Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Emma Watson
Hermione (Emma Watson) fixes Ron with Dittany and sets up protection charms © 2010 Warner Bros

Emma Watson was 10 years old when she first played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which was released in 2001. Next year, exactly ten years from the premiere of the first movie, the last installment of the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part Two, will conclude.

At the press junket held in London for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One, which opened this weekend around the world, Emma spoke of saying goodbye to a world she’s known for over half her life, and new beginnings as she continues studying for her Liberal Arts degree at Brown University in America.

How do you guys keep making movies that get better and better?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Emma Watson Poster
Hermione (Emma Watson) Poster © 2010 Warner Bros

I don’t know. I have to say it seems so unusual that with a film franchise the movies get better as they go along. Usually they get worse, but we seem to be going (the other) way so I’m happy. I feel like this is significantly better. I felt the other ones gradually (got better) whereas the last two I feel we were on a totally different plane.

Did you find it was a huge challenge doing both movies at the same time?

Yeah, it was a huge challenge. Doing even just one Harry Potter film is exhausting, let me tell you. Doing two back-to-back by the end of it we were all on our knees. We were really struggling. But I feel like in a way they have so much energy and momentum, because we did them both at once, we were shooting from one movie and then going to part two, and it was crazy, but some how it seems to have come out really well. We were obviously doing something right.

How on earth to you even begin to look back on these ten years and the experience you’ve had in your life, how do you put that into words?

It’s very strange trying to answer questions about it, because a lot of the time I don’t have answers. People are like, ‘What is your life going to look like when this is over?’ And I’m like, ‘I have no idea.’ This has been all I’ve ever known, this is how I grew up. I can barely remember my life before Harry Potter, so I’ve got a lot to figure out. It’s been huge. The places I’ve traveled, the experiences I’ve had; it’s been amazing. I’m so thankful I’ve had such a unique life, it’s been just absolutely amazing.

There are so many wonderful scenes in this film, but one that really stood out for me and touched me was the dancing scene between you and Daniel in that tent. Did you find with the three of you, and how close you’ve become, that it transferred to the screen?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Emma Watson and Julie Walters
Hermione (Emma Watson) and Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) © 2010 Warner Bros

It’s funny, David really wanted us to use that. He was like, ‘Come on, you guys how grown up together, you’re like brothers and sister, bring that to the roles, bring that to your work.’ And we did, and I think you can see that in the dance scene.

It’s funny, when we shot that scene the crew were very divided about it, some of the crew didn’t really get it, they weren’t really sure if it was going to work, and then other members loved it. But generally the response we’ve have to that scene, because it was just written for the movie, it’s not in the book, the audience members seem to love it. I think it’s important to have that moment, just to break from the intensity and the stress and the worry. They just need to have a moment where they can just be kids and just be silly and stupid and have a nice time together.

When have you ever had a chance to be a kid and be silly?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) looks after Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) fixes him with Dittany and sets up protection charms © 2010 Warner Bros

I’m very lucky that I’ve made these movies with Dan and Rupert. I had two friends at my side and we had some laughs. We laughed a lot. I’m grateful for that. I can relate to that feel definitely.

I can’t imagine what the last day of shooting was like, can you take me back?

Right until the last moment the boys were more in denial about it, they didn’t really want to face up to it. But I was trying to get myself to process that it was over. It was a really hard thing to do, because we’re so used to having these breaks and then coming back. It would be very easy for me to tell myself, ‘It’s not really over.’ But I really wanted to feel completed, I wanted to be upset, because I wanted to feel like I could move on.

And you did move on, you cut your hair. Was that the day after you finished shooting?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson) discuss Dumbledore and Grindelwald © 2010 Warner Bros

No, that would have been too much. That would have been overload. I think I took three weeks and then I cut it off.

How’s school going? Is it a big challenge?

It is. There were times when I was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ because I was going to university, living in a foreign country and still juggling doing Harry Potter at the same time. There were times where I was just like, ‘Oh, this is just too much. This is really hard.’ But I’m so grateful that I stayed and that I went (to university) in the first place, because sophomore year I’m having such a great time. I have such a great group of friends and it was so the right thing to do. It was worth every effort.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.