Emma Watson on new films, playing Belle, directing ambitions
Emma Watson is featured in the May issue of Total Film magazine, where she discusses her new films, Colonia Dignidad and Regression, as well as the challenge of playing Belle in the upcoming live action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
The actress, who famously launched the hugely successful HeForShe gender equality campaign last year, spoke of knowing of the responsibility that came with playing a character like Hermione in the Harry Potter films.
I think people were surprised that, even at a young age, I understood the immense power and the immense privilege of getting to play Hermione and that there was also a responsibility that came with getting to be in these huge films.
Watson is very aware of the fact that her private life is dissected on a daily basis by the press, but she wants to take control of her fame. She explained,
I just happened to be picked up and put in one of the biggest film franchises of all time. I wanted to feel active in what happened to me in my life. I wanted to be able to move myself into a place where I felt like I was driving my career and my life, rather than just responding to things that happened to me. I wanted to try to make it my own.
Her work for the United Nations also helped the actress reconsider fame.
Working for the UN […] helps me feel like the attention I received was being put to good use and put in a good place. Just having that makes sense. I think it’s being really careful about my choices and thinking about what work I should do and what work I should not do.
As we know, there are several big new roles on the horizon for Watson. She said,
It feels like I was building a portfolio over the last five, six years. Now I feel like I’m ready to be carrying films. I’m really just ready now to focus on my career full time and go full steam ahead. It’s exciting at the moment.
For her first leading role, Watson plays a woman driven to infiltrate Chilean cult settlement Colonia Dignidad in an attempt to rescue her boyfriend,
I got sent the script, and my agent sent me the Wikipedia page on Colonia Dignidad. I immediately went, ‘Oh my [G]od, I’m not sure!’ It was really, really, really heavy and really awful subject matter.
The script and the cast were key factors in her accepting the role. She explains,
the script was such a page-turner and so well written, and I’m really a big fan of Daniel Bruhl. I really like the director. It all just kind of felt right: a really intelligent female leading role character. It really challenged me.
Later this year, Watson will star alongside Ethan Hawke in the film Regression, which sees a detective (Hawke) investigating an abuse case concerning Watson’s character, who begins to uncover hints of a satanic cult spreading across America.
It’s difficult to talk about without giving it away. It’s sort of looking at how communities deal with superstition and myth and religion and fear. […] It’s a thinking man’s thriller-horror. I think when people come out of it, you’ll want half an hour to debrief.
Millions of Disney fans around the world rejoiced on hearing the news last month that the actress would star as Belle in a live-action remake of the classic 1991 film Beauty and the Beast. She explained what made her accept such an iconic role:
I sing, so that’s really unexpected. I’ve never had to do that for a film role before, and I think people will be interested to see me do something very different like that. It gives me a different challenge, really. That’s terrifying in and of itself!
Watson will also be playing the lead character in the upcoming multi-part fantasy series Queen of the Tearling. However, she will not only star in the film but she will also act as executive producer alongside Harry Potter producer David Heyman.
I really like it. For me, to want to sign up to a series again, I wanted to have a certain amount of autonomy and control within that. Working with David’s been great. I’d love to direct something one day. I’d love to produce as well, so it’s quite a nice way to start learning about that.
To read the full interview with the actress, be sure to pick up the latest edition of Total Film magazine, which hits newsstands in the UK today. Regression opens August 28, while Colonia Dignidad will hit theaters later this year. Beauty and the Beast is expected to open sometime in 2016.
Are you excited for Waton’s upcoming big screen roles, or have you been inspired by her recent work for the UN? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.