To date she remains best known for her portrayal of Hermione, the driven student and resolutely loyal witch from the successful Harry Potter series.
But brace yourself for a whole new Emma Watson. There she is in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, all sweet and giddy, speaking with an American accent as Sam, a lost soul trying to find her footing as a high school senior.
The movie was Watson’s first major project after Harry Potter and she chose it precisely because Sam was so different from anyone she’d ever imagined playing.
“It was way out of my comfort zone. This movie has helped me shake off a lot of the fear and restrictions I put on myself,” she said at the Toronto International Film Festival last month.
“I’m slowly breaking down the barriers and giving myself permission to be an actress.”
The eight Harry Potter films she starred in have already made her rich and world-famous, but the 22-year-old British actress shares Hermione’s studiousness, having spent two years at Brown University before launching into a busy film schedule.
Yet, for all the worldliness that comes with her Hollywood experience, Watson said that growing up in a bubble of celebrity has left her feeling like a child when it comes to many things.
“There are some parts of me that feel very old, and then there are other parts of me that are probably going through adolescence,” Watson told USA Today.
Most importantly, however, her work ethic is grown-up. She has shot six films in two years – all part of Watson’s mission to challenge herself by being as anti-Hermione as possible in her post-Potter endeavors.
Next year, in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, she plays a celebrity-obsessed Los Angeles teen who burgles the homes of Hollywood stars with a group of like-minded friends.
And she faces the apocalypse (as herself) at James Franco’s house in the upcoming comedy The End of the World.
After a decade as Hermione, Watson aims to give Harry Potter fans a taste of what she iscapable of outside the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
“I hope what they can see is that I am able to transform, that there are other sides of me that perhaps they haven’t seen yet, and that they might allow me a little bit of room,” Watson said.
“I mean, just doing American really is different. People have said to me that they keep forgetting it’s me when they see the movie, which for me is more than enough. That’s a success in itself for me, really.”