Emma Watson’s Equus Moment? The Bling Ring Makeover

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.”

Emma Watson’s days of playing Hermione Granger are well behind her as she debuts a sexy new look for her new film “The Bling Ring.”

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!


  1. Bruce Charlton says

    My general impression is that EW is – for an actor – pretty sensible and grounded. But actors are, on average, well… not exactly role models of the Good Life. I wish they were, but they aren’t.

    Playing a bad person is something that all actors have to do – Iago is a favourite actors’ role, so are Shylock and Lady Macbeth…

    But modern actors seem to feel they need to assert that the bad people they are playing are not really all that bad, or – at least – not as bad as the good characters. This is probably corrupting for the individuals concerned.

    Jason Isaacs (who did a great job playing Lucious Malfoy in the movies) is (to my taste) a painfully politically correct chap; but I found it refreshing to hear him laying-into Lucius as a thoroughly nasty person, and expressing his pleasure at seeing Lucious ‘get what he deserved’ as the movies progressed.

    I would like to hear similarly EW distancing herself from her role in this movie.

    One of my favourite quotes was of Larence Olivier to Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man – after Hoffman told him that he had gone for three days without sleep in order to ‘become’ his character. Olivier looked distressed and said: ““My dear boy, why don’t you try *acting*?”

    So long as you remember you are *acting*, then you probably won’t come to harm.

  2. My thoughts are she’s free to do what she thinks is necessary to advance her career. And I can see why an actor would see the need to play “bad” or “edgy” characters in order to avoid being typecast. It’s a common problem in Hollywood. Just ask the cast of Gilligan’s Island. Whether it works or not is another matter. And it could just be she read the script & was just really interested in the project for its own merits.

    Bruce, I’ve always loved that quote by Olivier. I think it was also him or one of his contemporaries who said something like, “Every actor should have in him already the ability to play the highest king or the lowest bum; it comes of being human.” That’s a paraphrase, of course, and maybe nobody actually said it. If so, then I claim dibs. 🙂

  3. thank goodness that the HP book series would still be the series, and still be worthy of comment, even if we didn’t live in an age where they could be filmed. The stars of the movies can’t spoil it for me!

  4. So sad that public nudity…whether on stage, screen, or tv…is considered the actor’s right of passage into serious work.

  5. If one wishes to move forward in the……… “Capitol”, one must unfortunately play by their rules.

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