Emma Watson is all sweetness and smiles when she talks about her new movie Beauty And The Beast.
But watch out when you throw her a curve and ask a perfectly innocent question like: “Where do you make your home now?” or “Being financially independent – is that why we haven’t seen much of you on screen lately?”
Suddenly, she’s hostile. Sorry if I touched a sensitive nerve …
So how does she respond to my two questions?
“I am a quality, not a quantity girl. And the other thing that I would say is that where I live is something that I would never speak about, because my privacy, the ability to have a normal life, the ability to have that respected, is incredibly important to me.”
“I don’t want to live behind bars or gates. I want to be able to live in a community and to have a normal life. So I would say that I would never make it public where I was spending my time,” the 26-year-old says.
“As to the films I choose to do, they have absolutely nothing to do with money. I choose my roles by what I love and what I feel precious about, and what resonates, and money doesn’t.
“I didn’t do Harry Potter as a child because I wanted to earn money. I did it because it was magical and because I loved the world and because it was an honour.
“And that is how I feel about being a part of this film.”
I press on: “Can you tell us on what continent you live?”
“No,” comes the reply.
So much for sharing.
Fortunately, Watson is much more open in promoting her new film, a live-action version of the Disney classic in which she plays Belle and sings surprisingly well.
Are you still taking voice lessons, and would you like to do another musical?
Yes. I’ve kept my singing lessons up because I found that they changed my speaking voice and gave me more confidence. And yeah, I would love, love, love to do more musical films.
Do you think you could fall in love with someone who wasn’t physically attractive?
I do. I absolutely do. Of course, there’s an initial chemistry if a person is handsome or beautiful, but it doesn’t last very long.
Ultimately, what keeps you interested and engaged with somebody is the values that you share, the conversations that you can have, and their ability to teach you things about yourself and about the world, and how that person makes you feel.
I do think that love can transcend physical appearance.
So, what is your relationship to money?
My relationship with money? I would say I am incredibly privileged, I am in a lucky position where I know that I am comfortable and that gives me an incredible freedom and I feel incredibly grateful for that.
Beyond that point, it doesn’t define who I am, and it’s not particularly meaningful to me, beyond having the freedom not to worry about it.
Obviously you are not a big spender so what is your extravagance?
A really lovely dinner. Being able to travel, spending money travelling, audiobooks, seeing the world. And you are right I am not buying Maseratis or anything like that.
When travelling, do you stay at a luxurious hotel or do you prefer camping?
Tourist destinations are tricky for me for obvious reasons.
So, I have actually done a lot of hiking, I have done safari, and I like to explore outside of cities a bit more.
I often stay with friends because you really get a sense of a place and a culture through staying in a home instead of a hotel, which can often feel like being anywhere in the world.
Generally, do you enjoy being with other people, or are you a loner?
I am a bit of an introvert. It took me a long time to understand that.
Before, I thought there was something wrong with me, but now I realise I need quite a lot of like quiet time and time alone, which is how I sort of put myself back together again.
And if I don’t get enough of that, then I start to feel a bit strained.
How much are you and Hermione alike?
I’d say we’re both stubborn, very loyal, bossy.
What is your sense of fashion?
Oh, I love makeup. It’s my favourite.
I don’t think of myself as having a particular style. I like anything that is fun, nice. I’m not to the point where I want stylists to tell me what to wear and how to dress. That’s taking the fun out of it.
Which of your parents had the biggest influence on your decision making?
My parents are divorced so they couldn’t have more differing opinions.
Actually. I’ve had a very wide view of all decisions I’ve had to make so I’m forced to make them myself. Which is good. I’m a very independent thinker.
Did your parents object to you seeing (Harry Potter co-star) Daniel (Radcliffe) naked on stage in Equus?
I wouldn’t ask them. I wanted to go. I wanted to see Dan. I wanted to support him.
So, I went. I loved it. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I thought Dan was brilliant. I thought Richard Griffith was brilliant. I thought it was brave, bloody hell absolutely brilliant.
Did you ever have a crush on Daniel?
I’ve never really had a crush on Dan. There are certainly elements of his personality which are very desirable. I can talk to Dan for hours. He’s very witty, very quick, very intelligent, eccentric, different.
He says what he thinks. He’s a very interesting guy. There are definitely elements that I fancy, but I’ve never really had a crush on him.
You were practically brought up with Daniel and Rupert, they’re like brothers. How different are they?
OK. Rupert’s very laid-back. He’s actually quite shy. I know that might be hard to believe, but he’s less comfortable than Dan.
Dan’s the entertainer, the performer. He’s very comfortable with an audience. And he’s very good at interviews. He’s very articulate.
He likes to get a laugh, whereas Rupert’s a bit more shy, and it takes longer to get to know him.
But that doesn’t mean Rupert’s any less nice a guy. He’s the one to watch because he will lull you into a false sense of security and then he’ll come out with an absolutely killer one-liner and have everyone roaring with laughter.
He’s a very good comedian in that sense.
Why do you think the Harry Potter books were so popular?
Because the main character is an orphan, has no mum and dad so he’s the underdog. He gets treated really badly, and then suddenly, whoa, a giant comes into his room and tells him he is a wizard.
It’s not very realistic, but it’s a great story and very well described.
It’s got comedy, adventure, it can make people cry, a three-year-old could watch it, a grandpa could watch it, a teenager could watch it. That’s why it’s so popular.
What music do you listen to?
Everything. I’m downloading everything from Rihanna to Kings Of Leon. Joni Mitchell’s Blue is my favourite album. I listen to everything. My mother brought me up on Elvis Presley, The Pretenders, Tina Turner, and bits of everything. My dad used to love B.B. King. I really love music. I genuinely do.