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SYFY WIRE Emma Watson

'Harry Potter' star Emma Watson on why she stepped away from acting (and what might bring her back)

The star of Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast explains why you haven't seen her in movies lately.

By Matthew Jackson
Emma Watson

Emma Watson has been a movie star more than half her life at this point. The actor who shot to worldwide fame thanks to her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series of films spent the entirety of her teens and her 20s in the spotlight, but fans might have noticed she hasn't released a movie since 2019. Now, as she launches a new non-acting venture, she's explaining why.

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Watson's last film role was as Meg March in Greta Gerwig's acclaimed Little Women, which was released over the 2019 holiday season, but actually finished shooting in 2018. That means she hasn't acted in about five years at this point, and she has no announced new projects on the horizon as an actor. Speaking to The Financial Times about the launch of Renais gin, a new spirit she's worked on with her younger brother Alex, Watson explained why it's been so long since she's taken on a new film role.

“I wasn’t very happy, if I’m being honest,” Watson said. “I think I felt a bit caged. The thing I found really hard was that I had to go out and sell something that I really didn’t have very much control over. To stand in front of a film and have every journalist be able to say, ‘How does this align with your viewpoint?’ It was very difficult to have to be the face and the spokesperson for things where I didn’t get to be involved in the process."

That desire to be involved in the process has led Watson to other ventures beyond acting, including investments, fashion, and now, tapping into her family's longtime love of making alcohol. She's even stepped into directing, helming an ad campaign for Prada and signing on for a still-unannounced music video gig. But that doesn't mean she's done acting forever. Watson acknowledged that she will return to the screen again eventually, though she's not necessarily in a hurry to make that happen. 

“Yes, absolutely," Watson said when asked if she would return to acting. "But I’m happy to sit and wait for the next right thing. I love what I do. It’s finding a way to do it where I don’t have to fracture myself into different faces and people. And I just don’t want to switch into robot mode any more. Does that make sense?” 

Want to watch Emma Watson in action? Stream the Harry Potter films on Peacock now.