From moment one, Emma Watson was Hermione Granger. “From the very first screen test, she was the one person everyone — the studio, the producers — agreed was Hermione. There really wasn’t any discussion,” says Chris Columbus, director of the first two “Harry Potter” films.
And for an actress who’d never appeared onscreen before, “She seemed to carry with her a sense of professionalism, almost as if she’d been doing it for several years,” Columbus recalls. “She had a maturity about her that gave her an ease as an actress.”
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Now, eight films and several broken box office records later (the last film achieved a high-water $169 million opening weekend), Watson is leaving the world of “Harry Potter” and venturing into more grounded, greenscreen-less territory. And the Muggle world is more than happy to snatch her up.
In addition to a small part in “My Week With Marilyn,” she just wrapped the lead in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The book adaptation, which co-stars Logan Lerman, takes place at a typical Pennsylvania high school — a far cry from the Hogwarts set where Watson was tutored.
As the actress recently told the New York Times, she prepared for the role by emailing all her friends to ask about their time in high school. Her first prom took place on the set of the film.
But Columbus thinks she’s more prepared than she might realize. “Over the last few films, she really had that level of adolescent complexity — where a lot of your emotions are bubbling to the surface,” he says. “That’s going to be a wonderful transitional thing to carry over to ‘Perks.’ ”