The conclusion of the “Harry Potter” film series didn’t just mark Hermione Granger’s graduation from Hogwarts. It signaled actress Emma Watson’s transition into bringing her own brand of acting magic into more adult roles.
Watson’s latest project, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” showcases the 22-year-old British actress’ impressive potential not to be pigeonholed following her decade-long stint in one of the most popular film franchises in history. Playing a free-spirited but troubled American teenager in 80s-era Pittsburgh who becomes the object of affection of an introverted high schooler (Logan Lerman) wrestling with his own inner demons, Watson demonstrates significant range and star power.
“I'm excited about it because I'm so proud of the movie,” Watson says. “It's got so much heart. It's so funny, and it feels very real. And, yeah, I'm just excited for people to see me do something different!”
The film’s story is derived from the 1999 novel of the same name written by Stephen Chbosky, who went on to co-create and executive produce the CBS series “Jericho” before writing and directing the adaptation of his book. “Working with Emma was one of the great honors I've had professionally but also personally,” says Chbosky. “We became very close during the filming – I consider her like a little sister now – and so it wasn't so much helping her so much as giving her the permission to do the thing that she's been dying to do since maybe the third 'Harry Potter' movie: she's so great as Hermione, but to show this other side of her.”
Watson admits she embarked on the film with a slight bit of trepidation stepping away from her most familiar role (she also had a grown-up supporting role in last year’s “My Week With Marilyn”), but felt compelled to take the project on. “I mean, obviously it's a very different tone and a very different subject matter to 'Harry Potter',” she says. “But I just fell in love with the role, and I fell in love with Steve. And so, yeah, I don't know – it's really weird. I just instinctually knew when I finished [“Deathly Hallows, Part 2”] I was going to do this one. And I don't know why. I couldn’t reason it particularly.”
“She was ready day one,” adds Chbosky. “There were a few scenes in the 'Harry Potter' franchise that really jumped out at me – in some of the later movies, especially. But it was meeting her [that convinced me]. I don't know how she is even half as down-to-earth as she actually is, and as serious as she is about doing good work and as serious as she is about showing other sides of herself…I couldn't have asked for a better performance from her.”