‘Harry Potter’: Emma Watson Reacts To Being Called ‘Too Pretty’ To Play Hermione

Emma Watson has been told countless times that she is too pretty for the role of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. Even JK Rowling has said of the main cast, “To be honest, (Dan), Rupert, and Emma are all too good looking!”

And after years of Watson being told that she wasn’t the right fit for the part because of her looks, she has finally responded to the criticism.

Emma Watson attends the "Beauty And The Beast" New York screening
Emma Watson attends the “Beauty And The Beast” New York screening | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Hermione Granger and the history of ‘adaptational attractiveness’

One of the most common problematic tropes in cinema is called “adaptational attractiveness.”

This is when a character described as unattractive is played in film by a conventionally attractive actor. Adaptational attractiveness is usually done to make the character more glammed up for Hollywood standards.

Emma Watson attends the "Beauty and the Beast" New York screening
Emma Watson attends the “Beauty and the Beast” New York screening | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

In the Harry Potter books, Hermione is described as rather plain-looking. Meanwhile, Watson is considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in the entertainment industry.

Still, Despite Watson’s unmistakable beauty, it goes without saying that she was just perfect for the role of Hermione. Rowling has said so herself after discovering the incredible similarities between the fictional character and Watson.

In a YouTube discussion, Rowling talks about the moment she knew Watson was perfect for Hermione.

“Do you know what?” said Rowling, “It was really lucky I spoke to Emma first on the phone before I met her. Because I fell absolutely in love with her. She said to me: ‘I’ve only ever acted in school drama plays and, oh my God, I’m so nervous I can’t believe I got the part.’ And then she spoke for, like, 60 seconds at least, without drawing breath.”

Emma Watson responds to being called ‘too pretty’ for the role of Hermione Granger

Actress Emma Watson talks about playing Hermione in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Actress Emma Watson talks about playing Hermione in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” | Virginia Sherwood/NBC NewsWire

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In the book titled Harry Potter: Page to Screen, Watson responds to comments that she wasn’t right for the role of Hermione.

“I remember the papers saying I was too pretty to play Hermione, which was a bit of a backhanded compliment, so I wasn’t too upset.”

But according to Watson, she grew determined to prove herself as more than just a “pretty face.”

“But obviously,” she continues, “I just wanted everyone to think I was going to do a good job, and I was the right choice.”

And right when the press had announced that she would be playing Hermione, Watson says everything turned to “mayhem.”

According to the actor, she had to spend the night at a hotel with her family because the press had bombarded her home.

“The minute I was told I had the part, it was just mayhem,” she reveals in Harry Potter: Page To Screen. “I knew something was happening, obviously, but I had no idea the implications of what it all meant.”

JK Rowling said she had to get over the fact that Emma Watson is so pretty

Emma Watson attends The National Movie Awards
Emma Watson attends The National Movie Awards | Eamonn McCormack/WireImage

From the beginning, Rowling was adamant that the Potter movies be as similar to the books as possible. And initially, the author had pictured a less conventionally attractive actor for the role of Hermione. Still, she believed Watson was “perfect” for the role.

“I just said, ‘Emma, you’re perfect.’ And then when I met her, and she was this very beautiful – which she still is, of course – beautiful girl, I just kind of had to go ‘Oh, OK.’ It’s a film, you know, deal with it. I’m going to still see my gawky, geeky, ugly duckling Hermione in my mind,” she said.