LONDON, England, U.K. (July 6, 2007) — Emma Watson had “Harry Potter” fans scared last October, when rumors surfaced that she may not reprise her role as Hermione Granger in the final two “Potter” films. But then came the good news that Watson would indeed stick it out to the end of the smash hit franchise (along with co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint). After all, who could accept another actress in the fan-favorite role at this late stage? Certainly not Emma!I have too many friends on the set, and I love Hermione too much, Watson reportedly told But that’s not to say that her decision to stay was an easy one.People underestimate what a big decision this was for me, said Watson. This is the next three or four years of my life. Being in the spotlight and the lack of freedom are the sort of things that held me back. People will see that as ungrateful, but you never know until youve walked in someone elses shoes. I love it, and thats why Im back, but I had to make it work for me.
Part of “making it work” is for Emma is the ability to maintain a sense of normalcy in her life. The oldest of seven siblings, Watson lives with her mother in Oxford, U.K., where she attends an all-girls school. People cant understand why I dont want to be a full-time actress, she said, but school life keeps me in touch with my friends. It keeps me in touch with reality. It makes me feel normal. Lets be honest: I have enough money never to have to work again, but I would never want that. Learning keeps me motivated.Emma shares that passion for learning with Hermione, and she’s proud that her booksmart character stands out as a role model for young women in this age of celebutantes and party girls.There are too many stupid girls in the media, Watson remarked. Hermiones not scared to be clever. I think sometimes really smart girls dumb themselves down a bit, and thats bad.It’s not only Hermione’s knowledge-seeking personality that Watson embraces — the self-proclaimed “feminist” also feels that the character is a positive influence on girls who worry about their physical appearance. When I was 9 or 10, I would get really upset when they tried to make me look geeky, but now I absolutely love it,” she explained. “I find its so much pressure to be beautiful. Hermione doesnt care what she looks like. Shes a complete tomboy. With half of her life spent in the world of the “Harry Potter” films (she’ll be twenty when the final movie hits theaters), Emma admitted that she doesn’t know what she will do when it’s all over. Will she seek out other roles as Radcliffe has? For now, it’s not a priority for her.I really havent been looking, she said, but added that she’d like to star in a period drama or sing in a musical — if it fits around her school schedule. “I wont know what to do with myself when it ends,” said Emma. “It will be the weirdest thing ever!