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Emma Watson

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (born 15 April 1990) is a French-born English actress who rose to prominence playing Hermione Granger, one of three starring roles in the Harry Potter film series. Watson was cast for the role of Hermione at the age of nine, having previously acted only in school plays. In 2007 she announced her involvement in two non-Harry Potter productions: the made-for-television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and an animated film, The Tale of Despereaux. Emma Watson was born in Paris, France, the daughter of Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both English lawyers. Watson has one French grandmother, and lived in Paris until the age of five, before she moved with her mother and younger brother Alex to Oxford, England, following her parents' divorce. From the age of six, Watson expressed a desire to become an actress. By the time she was ten, she had starred in several school plays, including Arthur: The Young Years and The Happy Prince. She had never acted in any professional capacity prior to being cast in the Harry Potter series. "I had no idea of the scale of the film [series]", she said in a 2007 interview with Parade magazine; "[if I had] I would have been completely overwhelmed". In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States), the film adaptation of British author J. K. Rowling's bestselling novel. Of paramount importance to the casting directors were the lead role of Harry Potter and the two supporting roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Harry's two best friends. Casting agents found Watson through her Oxford theatre teacher, and producers were impressed by her self-confidence. After eight auditions, producer David Heyman told Watson and fellow applicants Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint that they had been cast for the roles of Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Author Rowling was said to be supportive of Watson from the time of her first screen test. Watson's debut as Hermione came in 2001 with the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The film broke box office records for opening-day sales and opening weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. Critics praised the performances of the three leads, often singling out Watson for particular acclaim. The Daily Telegraph called her performance "admirable", and IGN said she "stole the show". Watson was nominated for five awards for her performance in Philosopher's Stone, winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress. A year later, Watson again starred as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second installment of the series. Though the film received mixed reviews because of its pace and direction, critics were generally positive about the performances. The Los Angeles Times said that Watson and her peers had matured between films, while The Times criticised director Chris Columbus for "under-employing" Watson's hugely popular character. Watson received an Otto Award from the German magazine Die Welt for her performance. In 2004, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released. Watson was appreciative of the more assertive role Hermione played in this film, calling her character "charismatic" and "a fantastic role to play". Although critics largely turned away from Radcliffe's acting talent, increasingly labelling him wooden, Watson continued to be praised; The New York Times lauded her performance, saying "Luckily Mr. Radcliffe's blandness is offset by Ms. Watson's spiky impatience. Harry may show off his expanding wizardly skills ... but Hermione ... earns the loudest applause with a decidedly unmagical punch to Draco Malfoy's deserving nose". Although Prisoner of Azkaban remains the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film as of January 2008, it was Watson's most successful, winning her two Otto Awards and the Child Performance of the Year award from Total Film. With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), both Watson and the Harry Potter film series reached new milestones. The film set new records for a Harry Potter opening weekend, a non-May opening weekend in the US, and an opening weekend in the UK. Critics praised the increasing maturity of Watson and her teenage co-stars; the New York Times called her performance "touchingly earnest". For Watson, much of the humour of the film sprang from the tension among the three lead characters as they matured. She said, "I loved all the arguing ... I think it's much more realistic that they would argue and that there would be problems." Nominated for three awards for Goblet of Fire, Watson won a bronze Otto Award. Later that year, Watson became the youngest person to appear on the cover of Teen Vogue. 2006 found Watson playing Hermione in The Queen's Handbag, a special mini-episode of Harry Potter in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday. The fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was an enormous financial success, setting a record, worldwide, opening-weekend gross of $333 million. Watson won the inaugural National Movie Award for Best Female Performance. As the fame of both the actress and the series continued to spread, Watson and fellow Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint left imprints of their hands, feet, and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on 9 July 2007. Despite rumours that she had refused to appear in the final two Harry Potter installments, Watson signed on for the sixth and seventh films in March 2007. She explained that the decision was a tough one, as filming would continue to dominate her life for the next three to four years, but in the end, "the pluses outweighed the minuses". Filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film, began in late 2007. Although Radcliffe and Grint have confirmed their commitment to an acting career, Watson has expressed uncertainty about her future plans. Speaking to Newsweek in 2006, she said, "Daniel and Rupert seem so sure ... I love to perform, but there are so many other things I love doing." In recent years, Watson's extended family has grown as her divorced parents both have children by new partners. Her father has identical twin girls, Nina and Lucy, and a four-year old son, Toby. Her mother's partner has two sons (Emma's step-brothers), who "regularly stay with [her]". Watson's full brother, Alexander, has appeared as an extra in two Harry Potter films, and her half-sisters were cast as the young Pauline Fossil in the BBC's Ballet Shoes adaptation. After moving to Oxford with her mother and brother, Watson attended The Dragon School, a private preparatory school, until June 2003 and then moved to Headington School, a private all-girl school, also in Oxford. While on film sets, Watson and her peers were tutored for up to five hours per day; despite the focus on filming she maintained high academic standards. In June 2006, Watson took GCSE examinations in 10 subjects, achieving eight A* and two A grades; she was a target of friendly ridicule on the Harry Potter set because of her straight-A exam results. The following year she received four A grades in her AS levels (advanced level examinations) in English, geography, art and history of art. Watson's work in the Harry Potter series has brought her more than £10 million, and she has acknowledged that she will never again have to work for money. However, she has declined to quit school to become a full-time actress, saying "People can’t understand why I don’t want to ... but school life keeps me in touch with my friends. It keeps me in touch with reality". She has been positive about the experience of working as a child actress, saying that her parents and colleagues helped make her experience a happy one. Watson enjoys a close friendship with her fellow Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, describing them as a "unique support system" for the stresses of film work. Watson lists her interests as dancing, singing, field hockey, tennis and art, and describes herself as "a bit of a feminist". She admires fellow actors Johnny Depp and Julia Roberts.

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