Unexpected Challenges Emma Watson Faced As Hermione Granger
From auditioning 9 times to wearing false teeth, portraying Hermione in the Harry Potter series wasn’t an easy feat for Emma Watson. But there were some fun times like the secret crush she had on a co-star. And no, it isn’t the one’s playing Harry or Ron! Let’s find out about Watson’s experiences while acting in Harry Potter.
Emma Watson’s audition for Hermione was in August 2000. Already 20 years ago, where did the time go?! Though the young actress took auditioning seriously, she never really thought she had any chance of getting the part. Apparently, she only tried out because her friends were doing it - and she thought it would make for a good laugh.
Watson explained why she got into acting, "As a child, I loved being onstage. I loved the lights ... the adrenaline. I even loved learning lines. I was completely obsessive." Thankfully, this dogged nature also motivated her to audition for her very first role. Well, that and a push from her theatre teachers.
They added her name to the casting agents’ hat when casting for Hermione was announced. You’d think Watson was cast immediately, knowing how perfect she is for the role, right? You’re wrong. Well, at just nine years old, Watson did get picked out of a line-up of hopefuls in her school gym.
However, she still had to audition for the part over eight times before bagging the role. Surprisingly, writer J.K. Rowling at first thought Watson was too pretty to play Hermione. Now isn’t that ironic. “To be honest, [Daniel] and Rupert and Emma are all too good looking. You know, the characters were geeky.” Luckily, she was mostly joking.
A MINI HERMIONE
While the whole casting process was stressful, Watson enjoyed it. She’d literally sit by the telephone in her house, waiting for each call. Reminds us of a certain bright witch! When they had her in for the ninth audition, she was like, “Wow, nine!" Finally, she was called in to producer David Heyman's office.
When he said she was the 'preferred' candidate for the role, she was ready to start obsessing over what ‘preferred' meant, but didn’t get the time. Before she could say “Immobulus” to freeze time, they’d taken a photograph of her, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. Soon after, their casting was broadcast on the Internet.
By the time she got back to her house, the press was already waiting outside so they had to move straight to a hotel. Hectic! Before being cast as Hermione, Watson had never done any professional acting. Regardless, she made it look totally easy. Aside from obsessing over things, there were other challenges she had to face on set.
GETTING INTO CHARACTER
Watson nails her role as Hermione. One reason is that she shares many similarities with her witty counterpart. We can imagine Watson going “it’s leviOsa, not leviosA” as Hermione. When she was growing up, Watson tried to separate herself from the character, but eventually stopped fighting the comparison.
"At first I was trying to say, 'I'm not like Hermione. I'm into fashion, and I'm much cooler.’ And then I came to a place of acceptance. There are obviously differences, but there are a lot of ways that I'm very similar," Watson explained. And there’s a funny story that confirms just how similar she’s to Hermione!
During the filming of The Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón gave Grint, Radcliffe and Watson an assignment. They had to discuss their characters in an essay. Just like Ron, Grint forgot to write it. Much like Harry, Radcliffe only turned in one page. And, you guessed it - Watson pulled a Granger move and handed in a sixteen-page essay!
A HAIRY DIFFERENCE
Well, that would make getting into character easy, right? But there are noticeable differences between the two. Starting with hair color! Watson has naturally blonde hair. In order to become Hermione, she had to dye it a darker shade. And if you notice, the stylists gave up cause by the end of the series, Hermione was rocking Watson’s natural hair.
Another change from the books is Hermione’s oversized front teeth. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. Poor Watson had to wear false teeth for a while in the first film, The Philosopher’s Stone. It’s clearly visible when she meets Harry and Ron for the first time aboard Hogwarts Express.
According to Chris Columbus, the director of the film, he realized she couldn’t keep acting with them in her mouth. Thank goodness for small realizations. That was just some of the physical changes Watson had to make to get into character. The actress has also admitted to “overdoing” her role.
Like Hermione, Watson was keen on knowing everything, to the point of it becoming quite tiresome for everyone else. She actually ended up reading and memorizing everyone else’s lines along with hers! The outtake clips from the first movie of her mouthing Radcliffe and Grint’s lines along with them are comedy gold.
Of course, Jimmy Kimmel dug this up in an interview. Watson was totally mortified. She responded, “This is actually quite traumatic for me because I created issues because of this. Because I would ruin takes. Chris would be like, Cut Emma you’re doing it again. As a result, the cast and crew had to reshoot Daniel and Rupert’s scenes.”
She added, “I couldn’t help myself! I was such a loser. I really love those books, I really wanted to do my job well. And I kinda overdid it.” We’re pretty sure it was endearing for her fellow co-stars. Especially, considering that Radcliffe used to have a little crush on her.
Yeah, Radcliffe once mentioned that between the filming of the third and the fifth film, they were the only "boys and girls" they knew, so he might have felt attracted towards her. However, it settled down. Watson on the other hand wasn’t immune to one co-star’s charms. And it’s not who you’d think!
SECRET CRUSH ON A CO-STAR
Well, obviously not so secret anymore. Did Watson have feelings for her on-screen boyfriend, Grint? Actually, it’s neither him nor Radcliffe. While filming the first two movies, Watson fell under the spell of Tom Felton. He played her rival house member, Draco Malfoy. Yup, Watson’s admitted to having had a huge crush on Felton when they were kids.
"We love a bad guy and he was a few years older and had a skateboard. And that just did it, really. He used to do tricks on it. He was so cool," Watson reminisced. Felton heard about it through the grapevine, and responded, "We've been friends for a long time and it's very flattering.”
Felton went on to add, “I had a little boy crush on Helena Bonham Carter [who plays Bellatrix]." Oops! Fast forward to today, and Watson and Felton are great friends who can laugh together at the folly of youth. There was one awful incident between the two, though while filming the series!
You’ll remember that one scene where Hermione threatens Draco and then punches him in the face. Let’s just say that behind the scenes, things were quite realistic. Instead of a “movie slap”, as Felton calls it, “She just went... and she just smacked me right across the face. Which completely took me, I didn't know what to do.”
Turns out it was just an accident, nothing more. When asked about it, Watson said, “I feel terrible. I feel really bad. I’m not really sure what I was thinking.” As you can see, the role demanded more than just book smarts but also some physical action. And romantic scenes…
FUNNY AND EMBARASSING MOMENTS
Like probably any child actress in the world, adult Emma Watson is embarrassed to watch her younger self in the movies. There’s one specific issue she had with Hermione that irked her. When she looked back at the earliest films, her hair is what she used to see at first. In fact, it was one of her major regrets.
"When I see the images of the first Harry Potter, I immediately think of how ugly my hair was.” Thankfully for her, the character experienced a transformation over the years. But the Beauty and the Beast actress also came to the realization that feeling beautiful has nothing to do with what you look like.
Hopefully, she’ll look past Hermione’s wild hair next time she rewatches. On another note, the cast had lots of fun while filming. Grint always missed his mark, making everyone laugh. He even shared how they had something special made for his broom. “They made this little seat for me, they kinda took a mould of my chair area.”
“He had a bum cast. I also had a bum cast,” Watson elaborated. When asked to recall one of her favorite lines, she said, “I'm going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed or worse, expelled.” Watson said she got so much joy out of that goody-two-shoes scene.
LAUGHING AWAY THE AWKWARDNESS
There were other scenes that turned out to be not just funny, but also super uncomfortable to film. Watson, Radcliffe and Grint basically grew up together and considered each other like siblings. So, it’s not surprising that it was pretty weird for Watson to kiss both of them while filming Deathly Hallows.
But her dance scene with Radcliffe in the 7th instalment turned out to be perfect, silly and spontaneous. What stands out in her mind, though, is the long-building kiss between Hermione and Ron. Behind the scenes, both the actors were dreading it. “Believe me, we both wanted it to be over equally as much as the other,” Watson said.
“We just got through it by laughing a lot. It was good, he’s a nice kisser,” she added. The other thing that helped make the scene more bearable? The director says it best, “[Watson] knows that rather than doing 27 takes, she knew if she committed really early… we’d get it.” More proof that she’s a smart girl.
EMMA’S DARK SECRET
But there’s always a dark side. Filming The Order Of The Phoenix made Watson want to quit the franchise. In her own words, "I hate to sound whiny but it was horrible, this has definitely been the most intense, gruelling period of film-making I’ve ever done.”
Thank goodness she stuck it out. But there’s something even more shocking. She almost quit acting all-together! Being only nine when she was cast, the instant worldwide fame was really tough on her. The cameras, the lights, it was just scary. On top of that, the young star struggled for years with feelings of guilt over having landed the role.
How so? Speaking candidly with Vogue, Watson admitted that because she was so burdened by the fame, she felt guilty and wondered if someone else shouldn’t have gotten the role. Perhaps one who would’ve handled the exposure better. As a kid, she couldn’t have known exactly what she was signing up for when she was cast.
As the fame grew and grew, she had to reorient herself mentally. "[There have] been moments when everything just got so big... [that] I almost had vertigo on my own life, and it got so big that I felt disconnected,” told Watson. That is such a tough experience for a young child to go through.
A NEED FOR EDUCATION
Luckily her family and friends have been her saving grace and kept her rooted. There’s another angle to why she almost quit acting, though. Watson actually wanted to finish her education and attend university like her Harry Potter counterpart. Ron Weasley would have probably said, “She needs to sort out her priorities,” right?
David Heyman, who produced the Harry Potter films, told Glamour, “Emma was academic and very keen in pursuit of schooling and was wrestling a bit more than the others. So each time there was a negotiation, it was not about a financial [matter], it really was about, ‘Do I want to be a part of this?'”
After the movies, Watson remained as committed to her education as ever. After graduating, she said, “I want to diversify a bit. I don’t wanna throw myself into another big blockbuster or another big franchise anytime soon. So smaller films, just small little interesting parts.” She’s since revealed that although it took her a long time, she’s really happy today.
And on the whole, Watson is grateful for her 10-year experience in the famous franchise. Her last day of filming was therefore an emotional one. "When they said, 'That's Emma down and Rupert wrapped,' it just hit me. I cried, cried, cried - it was really emotional and overwhelming," remembered Watson. Awww.
Watson honestly was the perfect Hermione Granger. And because of it, we get to see her brilliant acting career in films like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and Little Women. Which fact surprised you the most - or did you “know it all,” like Hermione? And now let’s find out which struggles the other actors faced!
LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?
In the third film, Harry had to go underwater in the Black Lake during the second Triwizard Tournament task. Dan Radcliffe thankfully didn’t have to dive into a lake or deal with evil mermaids on the set. But the scene still had to be done underwater in a tank, so it still involved a great deal of risk.
For this reason, it was essential for the actor to learn the basic hand signals for scuba diving to let others know how he was doing. After all the training was done and the director said action, the professional divers on the set shockingly saw Radcliffe giving them one of the most disturbing signs: “I’m running out of air, get me to the surface NOW.”
Of course, they immediately rushed to help, but… In the next moment, they were shocked once again because Dan wasn’t actually drowning! The actor explains: “I got the signs wrong. I thought I was signaling everything is fine.” Yeah, he just messed up and freaked the guys out! But, although it was a false alarm, the divers were probably relieved to know that Dan was okay.
RUPERT GRINT HAD A BAD REPUTATION ON SET
Yes, I’m talking about the sweet Ron Weasley actor! I know that it might be hard to believe that he’d do something bad, but… he actually did annoy others at times. The thing is, Rupert is infamous for his exceedingly joyful mood on the set. In fact, due to his behavior, the most popular phrase the Harry Potter crew heard was “Rupert, stop smiling!”
But the funniest thing is, the young actor found it hardest to keep a straight face during the most dramatic moments. Like, for example, Dumbledore’s funeral. “For some reason, I found that absolutely hilarious,” Rupert admitted. “And yeah, once you start laughing, it’s very hard to stop.” Can you believe it?
While we all wept, he couldn’t stop giggling! So it’s obvious that it was necessary to make countless takes of one scene because of Grint’s constant laughter. “I had a particularly bad reputation, they used to call me ‘Go Again Grint’ because I could never do anything without doing it like 20 times,” Rupert recalled.
Ah, this guy was definitely having the time of his life! But in the first Harry Potter film, he wasn’t the only child actor who couldn’t stop laughing, and it was all because of their older colleague. Keep reading to find out more about him!
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF ICE?
Any place with a large number of children is at risk of a lice outbreak, and the set of the second Harry Potter movie was no exception. Despite all the crew’s efforts to control the nasty nits, they still had to delay the filming at least once because some of the cast members had lice.
This meant that everyone else on the set had to be checked and treated immediately. And until everyone was clear, filming couldn’t continue. So yeah, a giant serpent living in the Hogwarts walls and petrifying students with its gaze wasn’t the only challenge in the Chamber of Secrets!
TOM FELTON WAS SUCH A MALFOY
Sure, the actor is much sweeter and kinder than his character, but he still did a few things on the set that made him look exactly like Draco. One was lining his pockets with food and drinks! Here’s what Tom said about it.
“The robes had these huge pockets. The rumour was that they sewed them up after the third film because I was sneaking food and drink onto set. I want to clear this up because that is absolutely true.”
Sweet! And it’s funny that other kids on the set followed his example and also started sneaking in food! So whenever the costume designers would put their hands inside the pockets, they’d find chocolates and sweets in there! But that wasn’t the only thing bad boy Tom Felton did.
When he auditioned, he lied about reading the Harry Potter series! Tom knew that he was going to be asked which scene from the books he was looking forward to the most, and he had NO IDEA what to say. I’m sure that it helped him get the part! But while he was happy playing Draco and sneaking food on set, his co-star really struggled.
ONE VERY FUNNY ACTOR
The actor’s name was Rik Mayall, and he played Peeves, the ill-reputed poltergeist of Hogwarts, in The Sorcerer’s Stone. Wait, wait, wait… you didn’t know that Peeves was supposed to be in the movie series? Yes, he was, and Mayall played him brilliantly in the first film.
In fact, the late comedian did it a bit too well - so much so that the kids on the set would always burst into laughter when he was around! So the actor was asked to say his lines with his back to the children, and then he had to do it from across the room. And yet, nothing helped because everyone kept on giggling!