Emma Watson ‘believes in a higher power, but… I am more of a Universalist’


Here are some photos of Emma Watson outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater last night, on her way to appear on David Letterman’s show to promote Noah. I’ve been saying that Noah looks like a major bomb for a while now, but a new fear is growing inside me… what if people actually go to see it? What will it mean if Noah is a hit?! Will we see more bloated, Biblical epics with CGI God-wrath? Lord, I hope not. As for Emma… she looks great in these photos. I really like that she’s been doing so many androgynous/menswear-inspired looks lately. She looks sophisticated and beautiful.

Emma recently sat down with The Telegraph to talk about the film, and she was asked about her own religious beliefs. She gave the only kind of answer I would expect from a young person promoting a Biblical epic:

“I already, before I did the movie, had a sense that I was someone that was more spiritual, than specifically religious. I had a sense that I believed in a higher power, but that I was more of a Universalist, I see that there are these unifying tenets between so many religions.”

[From The Telegraph]

Well… she was trying to strike some kind of middle ground and encourage all people of all faiths to give the film a shot. But I think talking about religious universalism alienates Evangelical Christians, many of whom are being courted by the studio. Plus, universalism alienates Muslims, but most Islam-centric countries have already banned the movie.

Emma also spoke about getting typecast as “good girls” and not bombshells with Elle Mag. She said:

“In my downtime, I don’t sex myself up much. Sometimes I have a hard time convincing directors that I can play more adult roles. I was being offered roles that I didn’t feel were very complicated. Women that were one dimensional. Roles that required me to be one thing, but real women never are.”

[From Elle via The Mail]

I think she’s probably correct that refusing to “sex up” her image has hurt her with directors and casting agents. But! It does feel like there’s a sliver of Jessica Biel-ism here too. Biel thinks that casting directors can never see past her extreme beauty to hire her for the really good roles, which… is an adorable theory. Emma thinks that casting directors can’t see past her wholesome Disney image to cast her as interesting, challenging characters. Which, as I said, is the case sometimes. But why would a director hire Emma when they could hire… Jennifer Lawrence or Kristen Stewart?



Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

40 Responses to “Emma Watson ‘believes in a higher power, but… I am more of a Universalist’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lucia H says:

    My goodness she has grown into such a beautiful woman. That face!!!

  2. Mel M says:

    Kristen Stewart seriously? It’s obvious why they would want Jlaw over Emma but kstew? I’ve seen Emma make at least 2 facial expressions and raise her voice a few octaves over monotone so that’s why they should want Emma over her 1000 times.

  3. Jaderu says:

    “Will we see more bloated, Biblical epics with CGI God-wrath?”
    Exodus comes out later this year. So yeah, we get more.
    I don’t know. Call me a drunkard housewife, but I love this girl. I know she’s not the best actress but please don’t mention her in the same sentence as KStew.

    • LadyMTL says:

      *Points finger* Drunken housewife! 😛

      Seriously though, I agree with you. I think she’s leagues ahead of KStew and I like her too.

  4. Seán says:

    Yeah, I know a lot of you on here don’t rate Emma Watson’s acting ability but I think she’s much better than Stewart. She’s not Jennifer Lawrence caliber but I feel she is consistently improving with every role. I felt that she was a charismatic child actor who turned into an overacting teen actress before improving again with the final two Potter movies and I’ve enjoyed her performances since.

    I always felt there was something intriguing about Kristen Stewart but I can’t call her a strong actress by any means. Her voice is too monotone, she’s always running her hand through her hair and she’s always biting the lip or stuttering.

    I don’t feel Watson’s comment is Jessica Biel-ish. I think it’s very difficult for former child actors to be considered sexy, especially as Watson is still very much associated with Hermione. Daniel Radcliffe managed to do it by getting nude on stage for Equus and then choosing weird indie movies. Watson’s gone down the indie route too to an extent but she’ll need to do things that are riskier if she wants to break out of the typecast mould.

  5. We Are All Made of Stars says:

    She’s kind of blah. She seems decent looking enough, nice enough, and smart enough, but with no real charisma or spark. It strikes me as odd since she was the animated kooky one in the Harry Potter movies. As for her not being a number one hiring choice, it goes back to her not generating any real interest. KS and JLaw have megahits and scandals and big mouths and the rest of it so people are interested. Maybe it’s the British reserve.

    • OhDear says:

      Yeah, I don’t think she has the personality for being a good promoter of movies – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but she’s not at the point where her work speaks for herself. At the same time, I think she wants to appeal to the broadest possible range of people and be as non-controversial as possible.

      She has great fashion sense, though.

    • Skyblue says:

      I find her blah as well. If you lined up all the “pretty-plain” starlets up, it would be difficult to pick her out of a line up.

  6. hunaww says:

    I like Emma very much.She seems nice.But she can not act.At all.

    • Rachel says:

      She was actually great in the first two Harry Potter films when she was young and just having fun. Then as she got older she started trying WAY TOO HARD. Ugh. She was the worst part of the movies after that.

    • She does seem like a nice, cute girl–but bland and has no acting skill whatsoever. She’s technically correct, but I am so bored whenever she’s on screen. She’s going to be more of a Fashion Girl than actress, I think. She should cut her losses and get into producing, because I don’t think she’s going to get any more talented.

  7. Tatjana says:

    Why would her answer be the only approprite for a young actress in such movie? What if she said she was an atheist, or a practising Catholic or something else? Would it matter?

  8. paola says:

    Emma has been typecasted as the good girl since the first Harry Potter movie, unlike Jessica Biel in any of her roles (including 7th heaven).
    She has become a woman under that role and i have to admit I didn’t want to see her in a different role because it felt like cheating ( I love the Harry Potter books and even if Hermione is far bigger and better than Emma’s portrayal I still thought she was good in it) so maybe many directors feel like as if she’s still a 13 year old girl. Jessica Biel on the other hand is nor talented or incredibly beautiful. Just smug. I put her in the Heigl category.

  9. Kate says:

    Not sure who would hire Kristen Stewart for anything. And, I really don’t think the Evangelical Christian crowd is going to be “turned off” by something Emma Watson says. Half of them think she’s the devil’s spawn anyway for starring in those movies about those books that promote “witchcraft.” If they think the movie adheres to their doctrines, they’ll see it. If they think it is a product of the “evil Hollywood machine” they won’t touch it. Take a look and see what kind of a review Drudge Report links; whatever it is, that hard right will follow.

  10. Kelly says:

    I don’t have a problem with Biblical epics. Are they really so bad? Better than the endless stream of superhero movies we get, at least it is something different.

    • SLM says:

      Agreed. Be terrified about the rumor of rebooting Indiana Jones, not that we might get an interesting version of the Job or Esther story.

  11. Valerie says:

    She’s boring and needs some more acting classes. Her acting in Perks of Being a Wallflower was appalling. But she is very pretty and that’s enough for her to be successful.

  12. Meh says:

    She still looks like she’s 15. She can’t act. She has a bit of a truth telling problem. She’s a pretty face that’s getting roles because she’s the girl from Harry Potter. They market and advertise her in these movies because of her image and obsessed fan base. A majority of her fans would have went to see this movie but now they will. In time this will diminish as her fans grow up. Did you know in her new film Regression with Ethan Hawke her part will only take two weeks to film?

    • Sarah says:

      you say that movie studios market movies so people will see them? that they cast actors that will sell tickets?

    • Seán says:


      That’s how the movie business works. Never underestimate star power. I also don’t see her as a liar. Sure, she emphasises certain things depending on what she’s been interviewed for but that’s playing the PR game. Most celebrities do it.

  13. Vanessa says:

    I don’t see how talking about religious universalism alienates Evangelical Christians and Muslims more than any other religions would. If you adhere to any religion it’s because you think your religion is “the right one”. I just wonder why those two religions were singled out.

  14. Lark says:

    I really like Emma Watson, and I love the new way her stylist is dressing her. I’m surprised that Noah seems to be doing well internationally, as it had all the signs of a bomb. For her sake and the actors, I’m glad. I’m not sure what’s wrong with her saying she’s a universalist….I think that’s actually rather common among most people.

    As far as her getting roles….it’s her child-like face. With the right styling she can pass for her age, but most of the time she barely looks 18. Give her a few more years and she’ll start landing some more “adult” roles. She also just needs more credits on her resume besides Harry Potter. Kristen Stewart was working steadily in indies long before Twilight and got good reviews for her performance in things before Twilight like Into the Wild and Adventureland. She’s had maybe 8 or 9 indies where she has received solid to good reviews for her performance, including her latest one which was at this year’s Sundance. Jennifer Lawrence is on a whole different level from the Emmas and Kristen, and has two franchises to boot. Emma had a bit role in the Marilyn Monroe film, Perks, and The Bling Ring. The critics liked her in Perks, but The Bling Ring is the first time she basically received really strong reviews and that was great for her. Emma just needs a couple of more roles where she gets a warm reception for her performance and that will help a lot imo.

    Anyway, I think Emma is on the right track. The supporting roles in projects with a solid team behind them, the more “adult” styling, etc. I really do think she’ll make it in the end, and not “just” because she was in Harry Potter.

    • Dani2 says:

      Kristen had 8 or 9 indies where she received solid to good reviews? I was a fan of hers right from Panic Room and I only remember her getting solid to good reviews for Speak and she was in Into The Wild for about five minutes. She got good reviews for Welcome to The Riley’s but that was after the first Twilight. And the reviews for Camp X Ray were mixed from what I remember hearing a few months back.

      • Lark says:

        Indie Wire had a collection of reviews (they do it for most Sundance stars) that Celebitchy linked to and her performance in the Sundance film was praised for the most part at least according to the ones they gathered. I’m sure she garnered a few bad ones (I like her and think she’s decent but she’s not that strong) but she generally received a warm reception. I remember The Guardian said it showed she could have a career post-Bella. The film was more mixed.

        The part in Into the Wild was small but I’ve seen it brought up in articles about her before as showing some promise, plus Adventureland, Speak, and the Cake Eaters. Then the Gandolfini film you mentioned, the Sundance film, and The Runaways (which she and Dakota got good reviews for their performances but the film was awful) and that’s six right there. There’s a couple more. It’s going to take time though and a few more solid performances, like the Sundance one, in more commercial and just better movies like the new Julianne Moore one she’s filming for her to put some distance between herself and Twilight.

        As far as Emma, I really do think she’s capable of kind of being the “new” Keira Knightley. There really isn’t an actress they can type-cast as the English Rose or do period pieces out there right now…maybe Lily Collins but poor Lily has been eviscerated by the critics in almost everything. I really think it’s just going to take some time with Emma to establish herself a little more firmly. The thing is no matter what (for the most part) if stars are part of gigantic franchise they can usually have some semblance of a career (e.g. Orlando Bloom). Emma’s shown talent in The Bling Ring, she’s a PR dream, and she picks good material so when you add that to her Harry Potter fame I think she has the potential to go pretty far.

    • pru says:

      I agree, I think she’s on the right track. With 8 films as the same character, typecasting is just going to happen. It’s going to take some time, almost like rebuilding a career from the bottom up.

      • Lark says:

        Exactly, it’s just going to take time. She wasn’t working as much as her peers too because she was in school. I also think she’ll benefit from being one of the only “English Rose” type of girls out there right now, a la Keira Knightly (I like Felicity Jones, but I just don’t see it happening for her unless she has some resurgence like Jessica Chastain did in her mid 30s…plus Felicity is already 30 and Hollywood is an industry that values youth).

        If she churns out a few more performances in which the critics like her, like The Bling Ring, she’ll be set. She already has the general public won over for the most part and is very “marketable” and likeable. If she does a few more roles like The Bling Ring where she isn’t the “good girl” I think that will help Emma too from shaking the Hermione thing.

  15. TheOriginalWaffle says:

    Smart to go the Universalist track in this press tour.

  16. tara says:

    one glance at those shoes and i’ve tuned out everything else. NEED THEM LIKE I NEED AIR

  17. jo says:

    I agree with what someone else said above: Watson is just boring. Like A Jennifer Garner type.

    Stewart and Lawrence are “big, bold, and beautiful”. They’re both young and act it. They might not be the most poised, but they get people talking, for better or worse. Stewart and Lawrence, both, they say things that make you go: “excuse me, did I hear you correctly? Did you really just say that?” And that’s fine, because they’re 23.

    Watson doesn’t really illicit anything from me. I just shrug.

  18. Spencer G says:

    Why would a director cast Emma over Jlaw or Kristen Stewart? Kristen Stewart is a horrible actress, I have no idea how she gets work anymore. As for Jlaw, both her and Emma are amazing so