Emma Watson Has Turned Down More Roles Than You Think

Though the term “overnight celebrity” is widely used, the phenomenon is actually exceedingly rare. Most artists work for years, even decades, before they get their big break and are “discovered.” However, Emma Watson is actually an example of someone who experienced instant fame. She was cast in the Harry Potter movies at 9 years old and went from being an ordinary girl to a household name in just a few months’ time.

Emma Watson attend the 'Little Women' movie premiere in a black dress
Emma Watson | Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Watson would go on to portray Hermione Granger for over a decade. However, her popularity only increased as the franchise wore on. When she finally was able to hang up Hermione’s wand, she had no shortage of roles being pitched to her. Perhaps this is why fans were so shocked when she decided to take a step back from her career and pursue her Bachelor’s degree.

Emma Watson explains why she priortized school over her career

Of course, Watson’s love of learning didn’t shock her most loyal fans. Over the years, Potterheads had drawn connections between the actor and the character that she portrayed. Still, many people couldn’t believe that she would pause her extremely lucrative career to go to college. But the decision was about more than just education for Watson. She had a deep feeling that if she didn’t take a step back from her career when she did, she’d never have the opportunity to.

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Watson spoke to Vanity Fair about her decision to enroll at Brown University in 2009. “I was finding this fame thing was getting to a point of no return,” the movie star recalled. “I sensed if this was something I was ever going to step away from it was now or never.”

The ‘Harry Potter’ star has turned down plenty of movies throughout her career

Of course, Watson didn’t completely give up acting during her tenure at Brown. She had to film some reshoots for the Harry Potter movies. She also managed to balance smaller roles while simultaneously earning her degree. Superfans may recall that she portrayed Lucy in the 2011 film My Week With Marilyn. Watson also took advantage of the theater department at Brown, starring in a rendition of Three Sisters.

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By despite Watson’s eclectic and ever-growing resume, the actor isn’t shy about turning down roles. La La Land, for example, went to a different Emma because Watson turned down the film. But there were far more movies that Watson passed on simply for the sake of her own sanity.

Watson explains why she’s said no to huge opportunities

“There have been hard moments in my career when I’ve had an agent or a movie producer say, ‘You are making a big mistake,'” Watson recalled. “But what’s the point of achieving great success if you feel like you’re losing your freakin’ mind? I’ve had to say, ‘Guys, I need to go back to school,’ or ‘I just need to go home and hang out with my cats.’ People have looked at me and been like, ‘Is she insane?’ But, actually, it’s the opposite of insane.”

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While people may have thought Watson was unwise for prioritizing her education over her film, it was the right choice for her. She has cited multiple times that her time at Brown was wonderful for her. And while Watson likely turned down tons of money and opportunities, her thought process was perfectly sound. Truly, you cannot put a price on sanity.