Emma Watson is a total fashionista and has the delicate look that is so common among French women. Is she actually French then?
Emma Watson is not French, however she was born in Paris, France. She lived with her parents in France until she was five when the family moved to England. Both of Watson’s parents are English. In 2017, she did play the French character Belle in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
Scroll down to read more about Emma Watson’s childhood in Paris and playing the role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
Early Childhood in Paris
Emma Watson is now thirty years old, but she spent the first five years of her life in an affluent suburb outside of Paris, France. The suburb is known as Maisons-Laffitte. Maisons-Laffitte is located approximately 18 kilometers outside of the French capital Paris. This suburb is famous specifically for the Château de Maisons-Laffitte, a castle built by the French architect François Mansart.
While living in Maisons-Laffitte, Emma’s parents were both practicing lawyers. Jacqueline Leusby and Chris Watson were both from England. They had Emma’s younger brother Alex three years after Emma. It was in 1995 that Watson’s parents decided to divore and the entire family moved back to England.
Since Emma was so young when living in France, she does not have much of a recollection of her time there. Both of her parents could speak French, but she has said she doesn’t speak it very well. In a 2008 interview with The Hour, Watson was asked if she can speak French. Her response was “Not as well as I used to. I was born in Paris but left when I was five. Both my parents speak fluently. I need to go back there and brush up.”
Further into the same 2008 interview, Watson was asked if she would ever do a French film. She said “Oh god! I’d love to. I loved Amelie. My favorite is also Cyrano de Bergerac with Gerard Depardieu. I’d like to work with him. I wish my French was that good.” Maybe this specific dream has yet to come true, but she has since played a French character.
Playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast
In 2015, it was announced that Emma Watson would be playing the role of Belle in the live-action remake of the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. The story of Beauty and the Beast takes place in a small French village. The main character Belle dreams of adventures outside of her “provincial” life. The French word “belle” literally means beauty in English.
Before the offer to play Belle came up, Watson actually turned down the role of Cinderella in the live-action remake of the same name. The role ultimately went to another British actress Lily James, who is most notable for playing the role of Lady Rose in Downton Abbey.
On turning down the Cinderella role and being Belle instead, Watson has said that “when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did. She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice.”
Watson playing the character Belle really makes a lot of sense. Belle and Watson are both big book worms, Watson has participated in the Books Underground initiative in London. And as Watson has been quoted saying, both are compassionate and open-minded. Watson is a UN Ambassador.
You can watch the first five minutes of Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast by following the below YouTube link.
While Emma Watson is not French, she does have a bit of French background and it’s no surprise she played such a fantastic version of the French character Belle.