Emma Watson cover ELLE US march issue

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She survived the child-actor maelstrom and, instead of taking a quick trip to grown-up stardom, decided to spend a few years in development (at Brown, no less). Now Emma Watson is back—smarter, stronger, and ready to prove herself.

Emma Watson on the importance of having a life outside of her acting career: “I remember reading this thing that Elizabeth Taylor wrote. She had her first kiss in character. On a movie set. It really struck me. I don’t know how or why, but I had this sense that if I wasn’t really careful, that could be me. That my first kiss could be in somebody else’s clothes. And my experiences could all belong to someone else.”

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On Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s $125 million dollar blockbuster, and what it was like playing Noah’s adopted daughter, Ila: “It’s Shakesperean, what happens to this family when they’re put in this confined space for 40 days and 40 nights. It’s the end of the world – how these different human beings are dealing with the impact of that. Are humans good? Are we bad? All of these themes are epic.”

Darren Aronofsky on Emma’s steely nerve while filming Noah: “We started off with one of Emma’s hardest scenes. We shot in Iceland on a beach with an extremely difficult weather situation. The force of the wind – we could barely hear the actors. The sun kept coming in and out. We had to wait for the right light, then, Go, go, go! Then, Wait, wait, wait! She was able to block out all those ridiculous external forces and just focus on the emotion at hand.”

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Emma Watson on coming of age in the public eye: “There are all these actresses who have emerged in the last year or two, and they get to emerge as this complete human being. And I’m so jealous!”

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