As well as learning from the directors, a whole raft of Britain’s finest thespians have passed through the Potter portals, including Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and John Hurt. But Watson’s two major mentors have been Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter.Recently, Watson went round to Bonham Carter’s house to talk through a scene where her character, Bellatrix, becomes Hermione after taking polyjuice. Bonham Carter wanted to know everything about Hermione, to get the role right, and as Watson admits, “I am a Harry Potter lexicon.” She also found Bonham Carter’s advice incredibly useful. Both actresses started young and are not traditionally trained. “I don’t come, like Dan [Radcliffe], from a very actorly family, so I was Bambi in the headlights – I never had anyone to guide me,” explains Watson. “I hadn’t been to Lamda or Rada, and I had a chip on my shoulder about it. But Helena said I don’t need to get trained: she taught herself, read Chekhov, books, theories, and she prepares herself so deeply for every role – the more you know about a person, the more you move intuitively.”
Watson sighs. “I admire her so much, she is so confident in herself, so happy. When she appears on the ‘worst-dressed’ list inHeat she says, ‘Who cares?’ She is comfortable with who she is. She probably has no idea how important those two or three hours with her were to me.” Watson is all emotional. You want to hug her, except she’s far too English and proper for that.
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