Emma Watson discusses realistic depiction of childbirth in ‘Noah’
LOS ANGELES—“It’s amazing how many YouTube videos there are of natural births. I watched plenty of those,” said Emma Watson, whose evolution as a fine actress continues in Darren Aronofsky’s epic, “Noah.” In a far cry from her iconic Hermione Granger role, Emma, as Ila, the adopted daughter of Noah (Russell Crowe), gives birth in one scene and delivers a riveting monologue toward the film’s end.
In our latest chat, we noticed that Emma is also blossoming into a beautiful young woman, simple yet elegant in a Peter Pilotto dress. She told us what she drew on to portray Ila, a barren woman but with the blessing of Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), Noah’s grandfather, she and Shem (Douglas Booth) are able to conceive.
“You just find as many points that you can relate to and things that have happened in your life,” explained the actress who turns 24 on Tuesday. “Make the story as personal to you as possible. And Darren is a great director and guide. And obviously, working with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Sir Anthony Hopkins, they’re feeding you rich performances that help enrich your own.”
“They were very long days,” Emma said of filming the epic, lensed by Oscar-nominated (for “Black Swan”) Filipino-American cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, in Iceland and New York. Her compelling performance as a woman in turmoil is consistent with her post-“Harry Potter” progression as an actress, marked by good turns in Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring.”
“My biggest challenge was staying in that emotional space not for just one or two takes but for 12 hours,” she added. “More than any other film I’ve worked on, I used music as a way in between takes to stay in a certain place or mood. One particular song that I listened to on this shoot was the song, ‘Angels.’
“I definitely believe in a higher power,” Emma replied when asked if she believes in a higher power (or the Creator, as God is referred to throughout “Noah”). “I don’t belong to a specific religious doctrine. I guess I’m more of a universalist in a sense that I think there are unifying tenets of all religions that I think are more far reaching than culture, race and nationality. I meditate a lot.”
Emma downplayed stories about a fan who was able to sneak past security staff and get into the Long Island, New York set of “Noah.” “It was pretty exaggerated, to be honest,” she said. “I’ve been famous from a young age. Most of the time, they’re fans who are overzealous. There’s nothing dangerous or sinister about it. They’re just over-enthusiastic.”
“I was on a film set,” Emma stressed. “There were hundreds of people around me. I wasn’t afraid for my life, if that’s how the story has been portrayed.”
Darren and two of Emma’s costars praised her talent and professionalism. The director, who acquits himself in his jump into a big-budgeted, huge scale retelling of Noah’s saga and the flood, said of the actress, “I really don’t know her ‘Potter’ work. I saw Alfonso’s film (‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’), but that was about it.
“Emma came in and read for me. I was like, ‘Oh, wow, here’s a chance to take someone who everyone knows as a girl and make her a woman,’ similar to what we did with Natalie (Portman) in ‘Black Swan,’ because Emma had to go from someone who is innocent to being a powerful mother. She pulled that off.”
Douglas, for his part, said, “I’ve known Emma for six or seven years, so we’re good friends. We trust and care about each other very much as friends, so that was definitely a big help when we were doing the movie. There were definitely some intense moments in there. We really did have to trust each other to pull them off.”
Logan Lerman, who shared a kiss with Emma in “Perks…,” this time plays Ham, the brother of Shem, Ila’s husband-to-be. “It was great to work with Emma again,” Logan shared. “She’s a wonderful actress!”
Having coped with fame since she was a child, does Emma sometimes crave for the simpler life that some of her friends lead? “As with any job, there are pros and cons,” answered Emma, who will graduate from Brown University in May. “There have been moments when I wished that things were a little simpler for me. But, I’ve had such incredible experience to date, and I’ve had a chance to do so many things and so many opportunities that many of my friends won’t have. I try and remember that.”
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