January 14, 1967
Emily Watson has quickly become one of the world's most acclaimed actresses. She first caught
the attention of critics and audiences alike in 1997 for her stirring performance as Bess
in Lars Von Trier's "Breaking The Waves". The role went on to win her numerous awards; not
bad for her first foray into feature films.
The younger of two girls, Emily's father was an architect, her mother a teacher. After
graduating from high school, Emily continued her education, going to university for three
years. Interestingly, when she applied to drama school she was refused. So as with most
struggling thespians, she waitressed and did some secretarial work between getting bit
parts in theatrical productions. It wasn't the most exciting time in her career, but she
learned the ins and outs of her craft, but more importantly, she met Jack Waters, whom
she later married in 1995.
After numerous attempts and sheer determination, the five-foot-eight thespian was finally
accepted into the London Drama Studio, where she spent a year honing her craft.
Her per- serverance was finally beginning to pay off. She soon landed her first professional job
with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1992. Around this time another actress was about
to play an important part in Emily's fate. Helena Bonham Carter was asked to star in
Lars von Trier's "Breaking The Waves", but concerned with all the nudity the part called for,
she decided to back out of the project. Enter Watson, who showed up at the audition
with only a few theatre roles and one BBC telefilm tucked under her belt. With one quick screen
test she landed the role that would set the wheels in motion. From there it was only uphill
"Metroland" and "The Boxer" followed, but it was her role in the autobiographical film "Hilary And
Jackie", based on the life of Jacqueline du Pré, the celebrated English cellist who was
tragically struck down by multiple sclerosis, that shot Emily into the international
spotlight. Watching her performance as the spoiled yet deeply troubled Du Pré makes one wonder
why Emily had ever been rejected entrance by the London Drama Studio in the first place.
What- ever the reason, perhaps rejection was exactly what Emily needed to work even harder
at mastering her thespian skills.
Perhaps her thoughts to Premiere magazine sums it up best, "What I love about film is that
you spend a whole day very, very carefully and precisely defining and redefining something
that in reality was, like, two seconds of somebody's life. I get such a thrill from that. I
Photo © Unknown - Written by ThespianNet.com © 2001
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