What’s Next for Emma Watson?

As BBC journalist Lizo Mzimba noted on Twitter, today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the casting announcement of the Golden Trio. Believe it or not, it has been that long since the world was first introduced to Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson.

Since August 21, 2000, we’ve watched the three actors grow both literally (with their having gone through puberty in the public eye) and professionally. Emma Watson took to her own Twitter, sharing that – 15 years later – she would be wrapping her role as Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast:

“Auspicious,” indeed. In an article titled “At last, Harry Potter and friends step out of the shadows,” British newspaper the Guardian quoted Lorenzo di Bonaventura, then-President of Worldwide Theatrical Production at Warner Bros., as saying,

We searched through all Muggle and [w]izard households to find just the right young people to play Harry, Ron and Hermione, and we have found them in Dan, Rupert and Emma.

He added,

These are magical roles, the kind that come around once in a lifetime, and they required talented children who can bring magic to the screen.

With the legacy of Harry Potter firmly cemented, it’s safe to say that di Bonaventura was correct. Looking solely at Emma Watson’s career, it’s amazing how closely it has mirrored that of her character, Hermione Granger.

When director Alfonso Cuarón took the helm of 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he asked Daniel, Rupert, and Emma to write essays on their respective characters. In an interview with BBC, the three weighed in.

Daniel said that he, Rupert, and Emma ended up being “freakishly like” their characters. He explained,

Emma hates me to bring this up, but I wrote one page of A4 about Harry, and Emma[…] well, Emma wrote about 20 pages.

In that same interview, Emma was asked, “What’s it like being the cleverest witch, and do you think that girls are cleverer than boys in real life, anyway?” Her response?

Oh, definitely! I love playing Hermione; she is so charismatic. She’s a fantastic role to play, especially in this third one. […] She’s taken two films of people being rude to her, being nasty to her, and either pretending that she didn’t hear or just saying ‘forget about it.’ But in this one it’s a real turning point for her because she says, ‘That’s it, I’m not taking this any more!’ She punches Malfoy, [and] she storms out on teachers. She’s rock and roll, she’s girl power, she’s feisty in this one.

Emma continued to show her girl power when she nearly chose her education over the final Harry Potter films. In one 2010 article from MTV News, Emma recalled,

It was mainly to do with scheduling, and I had a real fight on my hands to ensure that I was able to go to university, and I was able to sit my A-levels because the schedule they handed to me didn’t really allow for any of that, and I just wasn’t prepared to let it go.

Fortunately, though, Emma said that Warner Bros. made some adjustments:

They essentially moved the Harry Potter film schedule around my exam dates, which was amazing. It all worked out.

When the film series wrapped in 2010, Emma was quoted in an article from People as saying,

I feel like someone is dying. This kind of love and recognition is just incredible. It is also really emotional for me. I am proud.

Around the same time, Emma began modeling work for British fashion house Burberry and confirmed that she would be attending Brown University, from which she graduated in 2014 with a degree in English Literature. On top of the demands of an Ivy League education, she added modeling work for Lancôme and roles in such films as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Bling Ring, and Noah.

Since then, Emma has been named a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, championing the organization’s HeForShe campaign toward gender equality. In a speech for HeForShe, she said,

I invite you to step forward, to be seen, and I ask yourself, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’

With roles in Regression, Colonia, and most recently, Beauty and the Beast, the amount of work that Emma has taken on in every respect is admirable. She has gone from playing a teenage witch who grows to realize that “there are more important things” than books and cleverness to a well-spoken young woman who is working to erase the obstacles in the way of women around the world.

It has been a magical 15 years, Emma. So you tell us: What’s next?

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