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The Real Reason You Haven't Seen Emma Watson In Movies For A While

Emma Watson has accomplished a great deal throughout her career. Most audiences were introduced to her when she was just a child after she was cast as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, going on to reprise the part for all seven of its sequels. Watson even filmed the last few movies in the series while attending Brown University in a move that would surely make her fictitious witch counterpart proud. 

By the time the Harry Potter film series ended in 2011, Watson was in her early 20s and was a household name who had her pick of roles. She further cemented her status as an A-lister by joining the casts of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring, two features that allowed her to explore different types of characters. Watson has acted steadily over the years in addition to balancing work in the fashion, modeling, and activism realms — but in February 2021, The Daily Mail came out with a report suggesting that Watson was thinking of retiring from acting in favor of settling down with her boyfriend, Leo Robinton. Watson's manager at Untitled Entertainment swiftly debunked the rumors, clarifying that the actress' career has, contrary to public opinion, not gone "dormant."

Though Emma Watson has considered quitting Hollywood in the past, she's not going anywhere anytime soon. However, her future plans don't take away from the fact that she hasn't been in many films lately, last appearing (as of this writing) in Greta Gerwig's Little Women in late 2019. Where has Watson been? Let's take a look at why you haven't seen her in movies for a while.

Emma Watson has taken breaks before, and she might simply need some downtime

Watson is known for taking breaks in her career. Her last film role was that of Meg March in 2019's Little Women, and prior to that, she wasn't seen on the big screen since 2017, when she starred in The Circle and Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.

During an interview with Vogue in 2019, Watson revealed that it was somewhat difficult for her to continue acting post-Potter. She shared that she went to therapy after the immense success of theHarry Potter movies and dealt with imposter syndrome. "Somebody else would have enjoyed and wanted this aspect of it more than I did. And I've struggled a lot with the guilt around that. I'm like, 'I should be enjoying this a lot more, I should be more excited and I'm actually really struggling.'" Watson said at the time.

It's vital to remember Watson has been working in this industry for 20 years now. It's only natural for a bit of burnout to take place, and perhaps she's looking for a change of pace. The last time Watson took a break after Beauty and the Beast, it was to focus more on her own personal development (via Self). During that time, she dove headfirst into her activism work. In 2019, Watson — along with Katja Iversen, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Michael Kaufman — published a report titled "Every G7 county should have feminist foreign policy," which goes into depth regarding how governments need to take more active roles in establishing gender equality. It's a field of study Watson is clearly interested in, and her future could absolutely entail greater work in helping women around the globe rather than appearing in movies on a constant, consistent basis.

Emma Watson has gone quiet on social media

Watson was never the most active celebrity on social media, but it is a little jarring to visit her Instagram page now. She hasn't uploaded anything since June 2020, and the top of her profile reads, "Emma's official Instagram page is currently dormant and is not being updated." The same kind of message can't be found on her official Twitter profile, but she hasn't posted or liked anything on that platform since August 2020. 

It could just be that in the aftermath of starring in the techno-thriller The Circle, which tackled the dark downsides of social media companies, Watson wants to step away from spending an excessive amount of time on these apps. It's also important to note that Watson faced some backlash in 2020 for some of her Instagram photos. While the Black Lives Matter protests occurred in the summer of 2020, it started trending for people to post a black square with the hashtag "blacklivesmatter" to show their solidarity with the movement. The trend was swiftly criticized for being an exercise in performative activism, and made it difficult for people to find more pertinent information related to the protests considering the hashtag was becoming consumed by black squares. 

Watson joined a list of celebrities facing criticism during this time for posting not one but three black squares (via Deseret News). Many critics stated how she posted three squares so as not to ruin the overall aesthetic of her Instagram feed, which took away from the overall impact of the message of the protests. The actress was quick to respond by sharing additional materials for people wanting to learn about systemic racism in the United States. Shortly after all this, Watson's Instagram feed went silent. Perhaps Watson wants to step away from high-profile projects to focus on how she can really use her celebrity for good. 

Emma Watson doesn't exactly need to make any more money in the film industry

When you star in one of the most critically acclaimed and profitable film series of all time, you don't really have to worry about money ever again. Recent estimates put Emma Watson's net worth at around $80 million, which also comes from her other ventures like modeling. It's possible that Watson feels like she has enough money at her disposal, and combined with royalties, there's not exactly a financially motivated reason for her to act all of the time.

Considering Watson has taken on a handful of movie roles in her post-Potter life, it's clear that she's not in the acting business for money anyhow. There's obviously a personal drive at play here: She acts because it's what she enjoys doing, not because it makes her a ton of money. It stands to reason that Watson simply hasn't found a project that she's totally enamored with, and thus hasn't signed on to appear in any movies since Little Women

Emma Watson is particularly picky about what roles she accepts

Speaking to Interview Magazine in 2017, Watson she revealed her criteria in picking parts, stating, "It usually comes down to two things: the person I'm working with — the director is really important to me — and a line in a script. There's usually one line that I read and I'm like, 'Okay. I have to say this line. I have to tell this story.' It's an instant click. And if there isn't that line, even if the story is great, I'm always a bit meh."

It's possible that nothing has come along as of late that has sparked joy in Watson. With this knowledge, it's also interesting how it recontextualizes other films in Watson's career. Her most recent acting credit in Little Woman makes sense; it was directed by Greta Gerwig, who is one of only five women to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards for her work on Lady Bird. As an ardent feminist, Watson would, unsurprisingly, want to support such a talented director on the rise. Plus, playing Meg March in the film also provided Watson with a powerful moment where she's speaking with her sister Jo (Saoirse Ronan) and declares, "Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn't mean they're unimportant. I want a home and a family and I'm willing to work and struggle, but I want to do it with John."

This is all to say that someone as established in the film industry and as selective with their roles as Watson has the freedom to be choosy, and that's likely part of the reason fans haven't seen her in movies in a while.

What does all of this mean for the future of Emma Watson's career?

For the brief period of time between The Daily Mail article and her agent's clarification, people lost their minds over the thought of Watson retiring. Over on Twitter, fans tweeted things like, "Thank you [Emma Watson] for all these years of cinematic magic." 

Even if she did end up retiring, Watson has provided the world with more than enough films to enjoy for years to come. She's a multi-talented woman, and whatever she decides to do next in life, she deserves to be happy. She, like anyone else in the world, deserves time to focus on her own personal well-being where a bunch of cameras aren't directed toward her. It's clear Watson doesn't feel the need to be acting all of the time — hey, who wouldn't want to be "just Emma Watson" for a while? — and moving forward, she'll likely only take on projects that truly speak to her.