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Photographed by Mario Testino, Vogue, October 2011
Emma Watson has made headlines over the past year for her role as a United Nations Women goodwill ambassador; pioneering her campaign HeForShe; and launching a feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. But next week, Watson will return to her big-screen roots with her newest movie,
. The historical drama, directed by Oscar winner Florian Gallenberger, hits theaters this Friday, which also happens to be Watson’s 26th birthday. To celebrate her standout accomplishments this year, here, five things you likely never knew about Emma Watson.
1. Watson had eight auditions before she was cast as Hermione Granger, and true to her character’s spirit, the young actress was equally fastidious about her performance. “I was crazy. I did eight auditions, and I would literally sit by the telephone in my house and wait for each call,” she has said. For the ninth audition, Watson met with the film’s producer David Heyman, who told her that she was the “preferred candidate” for the role. “Before I could obsess over what ‘preferred’ meant, they took a photograph of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and me, and it was broadcast on the Internet that we had been cast in
. By the time I got back to my house, there was press waiting outside. We moved straight into a hotel.”
films under her belt, Watson almost didn’t sign on to the final two films of the franchise. “Every film is such a huge production, and it’s a long time,” she said in 2006. Much of Watson’s indecision came down to college. “I have felt for the last ten years I have had this battle; I’ve been fighting so hard to have an education. It’s been this uphill struggle,” she told
in 2011. Eventually, Warner Bros. made the necessary changes to accommodate her pursuit of higher education, and later, Watson revealed that she was glad to have finished out the series. “I would have found it very difficult watching the movies being made without me as a part of them, because I grew up making them,” she said. “Being a part of this film franchise feels like part of my identity in a way. I would have gotten a lot more sleep. But I definitely made the right decision.”
devotees near and far, Watson revealed that her costar crush was not, in fact, Rupert Grint, but Tom Felton, who played the nefarious Slytherin Draco Malfoy. “Between the ages of  and  I had a really terrible crush on Tom Felton, to the extent that I would go into work in the morning and look down the numbers on the call sheet to see if he was going to be in,” Watson once said. “He was a few years older and he had a skateboard—and that just did it really.” While Felton didn’t reciprocate Watson’s feelings, he played off her schoolgirl crush like a real gentleman. “It’s very, very sweet,” he once said. “I remember hearing about it through the grapevine of the hair and makeup ladies. And we’ve been good friends ever since. It was such a long time ago—she was probably 10 and I was 12—it feels like a different lifetime. But it’s nice that we can look back at these things and laugh about it now.”
4. Among her celebrated accomplishments, including graduating from Brown University with a degree in English literature and being named as a U.N. Women goodwill ambassador the same year, Watson is also a board-two-certified yoga instructor. “I love having something completely unrelated to the film industry. I want to find something that will let me use my brain in another way,” she once said, explaining that the practice helps to ground her, no matter where filming takes her. “I was like, ‘I need to find a way to always feel safe and at home within myself.’ Because I can never rely on a physical place.”
5. Two years into her studies at Brown, Watson announced that she was taking a break from school to focus on her career. Unsubstantiated rumors online suggested Watson was leaving because her classmates were bullying her. One widely circulated rumor held that whenever Watson would answer a question correctly in class, a student would call out, “10 points to Gryffindor!” Adorable as that sounds, Watson has said that the anecdote was apocryphal. “This ‘10 points to Gryffindor’ incident never even happened,” she said in 2011. “I feel the need to say this because accusing Brown students of something as serious as bullying and this causing me to leave seems beyond unfair.”
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