Harry Potter star Emma Watson ends 5-year break from acting: She aims to break out of her "cage" with a mysterious new film

Harry Potter star Emma Watson ends 5-year break from acting: She aims to break out of her “cage” with a mysterious new film

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Despite her enduring post-Harry Potter star status, actress Emma Watson, known for her role as Hermione, has been conspicuously absent from the film world in recent years. However, that is likely to change soon.

The Harry Potter series immortalized Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Even after that, the actress secured significant roles in films like Maybe Tomorrow and Beauty and the Beast. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, but privately, the Briton was not at peace with her career.

After her last feature film appearance in Little Women in 2019, she decided to take a step back from the film business. But now, she’s poised to make a return with a new film that promises to revolutionize her career.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson ends 5-year break from acting: She aims to break out of her "cage" with a mysterious new film

The reason behind Harry Potter star Emma Watson’s 5-year break from feature films

Emma Watson hasn’t been idle in recent years. She engaged in several charitable activities, participated in the documentary Return to Hogwarts, which celebrated 20 years of Harry Potter, supported her brother’s new CO₂-neutral gin, and became the face and creator of a Prada perfume. She recently explained her absence from the film industry in a candid interview with the Financial Times, citing very personal reasons:

“To be honest, I wasn’t very happy. I felt trapped in a cage. What I found particularly challenging was promoting something that I didn’t have much control over… It’s difficult to advocate for something you weren’t involved in the process of… Being held accountable for something without having a say has been frustrating.”

Recognizing her discontent was the initial step for Emma Watson to regain control of her life:

“I began to realize that I only wanted to support things where, if someone criticized me for it, I could say, ‘Yes, I made a mistake. That was my decision, and I should have done better.’ That’s the only way I could avoid despising myself.”

For the Harry Potter star, this meant taking matters into her own hands. Although Emma Watson initially doubted whether she could assume more responsibilities behind the camera:

“Even during my time on Harry Potter, people kept suggesting I should direct and produce. I worried that it was more technical than creative, and I lacked the necessary skills… It wasn’t until my younger brother Alex and friends asked me for help with photoshoots and videos that I realized I possessed a lot of knowledge about it. Directing felt distant and unattainable. I lacked confidence, which is odd considering I grew up on a movie set.”

Harry Potter reboot: Emma Watson’s enigmatic upcoming film is poised to bring about significant change

In the meantime, Emma Watson has conquered this self-doubt and even put it to the test with the Prada Paradox advertising campaign, where she acts and directs simultaneously. The slogan of the perfume brand also mirrors her forward trajectory: In the advertisement, she presents herself as a “multi-dimensional woman who is ever-evolving yet always authentic.” She no longer wishes to be confined by others, but rather, she wants to “celebrate her imperfections.”

The Financial Times also unveiled that Emma Watson is working on a new film that will mark her return as an actress, and potentially as a director or producer. Regardless, it’s likely to be a narrative that the Harry Potter star deeply resonates with.

Although filming was initially set to commence in early 2024, very little is known about the new film. IMDb links Emma Watson to two possible projects:

  • While We’re Young is a tragicomedy by Emma Watson’s director acquaintance Stephen Chbosky (known for Maybe Tomorrow), adapted from the book Make a Wish by Adena Halpern. The story follows Eille Jerome, a senior citizen who unexpectedly wakes up one day as a 29-year-old—a role that could suit Watson well, following her portrayal of the precocious Hermione.
  • Emma Watson is credited as a producer of Queen of the Tearling: The Adaptation of the Fantasy Novel Queen of Shadows by Erika Johansen, which is set in a world centuries after a climate catastrophe. A princess must save her impoverished kingdom and reclaim her mother’s throne.

Perhaps Emma Watson’s forthcoming film is a project that remains entirely undisclosed to the public. Given the disruptions caused by the Hollywood strike, its emergence might be further delayed. Nonetheless, even if Emma Watson’s hiatus from acting extends to six years, anticipation for her career revival remains high.

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