Emma Watson's interview in ELLE

Emma Watson's interview in ELLE

TEXT of the interview for those who can't read the scans:

I arrive at Leavesden Studio near Warford in Hertfordshire at 11:30 on a Tuesday morning. Home to the Harry Potter cast and crew for 10 years now, it’s an old aerodrome that houses the film’s impressive sets but looks - and an closer inspection is – entirely devoid of glamour. Emma has recently moved out of her mother’s house in Oxford and into a Hampstead flathouse, so she’s now only a 30-minute drive away. Filming on the final two movies of the series (the seventh book is being split into two screenplays) is well underway; leaving her working six days a week for the forcenable (?); so the mountain has come to Mo……(?). I’m sitting in the canteen when, suddenly; she’s here, hovering over me and grinning shyly.

In the flesh, she’s aristocratically beautiful. Willowy thin with perfect, youthful skin naturally flushed, and those to-die-for strong slanted eyebrows. Her youth is …….(??) by her clothes; fresh from a morning of filming (it’s the Totherham Court Road café scene today) she’s head-to-toe in Hermione-wear – brown cords, a fitted tee and a zip-up sweatshirt. For many; Emma Watson is Hermione Granger and Hermione Granger is Emma Watson. The lines are so blurred as to have become non-existent.

The whole world sees Emma Watson as a well-brought-up schoolgirl, JK Rowling’s magical novels have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide; the series of film adaptations will, with this month’s release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, claim from James Bond its place as the highest-growing film series ever made. Before she even took her driving test, Emma was an action figure, and featured on poster, stickers, Photoshopped Youtubes video (hahahhahah), Top Trump card games and even a Lego character. It’s the kind of success nine-years old Emma auditioning for the part at her Oxford school, could not have imagined, but it’s also the kind of success that, at 19, makes you all too aware that this might be as good as it gets.

For the moment, then, university is the focus “I’m so excited, Living in London, it’s hard to be anonymous. But hopefully on some campus somewhere, I’ll fade into the background a bit” she says.

For the moment, then, university is the focus “I’m so excited, Living in London, it’s hard to be anonymous. But hopefully on some campus somewhere, I’ll fade into the background a bit” she says. The relative anonymity of America is clearly a draw “I’m very aware that with Cambridge, people would find that interesting Cambridge it so high profile in itself and then on top of that, people don’t really go out in Cambridge because it’s so small, so I’ll be going out in London and then that’s just the same thing I definitely am attracted to the State for that reason”.

For Emma, university means leaving behind two families-her parents, brother and sisters, and the people here in Wartford, with whom she’s spent more than half her life. “It’s going to sound dramatic, but I feel like its going to be my life over as I know it. My whole life has been about Harry Potter and then all of that will shut down and I don’t know what it will be like. I go to university in September- I’ll be going bit and bobs (??) at Christmas, but September feels like my cut-off point, the moment when I’ll really stop”
While her privacy may have been curtailed (??), the Harry Potter legacy undoubtedly has its benefits. On her 18th birthday last April, Emma took control of an estimated £ 10 million. Rather than celebrate her fortune with a spending spree, she took a course at exclusive bank Coutts on how to manage her millions. “My dad never told me how much money I was earning. Then when I hit 18, he was like, ‘I want you to have a feel for what it’s worth and what you can do with it.’ The course was interesting I’m glad I did it, but the truth is I’d just like to pretend that it [the money] doesn’t exit. It’s amazing how many children are aware from such a young age about money being important or supposedly impressive. Around the age of 13 or 14, kids used to come up to me and say; ‘You the girl on Harry Potter? How much do you make?’”

So is she spending any of it? On clothes, perhaps? “I’m really interested in Fairtrade fashion and organic cotton, but it’s hard because, to be honest, the stuff’s kind of ugly or really plain. I’m actually quite a tomboy, I love a blazer with jeans and some pumps. I like that French kind of simple style, like Agnes B and I love black tights. Anything with black tights is good. I went to Uniglo for the first time recently and that was great, so cool.”

No outlandish splurges, then? An impractical sports car or a wardrobe stocked with strong shoulder Balmain? “I really don’t have time to spend my money. Sometimes my bank manager calls me to say: ‘You haven’t used your card in a while and now you’re using it- no one’s stolen it, have they?’ I’ll happily fork out money for a nice meal, though. I’m a big food fan, I eat healthy but when I’m tired I want Pizza Hut or McDonald’s. When I get back in the evening, my flatmate and I are so knackered that we can’t be bothered to make anything to eat, so I’ll have toast for dinner.”

If that all sound a little bit too normal, not at all like the life of an increasingly A-list actress, that pretty much sums up the very unstarry Miss Watson. A night in at Emma’s place sounds much like our own. “I’m obsessed with Gossip Girl. It’s so wrong that Nate and Blair are getting back together. Blair is definitely the more interesting character. If I were going to play either of them [Blair or Serena], I would play Blair. I love watching America’s Next Top Model too. My flatmate, Sophie, is in the British version of the series- it make it extra tame(?). My other guilty pleasure is Twilight (noooooooo Emma noooooooo), I love those books. My friend and I read them back to back. This is so sad, but I literally felt depressed when I finished reading them because I thought, “Oh my God, what am I going to do now?”

When it comes to partying this 19 years old is certainly not of the ilk that stumbles drunkenly into the eager lenses of waiting paparazzi, stockings laddered, eyeliner smuggled (?), only too eager to spill the proverbial beam on no-hold-barred blogs. “The best nights out I’ve had have been at Cheesy nightclubs in Oxford,” she smiles. “As soon as I’m going out, it’s like a bomb has exploded in my room. I’ve got clothes, make-up, my straightener…I love sharing clothes with my flatmate and getting ready together. If I hadn’t been an actress I would have happily been a make-up artist. I love make-up. Being around make-up girls all the time you pick up loads of stuff- I’ll go down there at lunch and use some of their products. I love doing up my flatmate before she’s goes out, like a Girl’s World.”

There are some glamorous nights out, but so far they’ve proved to be the exception rather than the rule. “I had a really great night after the Bafta; I’ve never stayed out that late before. We went to the Double Club in Islington. It’s got this great, relaxed atmosphere and it’s really arty” You wore Temperley London…”Yes. The head of costume here said. ‘You were doing so well, dressing so young and then you pull out this long black Temperley dress- what were you thinking?’ But it was the Bafta’s. You have to wear full-length-there are rules [Shrugs] I liked it, I thought it was a bit bohemian.

“Doing well is something of an understatement when it comes to the recent improvement in Emma’s wardrobe, “I’d always gone and bought my premiere clothes myself with my mum, but no one designs premiere dress for 12-years-old girls. I’d be in Harrods and my mother-would be like, ‘Take that off, you look like you’re going to a wedding.’” That all change though, thanks to a certain Mr. Karl Lagerfeld.

“Before the fourth (fifth?) premiere, I’d just signed up for the model agency Storm, and they called me to say. ‘Chanel would love to lend you clothes.’ I was so excited.” Her relationship with Lagerfeld as well [as the seemingly steady stream of Chanel clothing at her disposal, the two have met a few times, including a photoshoot in Lagerfeld's own studio] has done much to elevate Emma’s status in style circles, although both parties have ……..(?) denied the persistent rumours that she is to become a face of the brand. Unrivalled at unearthing future fashion stars; can Lagerfeld explain what it is that is so special about her? “I always expect her to be unexpected” he says. “She is really natural in her way to be. She doesn’t have to think about her style.”

“Karl’s so nice” Emma complements right back. “When he photographed me, we talked about books and literature, he knows so much it’s intimidating. He has this bookshop in Paris and you have to go through it [to get to the studio], I could spend days in there. He told me that he doesn’t keep his books in any kind of order because that way he finds books he’s forgotten about when he’s looking for something else.”

But there’s been less Chanel of late, more now, edgy labels such as the short, sexed-up, see-through paneled William Tempest dress that so impressed at The Tale of Dexparaux premiere. “I’m young and ideally, I want to wear young designers who are coming up with new and interesting ideas,” she says “I first saw William at Fashion Fringe [in March 2009] Alexa [Chung] was sat to my left and we both loved William’s show, but he didn’t win – he was robbed!”

During the autumn/winter 2009 shows, the ELLE team grew accustomed to finding Emma front row, noting a geometric-print Giambatista Valli dress here, a silver Chanel bomber jacket there. “I love the spectacle of it [the front row]. The show I enjoyed the most were Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon.” Both were on the London schedule-a coincidence? “There was a really great energy about the London shows and I felt so much more comfortable there. I literally got the Tube, walked from the Tube station to the venue with my stepmum and then walked straight to my seat. In Paris, as soon as I got out of my car I was hounded, I couldn’t even walk. In London I felt like I was there to see the clothes, but in Paris…I just didn’t realize how full-on it was going to be, I don’t think I’d ever do that again. I’ll stick to London and one or two key shows like Christopher Kane, I loved Christopher Kane. I actually met him before the show and he is so sweet, so down to earth.”

The designers themselves seem just as taken with Emma.

(Christopher) Kane describes meeting her at a fashion event before the pair headed off to party at Bungalow 8. “We had a lot of fun” he says, “Emma reminds me of stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. She has a touch of “Lotita” charm combined with sophistication beyond her years. She always looks flawless.”

William Tempest agrees, “She definitely has a quality of old Hollywood about her-very elegant and sophisticated but fashion forward at the same time.”

So taken in Burberry’s creative director, Christopher Bailey, that the actress is the only woman to appear in the label’s always impressively cast advertising campaign this season, “Emma was the obvious choice,” says Bailey. “She has a classic beauty, a great character and a modern edge.”

It’s fair to say that the thorny issue of public perception is one that Emma has given a good deal of thought to. Yet, there’s an element of typical teenager, prone to weighting up the meaning of life, the universe and everything. But for a woman who centered the collective consciousness at an earlier age than Britney, Lily or even the more recent Miley, she’s surprisingly switched (?) on. “I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself. I want to avoid becoming too styled and too “done” and too generic. You see people as they go through their career and they just become more and more like everyone else. They start out with something individual about them but it gets lost. Natalie Portman is an exception. I’m in awe of how she’s handled herself. And Agyness Deyn is cool, really individual. Her style isn’t necessarily mine, but I respect that she is retaining her own look.”

Emma’s image has been fairly one-dimensionally portrayed, conjuring up preconception of a smart, reserved public schoolgirl; in other words, a real-life Hermione. “I don’t think I am as black and white as [the media] like to make me out. I’m not you classic public schoolgirl because I’ve been brought up here, in Wartford. And I’ve met and worked with people from a million different backgrounds. Everyone’s going to think different things about me and I can’t control that. You can please everyone. And that’s something that I’m learning. I’m so desperate to please people and for people to like me that in a way I feel like I’m not cut out for this business. At the moment I’m really aware of what people think I should do and what looks like the right thing to do; the kind of expected path I should be taking. It’s hard having that kind of pressure, that weight of expectation. But I’m going to try to do what I want to do and what’s right for me and put other people’s opinions to the back of the picture.”

Two opinions she will be taking into account are those of her parents. Both lawyers, they separated when Emma was five, and she divided her childhood between their homes and the Watford studio, Emma has one younger brother, Alex and twin half-sisters who played the roles of the Fossils babies in 2007’s adaptation of Noel Strafford’s Ballet Shoes, Emma’s first non-Potter project. The set-up sound more than civil, with Emma referring regularly to all the members of the family. She’s saving her clothes to pass on to the twins and supplements her own wardrobe with pieces from both her mother and stepmother’s closets. “My stepmother has these great thigh-length leather boots, but she’ll only let me borrow them if I’m really nice,” she smiles. Her parent’s example is undoubtedly an influence on Emma’s decision to pursue university rather than line up the next acting role. “Both my parents were lawyers, academics I didn’t watch film. My dad didn’t like TV. I never really had idols growing up or poster on my wall. I guess the Spice Girls were as near as I ever got to that.”

Despite her misgiving about the ending of this film juggernaut that has been her life for so long, Emma is clearly itching to taste to corresponding freedom. “AT the moment I feel like I need to go away and figure out what I want to do and be myself for a bit,” she says. “Does that sound strange? I need university to give me that break. People think because I’m going to university I’m never going to act again, but it’s actually me…I want to…figure out how I feel about everything first. Maybe I’ll keep acting, maybe I won’t. I just want to find something where I feel I have to do this. Maybe that’ll happen when I read a script. It felt like that with Hermione, I want to feel like that again.”

With that, Emma’s off. She’s already resisted the prompting of her assistant for the past 15 minutes and she has an urgent appointment with Harry and Ron on Totterham Court Road. Who’s that girl? She’s a woman who may not know exactly what she want just yet, but is certainly on her way.

Behind-the-scenes video of the photoshoot: