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October 2, 2008

Emma Watson, 6

Emma Watson is a French-born 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 acted only in school plays. From 2001 to 2007, she starred in five Harry Potter film instalments alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. She will return for the final two instalments: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due to be released in 2009, and the two parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Watson's work in 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 made-for-television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and an animated film, The Tale of Despereaux. Ballet Shoes was broadcast on December 26, 2007 to an audience of 5.2 million and The Tale of Despereaux, based on the book by Kate DiCamillo, was released in 2008.

In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known 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 two supporting roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Harry's two 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, respectively, as Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Rowling supported Watson from her first screen test.

Watson's debut as Hermione came in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. 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. Though the film received mixed reviews because of its pace and direction, critics were positive about the 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 Die Welt 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 turned away from Radcliffe's acting talent, labelling him wooden, Watson continued to be praised; 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 January 2008, Watson's personal performance won her two Otto Awards and the Child Performance of the Year award from Total Film.

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. 2006 found Watson playing Hermione in The Queen's Handbag, a special mini-episode of Harry Potter in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday.

The fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was a financial success, setting 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.

Watson's first non-Harry Potter role was in the 2007 TV film Ballet Shoes, as Pauline Fossil. 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 percent of the viewing total). The film received generally poor critical reviews, and The Times described 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 the film "was certainly well done, not least because it confirmed how good child actors are these days".

Watson starred in the animated film The Tale of Despereaux, released in December 2008. She voiced the character of Princess Pea in the film, a children's comedy which also starred Matthew Broderick and Tracey Ullman.

Although Radcliffe and Grint had confirmed their commitment to acting, Watson had expressed uncertainty about her future. Speaking to Newsweek in 2006, she said, "Daniel and Rupert seem so sure ... I love to perform, but there are so many other things I love doing."

However, despite rumours that she had refused the final two Harry Potter installments, Watson signed for the sixth and seventh films in March 2007. She explained the decision was tough as filming would continue to dominate her life for three to four years, but in the end "the pluses outweighed the minuses". Filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film, began in late 2007.

Birth name: Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson
Born: 15 April 1990
Origin: Paris, France
Occupation: Actress
Years active: 2001-present
Awards: UK Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards: Best Movie Actress; MTV Movie Awards: Best On-Screen Team


Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson


1 comment:

  1. Holy Shit! This woman is a Goddess.

    ReplyDelete