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'Potter pushed my life back'

 Emma Watson (with Logan Lerman) heads to high school in 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower.'
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Date published: 10/8/2012




--For 10 years Emma Watson put her real life on hold as she played plucky Hermione Granger in the eight films that brought J. K. Rowling's wizardly world of Harry Potter to the screen. It made Watson rich and famous beyond her wildest imaginings.

But it made her live her life "in a very weird order," she says. "Harry Potter pushed my life back."

Now 22, she finds herself "having a delayed adolescent experience"--a years-late turn at high school, for instance.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has been one of her favorite novels. And being Emma Watson, one of the most photographed, Internet-searched and adored young women in the world, she could have a hand in getting it turned into a film.

No, she wouldn't be the lead, and yes, she would have to fake her way through a "real" American high school experience. But the young Briton was game to give it a try.

"American culture and American high schools are like another world to me," Watson says. "I had to do a lot of research just to get myself comfortable with an experience that Logan (Lerman, the film's lead) and Ezra (Miller, who plays her half-brother) would have absorbed just by growing up in America. I felt very much like the outsider."

She had to master the accent and absorb the American high school vibe. And it was worth it, she says, just to get on film a work that fills what she saw as a lengthy gap in the "authentic adolescent experience, as presented in movies."

In other words, she says, her generation never got its "Breakfast Club."

"I hope that's what we've made, something that feels that real."

Watson's star power--playing Sam, "the muse, the inspiration" for Charlie, a troubled, bookish teen played by Lerman--allowed novelist-screenwriter Stephen Chbosky to make his movie. But more than that, he feels blessed at being able to cast a still-rising star who seems perfect for Sam, a sexy, smart and sensitive character who drives the protagonist's actions from the moment Charlie casts his eyes on her.

"She's been through this whirlwind of attention and come out of it kind and thoughtful," Chbosky says of Watson. "That's Sam, too. Emma's personal history" connected the actress to the role.

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