Emma Watson Stuns on the Cover of Vanity Fair

Tim Miller/Vanity Fair

Emma Watson is absolutely gorgeous as the latest cover star of Vanity Fair!

The actress has obviously grown so much since her days as Hermione Granger, and will soon hit the big screen as Belle in the Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast (to be released on March 17). In promotion for the film, Emma sat down with the magazine, opening up about her life after Harry Potter, her own personal love of books, and how she revamped Belle for the modern world.

Check out some highlights from the interview below!

Why books are so important to her...just like Hermione and Belle

“Books gave me a way to connect with my father,” she says. “Some of my most precious and treasured moments . . .I just remember him reading to me before bed and how he used to do all the different voices. I grew up on film sets, and books were my connection to the outside world. They were my connection to my friends back at school because if I was reading what they were reading we’d have something in common. Later in life, they became an escape, a means of empowerment, a friend I could rely on.”

She actually almost gave up acting for real some years ago:

“I was finding this fame thing was getting to a point of no return,” she remembered as she entered into Brown University in 2009. “I sensed if this was something I was ever going to step away from it was now or never.” So why does she keep doing movies? “I’ve been doing this since I was 10 or 11, and I’ve often thought, I’m so wrong for this job because I’m too serious; I’m a pain in the ass; I’m difficult; I don’t fit,” she said. “But as I’ve got older, I’ve realized, 'No! Taking on those battles, the smaller ones and the bigger ones, is who I am.'”

Tim Walker/Vanity Fair

Why she often says no now to pictures:

 “For me, it’s the difference between being able to have a life and not. If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they’ve created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 meters. They can see what I’m wearing and who I’m with. I just can’t give that tracking data.” However, she offers an alternative for fans. “I’ll say, ‘I will sit here and answer every single Harry Potter fandom question you have but I just can’t do a picture’”—but most people don’t bother. “I have to carefully pick and choose my moment to interact,” she admitted. “When am I a celebrity sighting versus when am I going to make someone’s freakin’ week? Children I don’t say no to, for example.”

On the Harry Potter craze and why her fame from childhood is different in today's society:

“I have met fans that have my face tattooed on their body. I’ve met people who used the Harry Potter books to get through cancer. I don’t know how to explain it, but the Harry Potter phenomenon steps into a different zone. It crosses into obsession. A big part of me coming to terms with it was accepting that this is not your average circumstances. People will say to me, ‘Have you spoken to Jodie Foster or Natalie Portman? They would have great advice for you on how to grow up in the limelight.’ I’m not saying it was in any way easy on them, but with social media it’s a whole new world. They’ve both said technology has changed the game.”

Tim Walker/Vanity Fair

She has a boyfriend...and she's keeping her private life PRIVATE: 

“I want to be consistent: I can’t talk about my boyfriend in an interview and then expect people not to take paparazzi pictures of me walking around outside my home. You can’t have it both ways. I’ve noticed, in Hollywood, who you’re dating gets tied up into your film promotion and becomes part of the performance and the circus. I would hate anyone that I were with to feel like they were in any way part of a show or an act.”

On revamping Belle for the Disney remake:

“I was like, ‘The first shot of the movie cannot be Belle walking out of this quiet little town carrying a basket with a white napkin in it,’” she said. “‘We need to rev things up!’" In this version, Belle is the inventor herself, instead of just her father, and Emma worked with costume designer Jacqueline Durran to rework Belle's original wardrobe. In the animated version, Belle is on and off horses yet wearing a long dress and silk slippers, which didn't make sense to Emma. Bloomers were created, along with Belle’s first pair of riding boots. “The original sketches had her in her ballet shoes,” Emma stated, “which are lovely—don’t get me wrong—but she’s not going to be able to do anything terribly useful in ballet shoes in the middle of a French provincial village.”

Emma added, “When I finished the film, it kind of felt like I had made that transition into being a woman on-screen." Belle is “absolutely a Disney princess, but she’s not a passive character—she’s in charge of her own destiny.”

Read the interview in full on Vanity Fair!

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