“It’s about believing in yourself and knowing your worth and owning your worth,” Watson, who plays Meg March, told Variety last week of the scene. “Right now, the Taylor Swift situation is a great example of, you know, you’re young and you’re talented and someone wants to buy your work. But having ownership at the end of the day is super, super important because you don’t know what someone’s going to decide to do with that.”
The actor was referring to a segment late in the film in which Jo March (played by Saoirse Ronan) faces off with a New York publisher (Tracy Letts) over the draft of a novel that will become “Little Women.”
The scene concludes with Jo reluctantly agreeing to marry off the novel’s protagonist, whose journey mirrors her own. However, she does so only in exchange for full ownership of the book’s copyright.
“I think people undervalue ownership,” Watson said. “You know when you play Monopoly and you have a decision and you want to own something or get cash fast. The way to win Monopoly is to own stuff. I’m just saying.”
The feud most recently made headlines in November when Swift alleged she’d been banned from performing her early material at the 2019 American Music Awards.
Just days before the ceremony, Big Machine executives said they’d reached a licensing agreement with the award show’s producers, Dick Clark Productions. In the end, Swift performed a decade-spanning medley that included old hits like “Blank Space” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but not without delivering a pointed message for her detractors.
As for “Little Women,” the film has turned out to be a critical and commercial smash, generating a flurry of Oscar buzz for director Greta Gerwig and her all-star cast, which includes Laura Dern and Timothée Chalamet.
Though Watson said she “loved playing” Meg in the film, her off-screen life is more similar to that of Ronan’s free-spirited Jo.
“The role that I play is a really important kind of foil, or counterbalance, to Jo,” she told Variety. “But I definitely resonate the most with Jo.”