EXCLUSIVE: Emma Watson Gushes Over Tom Hanks’ ‘Unexpected’ Performance in ‘The Circle’
In the new cyber thriller The Circle, Emma Watson goes toe-to-toe with acting powerhouse Tom Hanks — and she says the two-time Oscar winner is every bit as wonderful as his reputation would have you believe.
The 27-year-old Beauty and the Beast star spoke with ET before the premiere of The Circle at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on Wednesday.
“You just think to yourself, ‘There’s no way this guy is gonna live up to his reputation.’ And then he does and it’s like, ‘What?! Really?!'” Watson marveled. “He’s funny and kind and generous to work with and very hard working and he’s all the things. He is all the things.”
The Circle follows a young tech genius named Mae Holland (Watson) who gets hired to work for the world’s leading social media and software company. As she quickly rises through the ranks, the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey (Hanks), begins to mentor her, and introduces her to a massive experiment the company is undertaking that could forever change the boundaries of privacy and freedom.
In the tense drama — directed by James Ponsoldt and based off the best-selling Dave Eggers novel of the same name — Hanks plays a morally dubious and ethically questionable character, which is something of a departure for the star, who typically headlines films as the unfalteringly likable hero.
According to Watson, that tonal shift is “what is so amazing about his performance.”
“There’s something so unexpected about it,” Watson said. “He’s like, all likeness and love and light on the outside, but there’s something else [inside].”
Watson also had nothing but praise and reverence for the late Bill Paxton, who plays her character’s father, Vince Holland, in one of the last movies he filmed before his death in February.
“It was wonderful working with him,” she shared. “It was a really personal relationship for me, so it’s not something I feel comfortable talking about… but he was wonderful.”
Given the subject matter of her new paranoia-driven drama — specifically the total loss of privacy in the digital age — Watson said she began to think differently about her social media presence as a result of working on the film.
“I remember reading the book and I like, I couldn’t sleep,” she recalled. “I was thinking about it for weeks.”
ET also caught up with Hanks at The Circle‘s TFF premiere, and the 60-year-old star said the need to be more vigilant with what you share on social media has already been a necessity for some time.
“If you’re not thinking twice about what you post on social media, you’re about five years behind the curve,” Hanks warned.
The actor also said that his character’s somewhat questionable virtue in the film is up to the audience to decide.
“I agree with everything that he says,” Hanks explained. “So whether that’s good or bad, it’s in the eye of the beholder.”
The Circle — which also stars John Boyega and Karen Gillan — hits theaters this Friday. Check out the trailer below for a look at the exciting high-tech thriller.