Tom Felton may not have expected to perfect his villainous chops,
but nonetheless, after nearly a decade in the Harry Potter
inner circle, he has done so excellently. Now that the fantasy
franchise has ended – with the 8th and final installment Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 having come out mid-July
2011 – the 23-year-old faces an uncertain future. He has to ask,
should he continue being cast as a villain in blockbusters or go the
softer, less financially secure indie route?
Well so far,
Felton has taken the safer, bad-guy route, playing the nasty animal
keeper in this year's science-fiction film reboot of the Planet
of the Apes series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Felton portrays a human character, Dodge Landon, who is more beastly
than the genetically enhanced chimpanzee Caesar who is imprisoned in
Landon's father's ape "refuge."
September 1987 in Kensington, London, Thomas Andrew "Tom" Felton is
best known for playing the role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry
Potter film series, the movie adaptations of the best-selling
Harry Potter fantasy novels by author J.K. Rowling.
By the time he
had auditioned for the mega-blockbuster at 12, the English actor and
musician had been in commercials since he was eight and in films
since 10, appearing in The Borrowers and Anna and the King.
After being cast as Malfoy he subsequently was in all eight Potter
films, from 2001 to 2011. A fishing aficionado, he helped form the
World Junior Carp Tournament, a "family-friendly" fishing
Felton's portrayal of Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood
Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
won him the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain in 2010 and 2011.
In late 2010,
Felton played the main character, Ray Marsden in the movie, White
Other. Ray is a troubled youth in the "ends" of England and
Imelda Staunton, who played Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and
the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows – Part 1, also appears as one of the other main roles in
Felton had a
cameo role as himself in Get Him to the Greek, released on 4
June 2010. In February 2010, he was cast in the thriller, The
At the May
2011 Big Apple Wizard Con in Manhattan, Felton did an hour-long Q&A
session with fans and friends – including myself. This Q&A is drawn
from that afternoon's event.
your favorite thing about portraying Draco's character?
I feel very
lucky, actually. Draco is the complete polar opposite, so any
opportunity for an actor to play someone as far opposite of you as
possible is always fun. The rest of the 12 kids or whatever it is
that signed when we were 11 years old, a lot of them were very
similar to their characters, and one of the best things that I had
to do is to play the complete opposite. I hope you believe me when I
say I'm actually a half decent guy in real life.
When we see
Draco, we see a very conflicted character.
Very much so.
I remember I was quizzing J.K. [Rowling] after the sixth film saying
"What’s going on here?" Don’t build me up to be this evil guy and
then flip it in the last few films. Where are we going in the last
few films? I think one of the nicest things she did was she left it
to interpretation. She never actually specified whether he was
consciously thinking about helping the good side or whether it was
just inner turmoil. I think – especially [in the previous] film – we
really see him at his peak of confliction, where we see him sort of
save Harry’s life. In this film, he tries to kill Harry and then
Harry saves him. So he really doesn’t know where his loyalties lie.
There’s a fantastic bit at the very end when you have the whole evil
side and the whole good side. And Voldemort basically has to say
"Come to the good side or they’ll kill you," and Draco is the only
one. He doesn’t want to do it, but his parents pull him over.
related to the book is the seventh movie?
hard for me to say because I haven't seen the full film yet. But we
shot everything. A lot of people say "Oh, the reason they wanted to
split it into two movies was financially." I promise you, it was
that or a six-hour film, and a lot of nine-year-olds can't sit
through a six-hour film. As far as I know, the reason we did it is
so we could stick to the book exactly, and as far as I'm aware,
there have been absolutely no compromises of this. However, I do
know that the epilogue scene – the 19 years later – they shot it,
they reshot it, and they’ve got loads of great stuff there.
Potter film was your favorite to shoot and why?
It gets better
as years have gone on. The first one was obviously a lot of fun
because we had no idea what we were doing. The sixth film was the
one I really enjoyed because it's the only film that I'm there from
the start to the finish and saw the whole thing being made, and also
got a chance to work with some of my heroes in one-on-one scenes. To
work with Alan Rickman one-on-one was terrifying. It really was,
actually. He's a very daunting man, to say the least, with a very
sexy voice, of course. So yeah, that was the film I really look back
[on] with the fondest memories.
How was it
filming with Ralph Fiennes?
No, literally. It took me six years to get "Good morning" out of me.
I was just like "Hi," and I'd just walk on. He's in full makeup, so
it's pretty terrifying. It's one thing to see him as Voldemort –
pretty terrifying, obviously. But it's actually even scarier when
he's sitting there on his chair having a cup of tea, reading the
morning paper. It's like, oh my god, there's Voldemort and he's
reading the Daily Times. And he has a very specific tea blend
that he likes. He wears really nice socks. Voldemort rocks nice
socks. But actually he's a charming, lovely, hilarious guy. When I
saw him at an event as Ralph, I sort of latched onto him because it
was nice to see him as a human.
What is the
funniest line flub you've ever done while filming?
On the second
or third film, when I was still quite young, there was a line that's
supposed to be the end of the film, and for some reason I couldn't
say it. I don't know what it was, but my mouth just stuttered. I
used to have a bit of a bad stutter, actually, as a kid. I was very
young, and I actually started crying because I couldn't get this
right. I was really upset. The director came up to me and said "Tom,
we got it, we got it. It's in the can. Don't worry about it," and I
was like "Brilliant. Thank God, thank God." They cut that out of the
film, it's not in it. It's not even in the deleted scenes. It's just
been banished off the face of the Earth. That was the line that
taught me: get it right or they're just going to cut you out.
If you had
a chance to portray another character from Harry Potter who would it
thought I would have made a great Hermione. They thought otherwise.
It's very hard for me to say, to be honest with you. I'm very much
impregnated with Draco's DNA; it's hard for me to see it as anyone
else. I'm hoping they're going to remake them in 20 years and I get
to play Lucius.
you have felt if you got cast as Harry and not Draco?
I went for
half a dozen auditions for Harry. They dyed my hair slightly dark
brown, gave me the scar, the glasses, everything. Luckily, Daniel
smashed me to the post. And actually I dyed my hair ginger straight
afterwards for Ron – three auditions as Ron. Finally, they bleached
my hair blond and that stuck for 10 years. I'm very grateful. There
is no question that no one could have played Harry as well as Daniel
– or the whole cast really. So I'm very grateful.
think Draco could have been secretly in love with Hermione? And if
you don't think so, is there someone else he would have been
secretly in love with?
I think he was
way too busy with the tasks at hand. Actually, it kind of sucked how
Draco didn't get a decent girlfriend. I guess he's in love with
himself. I can't see the Hermione thing, unless Hermione punching
Draco in the face was another way of saying ‛I love you‛.
How do you
series would have been if Harry was your friend? If he didn't turn
you down in the first movie?
God knows. I
don't know. It would have been a very different book, no doubt. I
don't think Draco would have lasted so long as a character if he was
Harry's friend. I guess Harry would have been evil. I have no idea.
I haven't even thought about that one. You've just opened a whole
can of worms. I might start rewriting.
What do you
think Draco's reaction would be in the first movie if the hat had
suddenly said "Gryffindor" instead of "Slytherin"?
would have lobbed the hat on the floor and stamped on it. I'm not
I actually did
a similar thing when I was at the Harry Potter exhibition in
Los Angeles. They have a hat and they have the voices. And I put it
on my head, and then for some reason one of the guys that works
there ran over and ripped it off my head. He said "If it had said
'Gryffindor' it would have been the worst thing in the world." I was
kind of bummed about that. Anyway, the next day I tried it on; it
said "Slytherin." So that kind of still sticks with me. Did you see
how quickly the hat called it? It didn't get in my head, I swear.
If you had
a broken wand and could only cast three spells what would they be?
Oh no, I've
got to remember three spells now. The classic one [is one] of my
personal favorites. The first one I ever learned, Wingardim Leviosa.
I was about to say Avada Kadavra, but I suppose I better not say
that one. Maybe I should, that's very Draco, actually. There are
quite a lot of those flying around in the last film, so look out for
Do you guys
keep any of your wardrobe or props from the Harry Potter movies?
no. Unofficially, yeah. Only a small amount of things. I was very
keen on getting a nimbus and a wand and a cloak. I did get Draco's
tie pin and his silver Slytherin ring. It even has the [tape] around
it because my fingers were too small to fit normal sized rings when
I was about 12. They've moved most of them to the exhibition here, I
think in Times Square. And there's one in LA as well – they've got a
bunch of costumes. And in hindsight, it's probably better there than
it is in my attic or in my downstairs loo or something like that.
A lot of
people love dressing up in the costumes and they see Draco as a kind
of role model. How does that make you feel seeing people dressed up
reason, it always seems to be girls. I don't think I've ever had a
bloke dressed as me. I'm always a bit worried, actually, when
parents come up to me with exceptionally young children and they say
"Draco's her favorite character." I always think: I'm not supposed
to be, I don't think. I'm pretty sure Harry's the good one. I'm the
guy they shouldn't root for. So yeah, it's always a bit mysterious
when people do latch onto Draco. I guess it's a rebellious thing, or
maybe they see the inner conflict and feel quite sorry for him. I'm
not sure. But it's cool, I enjoy it. It's always fun.
ever consider going to Harry Potter conventions?
never done a convention in New York. But I've done a handful of them
across the world, and a big thing for me is actually getting a
chance to come and say thank you to you guys. Everyone thinks that
we started off on the first one with eight films in mind. That was
definitely not the case; it was specifically to do one. And it was
only thanks to [the passion and enthusiasm of] everyone across the
world that we ended up doing it for 11 years. I'm personally very
grateful, and I know I speak for the rest of the cast when I say
thanks for your dedication and passion. Of course; any opportunity
to say thank you is always welcome.
A Very Potter
I’ve only done
a handful of these conventions. But every one I go to, there are at
least two or three people that ask me this question, and every time
I shamefully say I have not seen the whole thing. It’s three hours
long. That’s quite a YouTube video, isn’t it? But I’ve heard
fantastic things, and I also heard I was wrongly cast in that by
someone far superior. I’d like to meet her because I hear she’s done
a wonderful job.
you think about any fan fiction that deals with Draco and Hermione?
It’s kind of
two sides of the coin here. One, I think anyone that’s felt inspired
by reading Harry Potter enough to actually do their own literary
work is fantastic. It’s one of the great things that have come from
J.K. Rowling’s writing; she’s inspired so many kids. However, their
topics are often a little strange, and I confess I have not really
gone to great depths of reading fan fiction. A lot of them are very
sexual. I don’t know what it is. And also there are alarming
pictures that go with them, and let me stress, these pictures are
not real. Daniel and I never spooned in bed. Or we never took
pictures, anyway. My brother actually had that as his screen saver
on his phone.
you think of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
something special. If you're even slightly a Harry Potter fan, it's
pretty amazing and a very cool place to go. I warn you now; you're
going to spend thousands in there. I bought everything with a
Slytherin bag on it.
be your dream role, if you could play any person?
I’d like to
say I don’t want to put any constraints, whatever comes my way, but
I’m lying. James Bond. If not, I’ll happily settle for the villain.
could make your own film to star in, who would be your top co-star
and top director?
I have a
handful of actors and directors. But I had such a good time working
with David Yates, who directed the last four films. He without
question is the reason why I'm very passionate about filmmaking. To
be honest with you, I was four or five films in, thinking I'm not
sure whether I really want to do this. I thought it could be some
other calling for me in life. But David pretty much singlehandedly
made me realize how damn lucky I was and also how much money it is
actually to make films. As far as co-stars, Daniel and I have always
said we'd love to do a film where I'm the hero and he's the villain.
I wanted to do music, I wanted to do agricultural work, I wanted to
do fishing. All sorts. But evidently I realized that acting’s pretty
acting very young. Did you always want to be an actor?
Very much so.
My parents felt the complete opposite. They were the ones going
"Look, I don’t want you going to a spaghetti commercial at the age
of seven," but I was quite adamant on going. As soon as I got my
first video camera, I start[ed] making my own two-hour monologues at
the age of six. I used to watch a lot of theater because my brother
is in theater. It was always something that seemed very natural and
fun. I joined drama groups and I really, really enjoyed it. It was
very different when we started doing adverts and commercials, and my
first film – when I was seven, I think it was. Looking back, it’s a
How did it
feel to be in such a serious movie like
Anna and the
King and then go into movies like Harry Potter?
I was like 10
years old. It [was] four months in Malaysia. There was no one else
out there who spoke English, really, other than the cast and crew,
but it was very cool. And Malaysia is fantastic. The harsh part
about it is that I really didn't have any idea who Jodie Foster was
because my mom wouldn't let me watch Silence of the Lambs. So
it's only actually since then that I realized, oh my God, Jodie
Foster was my mom. It was an awesome time.
think you’ll direct later on?
Yeah, I’d love
to. I love the idea of directing one day. I’ve recently started
writing. All aspects of filmmaking fascinate me: sound, stunts,
whatever it may be. So I hope to be involved with it for the rest of
Are you in
a band or anything like that?
Not really. I
take my guitar wherever I go and I love to jam out and write my own
very simple songs.
any graphic novels that you like?
Not really. I
never really got too much into comics, not like Marvel comics. We
have ones like "Beano." It‛s a comic book in England. It seems to be
the trend, isn't it, where every single living comic book in the
last 50 years is now turning into a six-film franchise or whatever.
Which is great, it's fantastic.
ever thought of doing voice acting? And if so, is there a specific
character from a cartoon or an anime that you would like to play?
It's funny you
say that, because I was just speaking to a guy about their remaking
the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In England, it was not
What was it
"Hero". It was
the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, because for some reason in
the '90s the word "ninja" was banned from TV. I went to Nickelodeon
the other day and saw some of the stuff they're doing. It looks
amazing. So yeah, I'd love to do some voice work, definitely.
any advice you could give to someone in the business trying to make
A lot of
people actually ask me how to do it or what’s the best advice.
Something people often misconceive is just how much luck you need.
There are thousands of actors out there who are way more talented,
way better looking, way better at certain parts, and yet they never
even get seen for a particular role for whatever reason. So a huge
amount of luck is in there. Determination. You need to be turned
away a thousand times before one person says "All right, I'll give
you a shot." So really you're a bit of meat that walks into a room
and they say "No." You have to walk out and hold your head up and
say "All right, fine, I wasn't right for that part but I'm going to
walk up to the next one," which takes a while. It's hard not to take
it personally when someone says "You're great, you're great." No,
you're not. "We don't want you for the part." It does take a while
to get used to that. I've always said just do it because you love to
do it. A lot of youngsters say "I want to be famous." Being an actor
is not the best way to go about it. It's much easier to become one
of those reality show stars. That's much quicker; you don't have to
do anything. Just get drunk on TV.
watch any TV? What are some of your favorite shows?
Bryan Cranston – I love him.
You were in
Him to the Greek, for like five minutes. Were you called for that
or did you just show up or what?
had lots of visitors on the Harry Potter set every day from
kids. I think Obama's family came down for a day, which was weird.
There were like 160 security guards running around militant style,
which is fun. Jonah Hill came down one day and as soon as I heard
that, I kind of latched onto his tour. I clung onto him for about
two hours, because I was a massive fan of Superbad. And then
he gave me a call the next day and said "Do you want to be in the
last day of the movie?" And I genuinely thought he was joking, and
he wasn't. I came on the set; they did no rehearsals, no script.
They just said, "Walk in and he's going to say some stuff to you."
It was fun.
favorite film quote?
film for quotes – rather than picking an individual quote out from
it – is Snatch. It's a Guy Ritchie film, [with] Brad Pitt.
Anything that Brad Pitt says in that whole film has me in stitches.
receive an invitation to the Royal wedding?
landed in Chicago three weeks ago and drove from Chicago to San
Francisco in an RV. Love it. And then we drove down the coast and we
just got to New York last night. I was saying I sacrificed my ticket
to come over to America to do the road trip, and they were like "Oh
my God, that's brilliant, man. We love that." Of course it's not
true. I didn't get invited. My girlfriend would not have let me go.
I did stay up until five in the morning in Chicago to watch it, so
we're very proud of our new princess.
your plans after
shooting The Deathly Hallows maybe a year ago now. I've been
lucky enough to continue with acting. I have a handful of films that
will be coming out this year. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
comes out in August. I saw a trailer for that a couple of weeks ago;
it looks really awesome. And there's a film coming out next year
called The Apparition with Ashley Greene.
ever consider going on Broadway?
Yeah, I'd love
to. Has anyone seen Daniel? I've heard nothing but rave reviews.
It's actually kind of weird, because when we were shooting the last
Deathly Hallows, occasionally Daniel would get up out of the
makeup chair and bust out a few moves. I hear he's tearing up
Broadway and bringing thousands of excited kids to see him, which is
fantastic. Unfortunately, I'm not going to get the chance to see him
[this time]. But I am back for the New York premiere [of Deathly
Hallows 2], so I'll make sure I go see him.
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