In discussing last week what J. K. Rowling might be aiming for in writing A Casual Vacancy, an “adult” novel, after her Hogwarts Saga, I suggested this could be her ‘Equus moment.’ The reference was to actor Daniel Radcliffe’s decision in 2007 to take the part of Alan Strang in the revival of Peter Schaeffer’s Tony Award winning play, Equus. The play is a psychological, even theological thriller that explores the intersections of sex, faith, conventions, and fulfillment; Radcliffe’s effort in a remarkably demanding role was lauded with a nomination for ‘Outstanding Actor’ Drama Desk award.
Sadly, his decision is mostly remembered by Harry Potter fans (including this one) because the Strang role required that Radcliffe appear naked on the stage, which represented something of a break with his ‘Boy Who Lived’ image (you’ll recall that Warner Brothers elected not to portray ‘Raging Harry’ in Order of the Phoenix at story’s beginning or end lest the audience lose their sympathy with the films’ clean cut character).
The Equus nudity was not gratuitous but by doffing his clothes in public Radcliffe became to many a “serious actor,” which is to say, “not just a child star.” We can see other players pursuing similar “Equus Moments,” points of separation from how they are understood, in Ms. Rowling’s attempt to don the Orwellian mantle of political satirist in Vacancy and Jennifer Lawrence’s decision to do an essentially pornographic photo shoot to change public perception of her as an actress after she failed to be considered for alluring women’s parts post Winter’s Bone.
And now Emma Watson, do-gooder Hermione Granger to millions, seems to be reaching for a break with her relatively innocent past. She is featured in a new movie called The Bling Ring, which one online article has described as her “Bad Girl Makeover.”
The British actress — best known for her role as a spell-casting schoolgirl in the “Harry Potter” franchise — has undergone a complete transformation for her part as a bad girl in the Sofia Coppola-directed flick about the group of California teenagers who robbed the homes of a long list of celebrities, including Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox. In new photos taken on the Venice Beach movie set, Watson shows off a whole new side, parading around in Daisy Dukes and a bra — baring her belly — while wearing animal-print heels.
Read the whole thing for the details. Ms. Watson has had other roles during and after the Warner Brothers Potter Saga adaptations, but the G-Rated Ballet Shoes and The Tale of Despereaux weren’t going to get her “serious” roles or JLawr-like attention. Maybe the exposed brassiere will help?
O, Tempora! O Mores! Or not? Your thoughts, please… Hat tip to RevGeorge!