Why has Emma Watson been largely M.I.A. during ‘Little Women’ promotion?

Emma Watson at the world premiere of Little Women at the Museum of Modern Art on December 7, 2019 in New York city.

Believe it or not, but I always forget that Emma Watson has, like, diehard stans. True-believer stans who expect her to be front and center of every promotional tour, even when she’s just one part of an ensemble. So it is with Little Women – I wasn’t expecting that much from Emma on the promotional trail, and my expectations were basically met. She attended the New York premiere (in an awful dress) and she covered the December issue of British Vogue. That’s it. She hasn’t gone to any of the other premieres or screenings. I think she maybe did one day of junket-ing. She plays Meg in Little Women, and Meg really isn’t the go-to character, you know? People have stronger feelings about Jo, Beth and even Amy. They have strong feelings about Laurie too. But Meg? Nah. So maybe Emma was aware of that and she decided to leave the promotional heavy lifting to Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet and Greta Gerwig (good luck getting Greta out of the spotlight for the promotion). And now Page Six is turning it into a thing:

Emma Watson refused to join the promo tour for “Little Women,” Page Six can reveal. Watson’s been MIA, and we’ve been told that her reps informed Sony Pictures she would join co-stars Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet and her royal highness Meryl Streep only at the premiere at MoMA on Dec. 7.

While the rest of the cast has been hitting the promo circuit hard, with late-night appearances, morning-show spots and touring the globe, a movie source revealed: “Emma’s reps told Sony that she would only do the premiere. We don’t really know what happened, if she wasn’t happy with the movie or fell out with the cast.”

However, a source insisted that Watson was thrilled with the film, pointing out that she had flooded her Instagram account — she has 52.9 million followers, more than anyone else in the cast — with photos of the movie, and said she’s also not a lead character. (She plays Meg — 1 of the 4 little women.) Having such a massive social-media footprint means that she could easily skip the tour and have equal impact, the insider pointed out.

[From Page Six]

Given what (little) I know of Watson, I don’t think that she would just skip out on promotion because she wasn’t happy with the film? That doesn’t seem like her at all. It’s far more likely that it’s what I said – she’s Meg, and there aren’t many Meg stans. And instead of trying to pull focus from Saoirse and Timmy, Emma just decided to sit it out. Why go all out when you’re just part of the ensemble? Why prepare a million outfits for the promotion when… you don’t have to? When you can just tell the studio “nah, I don’t feel like it.”

Maybe another option is “Laura Dern is Emma’s nemesis as well.” I hope so! More people need to get on the “Laura Dern is THE WORST” bandwagon. Come on, there’s room!

Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, Emma Watson a...

Emma Watson, James Norton at arrivals fo...

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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83 Responses to “Why has Emma Watson been largely M.I.A. during ‘Little Women’ promotion?”

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  1. Lucy says:

    All I got from this is even MOAR curiosity as to why you consider LD your nemesis! Spill the tea, girl.

    • Kaiser says:

      We’ve talked about it in the podcast – Dern just rubs me the wrong way and I think she overacts like crazy. I’m turned off by the whole “Laura Dern Is Amazing” campaign too.

      • Ally says:

        She has gotten horribly hammy. She played the lawyer in Marriage Story exactly the same as her character in Big Little Lies.

      • Anne Call says:

        She was amazing in Enlightened one of my all time favorite shows. So sad when it was cancelled after two seasons.

      • Diplomanatee says:

        She rubs me the wrong way, too… I can’t quite put my finger on it, I just get suspicious of everything with her.

      • RedWeatherTiger says:

        She also rubs me the wrong way, in a similar wrong way that Laura Linney rubs me.

      • @Backstage Bitchy says:

        @kaiser, not only so I share your sentiments as to her over-th-top, hammy acting, I also don’t understand why she gets a pass for being a TOTAL nepotism baby!? Ever since I saw her in Wild At Heart , when I was in high school, I thought “this chick cannot act, she’s SO try-hard, and it’s clear her main talent is being skinny, blonde, and well-connected”, and frankly, my opinion has not changed.
        Her parents were both famous and powerful and pulled a lot of strings to her her roles, and while nowadays that’s an accepted way to get ahead, she seems to have not bothered to invest in any, you know, ACTING lessons along the way.
        She is irritating, one-trick, one-note, and a perfect example of Hollywood nepotism at its worst.

  2. Michael says:

    What did Laura Dern do? I have always liked her.

  3. Arizona says:

    I honestly don’t even remember what happens with Meg at all. I remember the three other sisters, but I couldn’t tell you what Meg does. besides that, she has been posting about it a lot on her Instagram, which is a form of promotion in itself.

    • PixiePaperdoll says:

      She gets embarrassed by Jo at a society party and then marries a poor minister.

    • Earthbound says:

      Meg I’m pretty sure marries and has twins. She also speaks out for social justice at a ball to some snobby girls. I think Laurie also tells her she looks immodest at a ball and even slightly assaults her (messes with the ruffle on her dress while telling her she looks skanky). He apologizes to her soon after. I think all that happens in the book too to varying degrees.
      Personally I really liked the actress who played Meg in the 90s version, but I never saw her in anything else. I thought she had a natural embodiment in a good way. Marmie tells her she loves her “moral courage” in that one.

      • tealily says:

        I had to google who played Meg in the 90s verion… and I still don’t remember her. I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything else either.

    • M.A.F. says:

      At the end of the day, Meg gets married and has kids.

  4. Becks1 says:

    Yeah, I think its just that Meg is not the focus of the story in the way the others are, and Emma probably is letting the “stars” do the heavy lifting for promoting it. And her IG posts are reaching millions of people, so that helps.

  5. Emily says:

    Emma is obviously busy banging Tom Felton.

    • Babs says:

      Lol saw he posted a picture of them (with others) but that would legit make my heart happy.

    • Ash says:

      I too have been praying to the Gossip Gods for this to be true!

      • Carmen says:

        Oh good lord, I hope not. In every photo I’ve seen of Tom Felton over the past two years, he looks like a meth addict. He’s aging horribly.

      • Erinn says:

        Not sure that someone aging horribly is a great reason to pass on what might be a great relationship if you’ve got a strong enough connection.

      • Babs says:

        He openly admits he is aging, not well, and has mocked it. Esp when he wears his glasses and hair like he does. Still he seems like a sweetheart on his stories and how others talk about him.
        I think only one of the cast reallly grew into a hottie and that was Matt Lewis (neville). Otherwise, most of the cast now reminds me of the average 30 year old Joe and Jill.

      • BBBhill says:


        physical attraction & sex play a big part in relationships. I know a lot of ppl like to play the game of “so superficial & ageist” but…it’s not decided by humans, it’s plain old nature & biology for healthy partnerships.

    • BBBhill says:

      pretty sure Emma doesn’t swing that way… 😶

  6. MCV says:

    She’s the least talented person of all the cast.
    Not promoting the movie while you have 0 projects in the future is not a good look. Her last movie was in 2017 and then this, because Emma Stone dropped it for Zombieland 2, her career is going nowhere and I’m glad.

    • sid says:

      She was the weakest link in the Harry Potter films too. She’s just not a good actor.

    • Grant says:

      She was awful in Beauty & the Beast. She has one setting and it’s a face I can only describe as “quizzical confusion.” I swear, she can’t manage any other emotion.

      • Mel M says:

        Agreed! She’s very beautiful and I like her on a personal level but not a great actor. She was cute as a kid in the HP movies but the older she’s gotten the worse she’s gotten. One setting is completely accurate and it was so bad in BATB. Belle in the original Disney cartoon has a lot of personality and spunk but she was so dull.

      • Abby says:

        I loved her in Harry Potter, really did not like her as Belle.

    • sunny says:

      This. I saw the movie in a sneak peek and lord is she ever the weak link. Pretty much everyone else is a good to great actor so you really notice it.

  7. Snazzy says:

    She did a lot of promo with the book fairies and the novel as well. I guess she just didn’t do the traditional promo but like you said , lady G wants to be the center of attention anyway

    • broodytrudy says:

      This is what I pointed out yesterday. Watson’s IG is filled with LW stuff, and her other promotion stuff has been name dropping it. It’s just not traditional press, she doesn’t like it and doesn’t really do it. Got enough of it with the Harry Potter stuff I think.

    • Rocco says:

      Greta Gerwig really is set on being THE Female Director and wants to be a star, not the typical director who doesn’t want the spotlight on them. It’s distracting & there’s the desire to be omnipresent w/o being seen.

      II think of so many female directors that slave away that would never dream of getting the things that she has in the last two years – whether it’s financing, investment award campaign, exposure, I mean I could type so much more. all these benefits take years & years sometimes decades to get. she got these like that *snap* bc of Baumbach.

  8. manda says:

    That guy she’s with in the the bottom pic, I think he’s hot. He’s in British stuff. Will he be in Little Women? I don’t know his name! He’s in Grantchester and was in Belle! He’s so cute

    • TeamAwesome says:

      James Norton!!! He plays John Brook, Meg’s hubs.

      • manda says:

        Oh, cuuuuute! I never liked the guy that played John Brook in the 90′s LW. So this is a good development. I think that this version looks like it might be good! I did not really care for the BBC LW that came out a few years ago

    • Jerusha says:

      He’s also in the wonderful series Happy Valley. He filmed it the same time as Grantchester. He’s great in it, a total sleazebag.

    • Emma33 says:

      I think of him as the OG hot priest. (He was a Minister in grantchester, a few years before the world went bonkers for the next hot priest!)

  9. Mary-Jo says:

    She was miscast as Meg, no? Meg is the housewife, the conformist middle class sister.

    • Originaltessa says:

      Meg was beautiful and demure… If Emma could act at all, the casting would be fine. She can’t, and she’s in a cast of really highly regarded young actors. I think her performance was panned early on and she just doesn’t want to do the promotion. Let Timothee and Saoirse do it.

      • Alexis says:

        Of all the sisters I was shocked to hear she was playing Meg! Emma was miscast as Hermione, too. She always has a “Regina George” energy, which is wildly incorrect for both characters. She should seek out roles where she plays characters similar to her natural energy (like other actors with limited range and big personalities like Kristen Stewart or Scarlett Johansson) rather than taking on highly defined, famous characters which she doesn’t pull off. She had to do Hermione (chance of a lifetime and career starter) but there was no need for Belle and now Meg. In the long run, her role choices (as well as apparently being difficult on set) have hurt her career.

      • BRobertson says:

        So far, the reviews have been pretty consistently positive and say she fit the role really well. Plus, the actors don’t get to decide they don’t “want” to do the promotion after the fact; most likely scenario is she wasn’t obligated to begin with.

        I think Emma’s given good performances in the past (especially Bling Ring) and would fit really well as Meg. Also, the “difficult” thing seems to mostly come from a couple articles from the HP days. Most of what I hear about her (especially now) is quite positive.

  10. Mumbles says:

    Other gossip sites suggest that Watson isn’t well liked by her cast members, and rarely is in the films she makes.

    I gotta say she rubbed me the wrong way when she made a big deal claiming she just wanted to be a regular uni student – and then showed up at her Brown first-year orientation in a helicopter. And then dropped out because she claims she was “bullied” (other kids would make Harry Potter jokes around her. Hardly bullying.)

    • Eleonor says:

      She dropped out, but she has finished her studies, and got her degree.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      She’s annoyed me since the limo exit coochie flash. Same with AnnE Hathaway.

      • Mumbles says:

        Oh yeah, Anne is a prize too. “My boyfriend used to have cardinal’s robes in our closet but golly gee, I had no idea he was up to anything shady.”

      • xflare says:

        Yeh, it’s terrible to want people to spell your name correctly.

      • PPP says:

        Are we seriously still blaming seriously young actresses for getting targeted by sicko paparazzi crawling on the ground for those crotch shots? It’s so obvious from the angle what was happening in all of those.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        Do I blame them for not wearing undergarments with a dress and exiting a vehicle with their legs wide open? Yes. Yes, I do. Chicas knew exaaactly what they were doing.

      • BRobertson says:

        @ChillyWilly That was actually photoshopped. In the original pictures, she was wearing them

    • BRobertson says:

      From what I remember, the helicopter thing didn’t actually happen and she DENIED being bullied. So, try again.

      • BRobertson says:

        Also, they seemed to get along pretty well at the premiere, though yes it is debatable how real that is. I take gossip sites with a grain of salt, generally.

    • perplexed says:

      When did she drop out? She got her degree.

      • Allz says:

        I’ve never heard of these rumors, in fact the opposite. She never dropped out, she got her degree, she posted pictures of herself at Brown’s graduation. I’ve heard from people in her class that a few people shouted things at her initially regarding HP, but she didn’t mind and was well liked.

        Anyway, I think we should all admit the truth, Beth is the worst sister in this story.

    • Mo says:

      My understanding of the Brown fiasco is that she wanted to start college “on time,” but the Harry Potter movies were still filming. She was having to leave for shooting, which might be possible in a UK tutorial, exam at the end of the year type setting, but absolutely was a disaster in the US, where class participation can be part of the grade. US stars who go to college work during the summer and take a semester off if there is a project they can’t pass up.

      Gossip I heard working at a Boston area college is that faculty considered her smart enough to do the work and liked her well enough, but she never should have been admitted for that term if her plan was to work during the school year. It was unknown if it was just a failure of communication or if one side misled the other.

      But anyway, she did come back for successful degree at Brown and an exchange year at Oxford. It was a shame, I think if she had waited until the movies stopped filming, she could have had much better experience in the US. Word of that bad first year spread far and fast.

  11. Skyblue121 says:

    I read and reread Little Women as child and Meg, if memory serves me right, was described as soft and gentle with plump little hands. Emma Watson doesn’t seem quite right.

  12. carmen says:

    I thought actors were contractually obligated to promote the films they’re paid to do. Even if this isn’t the case, the optics are awful here as it looks like she’s getting a free ride and not being part of the team.

  13. Jax says:

    I don’t even understand why this movie remake is even a big deal at this point. It’s the 6th time it’s been done. So for Greta Gerwig pushing her Oscar campaign so hard, I’m a bit over it. I love Saoirse Ronan but I’m never gonna watch this in the theaters. If I were Emma Watson, I can understand skipping out on promo.

  14. msd says:

    I recall reading that Sony pushed for Watson when Stone dropped out because they wanted a ‘big name’, the implication being that she wasn’t really Gerwig’s choice.

    Recent rumours suggest her role was reduced in post production, too. I have no idea if her scenes were cut or not, though. Who knows.

  15. Jessica says:

    Page Six picked this up from Oh No They Didn’t. I don’t buy that there is a real source here. Shameless!

  16. lucia says:

    Emma has a bigger social media presence than all of them and her posts about LW have probably reached more people than all the press events and outfit changes. Plus she knows no one really cares about Meg.

  17. Jenn says:

    I love Meg – and Laura Dern as well!

  18. Wilma says:

    I hope it’s not because of some medical situation.

    • lucy2 says:

      I was thinking that too, she might be ill or unable to travel for some reason.

      Whatever the case, is it that big a deal? Her character isn’t as prominent and she’s still doing some events and promoting it.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      My thoughts exactly. Celebs are human, and perhaps she is dealing with a human issue that she doesn’t want to disclose to the public.

  19. A says:

    I had no idea celebs could refuse to do promo for their movies. I thought it was all part of their contract. Maybe Emma isn’t thrilled by own performance and knows that people will pick her apart for it, especially when they see how good Florence or Saoirse are, so she decided to stay at home. Smart girl.

    • Katherine says:

      It could be in their contract that they only do 1-2 things. Bigger name celebs can command this if the press isn’t their thing. The pr side of being a “movie star” doesn’t always go hand in hand with being an actor. Some do it both seamlessly but some are horribly awkward and low energy when doing the promotion dog and pony show. I do think you have to have enough clout to arrange that though…

  20. becoo says:

    Thanks for covering this, Kaiser! I agree that Watson doesn’t seem like a diva. Still, it’s an interesting choice on her part; Meg may not be a notable character, but the film is about four iconic characters, and with all the other three doing press, her absence was, of course, going to generate some negative attention. Someone else suggested that they cast her for her name recognition; if so, it’s a little odd that execs wouldn’t want to capitalize on that name recognition by having her be more visible. I guess they really are counting on her to use her social media following.

    But I’m impressed that she was able to work out this arrangement in her contract. I guess she has good reps.

  21. vertes says:

    I like Emma and, of course, Saoirse. Dern gets on my last nerve & I don’t see her as a suitable Marmee. Pugh is meh, to me. In the trailers, Saoirse doesn’t quite get the American accent so a bit of the Irish comes through in places.

  22. perplexed says:

    I think she’s a bad actor, but likely a nice person.

    She probably has the common sense to know that everyone has picked out Saoirse (spelling?) as the big star. Everyone is about Jo and Laurie.

  23. Dizzy says:

    This book has been made into a film too often! Another classic American novel that needs a remake is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” The original novel is so much more deep than any film based on it. All the sexual stuff was written out of the film versions. It would make a great mini series

  24. BellaBella says:

    Laura Dern is THE BEST!!! I want to be your nemesis now!

  25. Zantasia says:

    Saoirse’s dress…all I see is a bedazzled bib.

  26. Sidewithkids says:

    I never understood why she was in this movie. Playing 2nd fiddle to SR and playing that character. Strange. I guess maybe her love for the book and she may wanted to work w/ SR and GG but her being in this makes zero sense really. She prob is coming to that realization.

  27. Valerie says:

    Not sure why she isn’t there for the promotion, but she was the weakest of the bunch. She had one or two moments where her performance was passable, but the rest of the cast could act circles around her, especially Saoirse and Florence.

  28. anon says:

    Also: She could be pregnant, which would explain a lot. I mean. Did you see that ugly-ass caftan-esque dress layered over crushed velvet leggings? No?

    Well. I did. Emma’s a pro. She’s not gonna miss a promo tour over petty cat fight s**t.

    I’m taking bets that she’s preggo.

    • Anna says:

      I don’t think so.
      There are other pics of her from London (December the 18th). She doesn’t look preggo on them.
      But it came to my mind too.
      However I really do think her absence during the promo tour for TLW looks more than suspicious. And I think it has nothing to do with the fact Meg isn’t a lead role.
      Either there was a conflict on the set (between Emma and other co-stars or Emma and Greta), because of a post-production action (according to some rumors some Emma’s scenes have been cut out) or due to some private things (either her or her close family).
      It’s definitely not common she skips the whole promotion.

  29. Alyse says:

    I like her personally, but not as an actress. She should just stick her focus to her advocating and philanthropy work, which really seems to be her sweet spot (and is far more important than acting anyway!)