Duerre Watson is a French-born English actress who rose to prominence playing Hermione Granger, one of three starring roles in the Harry Potter film series. Watson was cast for the role of Hermione at the age of nine, having previously acted only in school plays. From 2001 to 2007, she starred in five Harry Potter film installments alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. She will return for the final three installments: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due to be released in 2008, and the two parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Watson's work in the Harry Potter series has earned her several awards and more than £10 million.
In 2007 she announced her involvement in two non-Harry Potter productions: the made-for-television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and an animated film, The Tale of Despereaux. Ballet Shoes was broadcast on Boxing Day 2007 to an audience of 5.2 million and The Tale of Despereaux, based on the book by Kate DiCamillo, will be released in 2008.
Emma Watson was born in Paris, France, the daughter of Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both English lawyers. Watson has one French grandmother, and lived in Paris until the age of five, before she moved with her mother and younger brother Alex to Oxford, England, following her parents' divorce.
From the age of six, Watson expressed a desire to become an actress. By the time she was ten, she had starred in several school plays, including Arthur: The Young Years and The Happy Prince. She had never acted in any professional capacity prior to being cast in the Harry Potter series. "I had no idea of the scale of the film [series]", she said in a 2007 interview with Parade magazine; "[if I had] I would have been completely overwhelmed".
In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States), the film adaptation of British author J. K. Rowling's bestselling novel. Of paramount importance to the casting directors were the lead role of Harry Potter and the two supporting roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Harry's two best friends. Casting agents found Watson through her Oxford theatre teacher, and producers were impressed by her self-confidence. After eight auditions, producer David Heyman told Watson and fellow applicants Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint that they had been cast for the roles of Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Author Rowling was said to be supportive of Watson from the time of her first screen test.
Watson's debut as Hermione came in 2001 with the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The film broke box office records for opening-day sales and opening weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. Critics praised the performances of the three leads, often singling out Watson for particular acclaim. The Daily Telegraph called her performance "admirable", and IGN said she "stole the show". Watson was nominated for five awards for her performance in Philosopher's Stone, winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress.
A year later, Watson again starred as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second installment of the series. Though the film received mixed reviews because of its pace and direction, critics were generally positive about the performances. The Los Angeles Times said that Watson and her peers had matured between films, while The Times criticised director Chris Columbus for "under-employing" Watson's hugely popular character. Watson received an Otto Award from the German magazine Die Welt for her performance. In 2004, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released. Watson was appreciative of the more assertive role Hermione played in this film, calling her character "charismatic" and "a fantastic role to play". Although critics largely turned away from Radcliffe's acting talent, increasingly labelling him wooden, Watson continued to be praised; The New York Times lauded her performance, saying "Luckily Mr. Radcliffe's blandness is offset by Ms. Watson's spiky impatience. Harry may show off his expanding wizardly skills ... but Hermione ... earns the loudest applause with a decidedly unmagical punch to Draco Malfoy's deserving nose". Although Prisoner of Azkaban remains the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film as of January 2008, it was Watson's most successful, winning her two Otto Awards and the Child Performance of the Year award from Total Film.
With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), both Watson and the Harry Potter film series reached new milestones. The film set new records for a Harry Potter opening weekend, a non-May opening weekend in the US, and an opening weekend in the UK. Critics praised the increasing maturity of Watson and her teenage co-stars; the New York Times called her performance "touchingly earnest". For Watson, much of the humour of the film sprang from the tension among the three lead characters as they matured. She said, "I loved all the arguing ... I think it's much more realistic that they would argue and that there would be problems." Nominated for three awards for Goblet of Fire, Watson won a bronze Otto Award. Later that year, Watson became the youngest person to appear on the cover of Teen Vogue. 2006 found Watson playing Hermione in The Queen's Handbag, a special mini-episode of Harry Potter in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday.
The fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was an enormous financial success, setting a record, worldwide, opening-weekend gross of $333 million. Watson won the inaugural National Movie Award for Best Female Performance. As the fame of both the actress and the series continued to spread, Watson and fellow Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint left imprints of their hands, feet, and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on 9 July 2007.
Watson's first non-Harry Potter role was in the 2007 TV film Ballet Shoes. She played Paulline Fossil. She said of the project, "I was all set to go back to school after finishing Harry Potter [and the Order of the Phoenix] but couldn't resist Ballet Shoes. I really loved it". A BBC adaptation of Noel Streatfeild's novel of the same name, the film stars Watson as aspiring actress Pauline Fossil, the eldest of three sisters around whom the story revolves. Director Sandra Goldbacher commented, "Emma was perfect for Pauline ... She has a piercing, delicate aura that makes you want to gaze and gaze at her". The role required Watson to bleach her hair white-blonde. Ballet Shoes was broadcast on Boxing Day in the United Kingdom, to an estimated audience of 5.2 million (22 percent of the viewing total). The film received generally poor critical reviews, and The Times described it as "progress[ing] with little emotional investment, or magic, or dramatic momentum". However, the performances of its cast were generally praised; The Daily Telegraph wrote the film "was certainly well done, not least because it confirmed how good child actors are these days".
Watson will next star in the animated film The Tale of Despereaux, which will be released in December 2008. She will voice the character of Princess Pea in the film, a children's comedy which also stars Matthew Broderick and Tracey Ullman.
Despite rumours that she had refused to appear in the final two Harry Potter installments, Watson signed on for the sixth and seventh films in March 2007. She explained that the decision was a tough one, as filming would continue to dominate her life for the next three to four years, but in the end, "the pluses outweighed the minuses". Filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film, began in late 2007. Although Radcliffe and Grint have confirmed their commitment to an acting career, Watson has expressed uncertainty about her future plans. Speaking to Newsweek in 2006, she said, "Daniel and Rupert seem so sure ... I love to perform, but there are so many other things I love doing."
Birthname: Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson
Born: 15 April 1990
Origin: Paris, France
Years active: 2001-present
Awards: UK Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards: Best Movie Actress; MTV Movie Awards: Best On-Screen Team
Hilary Erhard Duff was born on September 28, 1987, in Houston, Texas. By the age of 6, she and older sister Haylie Duff were touring with the Cechetti Ballet, but both girls already knew back then that they wanted to have careers as actresses and singers. Hilary Duff made her screen debut in the 1997 mini-series True Women, which also featured Haylie. She landed her first lead role in 1998 as Wendy in Casper Meets Wendy, while the following year she won the Young Artist Award for her supporting role in the TV movie The Soul Collector.
In 2001, Hilary Duff was cast in the starring role in Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel. The show became a huge hit with the teen and preteen audience, and helped propel her 2003 debut pop album, Metamorphosis, to the top of the Billboard charts (her first disc release, 2002's Santa Claus Lane, was a collection of Christmas tunes). Hilary Duff starred in the Disney telefilm, Cadet Kelly in 2002, and at the age of 15, she signed her first million-dollar movie deal for The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003). That same year she also costarred in Agent Cody Banks and Cheaper by the Dozen.
Lizzie McGuire completed its run in 2004, which gave Hilary Duff more time to concentrate on other movie roles as well as her music. She earned a $2.2 million paycheck for her starring role in A Cinderella Story, and also starred in the coming-of-age drama Raise Your Voice. Her self-titled sophomore album was released that September, and although it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, it sold considerably less than its predecessor. She also served as the international spokesperson for Kids With A Cause in 2004.
Hilary Duff reprised her role as Lorraine Baker for Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (2005) the same year she appeared in The Perfect Man with Heather Locklear. Most Wanted, a compilation of hits and three new tracks, was released in August 2005, and spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart. In 2006, she and Haylie costarred in the feature Material Girls, which also gave the younger Duff her first credit as a film producer.
Released in April 2007, Hilary Duff's third album of all-new material, Dignity, debuted at No. 3 in the U.S. The recordings showcased a new musical direction for her, as electro dance-oriented backing tracks replaced the teeny-pop style she'd come to be known for. The collection spawned a couple of hits that made the dance/club charts, and she embarked on a North American tour during the summer of 2007.
Hilary Duff's 2003 album was entitled Metamorphosis, but she should have saved that name for her 2007 release, Dignity. Determined to put her squeaky-clean mall princess image behind her, she transformed her looks and musical style as she approached her 20th birthday. While the electronic dance music might not make you a convert, her more mature-looking image was a definite improvement. Gone were the short blond locks and bubble-gummy fashion sense, replaced by a longer mane and a sexier wardrobe. Hilary Duff promoted Dignity and her personal metamorphosis by appearing on the covers of US Weekly and Shape magazines wearing a bikini in the summer of 2007.
And as if to make sure there was no confusion over which market she was wooing, Maxim put her on the cover of its August edition. She ranked at No. 23 on that publication's 2007 Hot 100 listing, and made her third appearance on our Top 99 in 2008 after moving up a couple of notches from No. 86 to No. 84.
Chances are you know her name, even if you’ve never seen her movies or heard her music. Hilary Duff has scored four multiplatinum discs, starred in a few box office hits and had a major merchandising enterprise spring out of her star-making Lizzie McGuire TV series.
By the age of 16, she was commanding $2 million for film appearances. In 2007, she made Forbes' Power 100 list, and also ranked No. 7 on their Top-Earning Young Superstars roster.
She has also helped raise a lot of money and given much of her time to a number of worthy causes over the years, including Kids With a Cause and celebrity auctions for Breast Cancer Research. In 2008, Hilary Duff, who in addition to appearing on the big screen in War, Inc., Safety Glass and Greta, also provided the voice of Sunshine Goodness in the animated feature Foodfight!