about all of this coming to an end. It’s been such a huge part of my life that it’s almost scary to acknowledge that there is going to be so much change.

Do you think that playing Hermione all these years made you who you are today? Did she rub off on you?

Emma: Yeah. I was trying to figure that out the other day; how much of me went into her or how much or her went into me? The line is really blurred but I know one thing for sure. Through playing her, she’s such an incredible person and being in that body for eight or nine hours a day, I’m positive it pushed me to stretch and make myself a better person.
Even at your audition for the part when you were nine, you were walking around as Hermione so you were already a little bit of her even then.
Emma: Oh, I one hundred percent was! I had that same eager to please, eager to do well feeling; that same bossiness and attitude toward boys I think. We had and still do have a lot in common.

Very young Emma as Hermoine Granger in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

List more character traits you share with Hermione.
Emma: Not so much now, but I guess an earnestness, eager to please and do the right thing. I’m terrified of getting into trouble. I’m very heady in the same way she is, kind of constantly thinking three or four moves ahead. I try and intellectualize a lot, which she does well, obviously. She’s very determined. I am as well. I like to think that I’m very loyal in the same way she is. A bit of a feminist in the same way as she is and I will speak my mind in the same way that she does.
What would be your brief description of this last Potter film?
Emma: Satisfying. It wraps up everything so beautifully. It’s complete and feels really good. The best word to describe it is “apocalyptic”. It’s epic times four but it still has so much drama and heart. And, having read the book, you still feel like you don’t know what’s going to come next. I think that’s the beauty and genius of David Yates (director). He’s sooo nice. He made four Harry Potter movies and I’ve never heard him raise his voice once.

Talk about the very last scene you filmed and how you felt.

Emma: The last shot we did was kind of a strange moment where we dive into the fireplace in the Ministry of Magic. It’s actually in part one, not part two. And so Dan, Rupert and I, one by one, jumped onto these safety mats, basically. That was the shot, that was it, and it seemed kind of like a strange one to go out on, but actually David [Yates] made the point that we were leaping into the unknown. It was kind of a perfect metaphor for what we were all about to go into. I can’t tell you how I felt when we were shooting it. I think I was sort of numb.

Can you remember any special moments or scenes in this last one that touched you?

Emma: I was able to use a lot of my own genuine emotion that I felt about loss and all of it coming to an end. I was able to bring how I was feeling to the role. An example of that, the scene where we stand on the bridge after the battle and before we flash forward, I remember just really feeling exactly how Hermione would be feeling, just sort of like, “Wow. It’s all coming to an end. Look at everything we’ve achieved”. The set was actually built looking out over Leavesden Studios, which is where I grew up, essentially. I spent the last 12 years there. So, yeah, not much acting required on that one really. It was all there for me.
Would a new challenge for you be perhaps singing on Broadway?
Emma: Yes! Dan is so ballsy. Amazing. I would love to do something on Broadway. I think I need to pluck up some more courage, but I love to sing.
How have you changed in the last ten years playing Hermione?
Emma: You go from the age of nine to 21 and so it’s hard to say what’s the natural process of just growing up. I went from being a nine-year-old school girl to a girl having a job and I’ve learned how to be an actress and how films are made, how to do interviews hopefully. I guess I always had a strong sense of who I am, but it’s nice coming through this and feeling like I still managed to maintain my own sense of identity away from something that potentially could’ve been overwhelming. So, I guess that I’m glad that I had that. I was quite a stubborn young girl, I guess.
Do you have a favorite of all the films?
Emma: The last two, part one and part two really stand apart from all the rest. The quality is amazing and my role and the depth, I guess how much darker they get really gave me a chance to stretch myself as an actress and really feel like I was acting. The first however many years, I didn’t actually feel as though I was doing much acting at all. I feel like I can say that I’m an actress and really believe in that (now).

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

You have a new movie. What is next for you?
Now, I’m just reading, reading, reading and trying to find a script that speaks to me and that I really care about and finding great directors to work with who will keep teaching me. I’m excited about the idea of being an actress now in a way that I wasn’t so sure of before.
You mentioned going to school in the fall? Back to Brown or…?
Emma: I’m going to Oxford in the fall to study English for a year. Just to explain, I haven’t left Brown. I’m still enrolled at Brown, but I’m doing my third year abroad (at home for me). So, I’ll go back to the states to do my last year. I took a semester off, but my A Level credits actually count as an advanced placement this semester so I’m no farther behind.
The Potter films have made you famous world-wide. Is there any moment where you realized “I’m known everywhere”?
Emma: It was when I was in a shantytown in Bangladesh and a boy stopped me in the street and said, ‘You’re the girl from Harry Potter’. There’s nowhere in the world that I can go, it feels, that isn’t somehow touched by this film franchise. It reaches the furthest corners of the earth and in the least expected places. I was like, ‘Wow. I really can’t go anywhere’.
Are you handling the fame better as you get older?
Emma: It became easier once I sort of came to terms with it and accepted it, definitely. And I feel fortunate in that I’ve never really known what it’s like to have total freedom and anonymity. It’s not as though I had it and then all of a sudden it got taken away from me. It’s sort of something that I grew up with, grew up knowing, something that happened gradually and I haven’t really known anything else. I guess that’s a blessing.
(teen hollywood)