With this week’s release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2″ closing out the Potter saga, it feels like as good a time as any to remind ourselves that no matter how you feel about Christopher Columbus’ skill set as a director, he certainly deserves praise for finding a set of child actors who, each and every one, grew to become actors — especially Tom Felton, cast as bad seed Draco Malfoy. With his shock-blonde hair and sneer, Draco was a kid you loved to hate – even as later events in the series challenged both our view of Draco and his view of himself. We spoke with Felton in New York.
This film series will never be out of your life, but when’s it going to be off your schedule in that you’re doing this last press tour? When does it stop being something you think about every day?
Felton: It will be a while, I imagine. We’ve been looking forward to this last film for so long. Of course, there’s going to be DVDs that come out of it, and I’m sure 3D, and 4D and “On Ice” and musicals and all the rest of it. It’s something that I’m not looking to shake. I hope to be remembered — all of us are going to be remembered, I think, for these characters for the rest of our lives. Obviously I’m hoping to develop things as well, but I’m definitely not looking to shake it any time soon.
When they announce ‘Harry Potter on Ice,’ you won’t be stretching and lacing up?
Felton: I’m actually developing the choreography of that myself; it’s my show. We’re working on a few different things. I doubt I would — I’m a terrible skater.
The great thing about your character is that this is a film where, while there’s conflict between good and evil, people aren’t necessarily one or the other all the time: If one character speaks to the humanity of that, it’s Draco. He’s torn, he’s conflicted, he’s caught up. Did you appreciate that acting challenge while you were given it?
Felton: Yeah, I was terrified — and a little nervous. It was hugely rewarding after: Faith was entrusted in me by David Yates and I obviously had a great cast around, which makes it a lot easier. Yeah, I was nervous, but ultimately things that are nerve-wracking usually end up being the most fun.
The action sequences are incredible and gripping; there’s a level of special effects here, it’s the first time Hogwarts is fully CGI. What’s it like being in the middle of that? It’s got to be like shooting a war film.
Felton: It definitely was. A lot of it, we dubbed it “The war of Hogwarts” for the last half. It did seem (as if) all the world was running around with thier hair on fire and blood. It was crazy, and it was not like what we’d ever seen previously. Even stranger was after we’d seen it — a lot of the things weren’t there when we shot them, and all of a sudden all this other stuff is picking up, so it was great. It was very exciting — and at the same time slightly devastating to see your home of 10 years being blown to smithereens as well.
Do you ever go back to the older films and look at them — not as works of art or to get notes on your performance, but because they’re –
Felton (laughing): A lot of big performance, as you know — there’s a ton of performance when you’re 11 years old.
There was, but at the same time these movies are what you have instead of a high school yearbook. Do you go back and watch them for sentimental reasons?
Felton: I haven’t yet, but I definitely will, and I’m sure that will be on the release of this film on DVD. I imagine, I can see myself sitting there one day and plugging through all 8. That would probably be the day I realize what we actually took part in, because I haven’t really: I’ve seen the films at the premieres and occasionally on TV, bits and pieces, but never actually back-to-back as a fan should.
In the films’ final flash-forward scene, we get a little glimpse of the older Malfoy … was that like looking in a mirror? Not scary, but …
Felton: It was very scary. They said, ‘We’re going to take on 19 years,’ I think. I saw myself: ‘Oh good grief. If I’m here in 19 years …’ I think they were trying to paint a message to the kids that crime doesn’t pay regardless: The evil guys age incredibly. It was fun, it was nice, it was cool — lots of prosthetics on your face and wigs and beards, all sorts of stuff like that. It was even funner to get (it all) taken off; that was the real rewarding bit of that.