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Emily Watson corners the mom market

The ‘War Horse’ star previews what’s next on her movie roster

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Emily Watson’s been in a motherly way lately. The 44-year-old Breaking the Waves and Hilary and Jackie star has found herself in three new projects, each with a matriarchal bent. ”I guess I’m in that zone,” she says. ”I’m the age, and I’ve got children of my own [a 2- and a 6-year-old], and I think people think of me when they want a mum.” In Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse (out Dec. 25), she plays the mother of Albert (Jeremy Irvine), a boy whose horse gets taken to the WWI front lines. ”She has a lot of flint in her and a lot of strength,” Watson says. ”She gives [Albert] his sense of fight, to never give up.” In the upcoming Sundance Channel true-crime miniseries Appropriate Adult (starting Dec. 10), she stars as a beleaguered mother and social worker assigned to help manage a manipulative and chatty serial killer (The Wire‘s Dominic West). ”She’s a vulnerable person, totally ill-equipped to deal with that situation, and he recognizes that.” What’s next for Watson? ”I just wrapped Little Boy, set in the Second World War, about a boy [newcomer Jakob Salvati] who thinks he has magic powers and can bring his father home from a prisoner-of-war camp,” she says. ”I play his mum. Surprise, surprise!”