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Not Just the Big D: Harry Melling Talks Life after Dudley and Harry Potter

Melling Interviews
Posted by: sue
October 06, 2009, 06:08 AM

There is a new and rare interview online today in the Telegraph with actor Harry Melling better known to readers as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films. The young actor, who is currently appearing on stage in London with Fiona Shaw (who plays his mother, Harry's Aunt Petunia in the Potter films) discusses his career, life on the Potter films and his hopes for the future. The piece mentions the now 20 year old has lost some weight recently and looks nothing like Big D in the series.  "Dudley doesn't feature in the sixth Potter film, so there was a long gap between playing the butterball bully in the fifth, aged 16, and shooting the seventh film, this year. In the meantime, he had changed almost beyond recognition, to the producers' alarm. "They did this double-take, 'Oh my God, we are going to have to do something,' and I felt very guilty. They could have recast, but instead they padded me out."

We also learn more about the acting family that Harry belongs too, as well as his interaction with cast members on the Harry Potter films:

This focus on his career is, no doubt, the result of coming from a family riddled with actors. His grandfather, Patrick Troughton, was, for many, the greatest Dr Who. His uncles, Michael and David Troughton, and his cousin Sam, are all actors. His illustrator mother, Joanna Troughton, was keen to give Harry a chance, too. "She sent off my photos to the producers of the Potter films when I was 10, thinking I might be an extra. A year later I was asked to read for Dudley. When I got the part, I thought: 'Ooh, I'm in a film', not that I was cast as fat and ugly.'"

Wasn't being associated with the hateful Dudley a curse? "I kept quiet about it. Nobody ever recognised me."

He minded more about not being one of the Hogwarts' children. When people asked him about the films, and what Michael Gambon or Julie Walters were like, he would have to say, "Dunno, I've never met them." But, stuck in Privet Drive, he did get to work with Richard Griffiths and Fiona Shaw, who play Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, Dudley's parents. "Just watching them was an education. Fiona taught me a Caliban speech, which I later used to get into drama school."

...

"I always thought he would be a marvellous character actor," Shaw says, "but he's turned into a marvellous leading actor. Suddenly I feel I'm looking at Hamlet." Compared to Daniel Radcliffe, whom he once envied, Melling now realises that he was lucky not to be one of the Hogwarts' leads. His career got off to an early start, but without the irksome trappings of fame, or the danger of being typecast. "I can now shed the child-actor thing, like the fat, and start a new career, because no one sees me as Dudley."

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117 Comments

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1642 Points

lol,he sure did lost his weight. I am very pleased with him as Dudley. Can’t wait to see him in 7.

Posted by Matea on October 06, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
Lily_evans_and_severus_snape_by_aura3107_thumb
1166 Points

wow! love that he has taken this experience and run with it (you always wonder about how child actors are going to be treated when they play a character like Dudley)

Posted by JessSnape on October 06, 2009, 10:20 AM report to moderator
Thistletopiary_thumb
738 Points

He’s grown up amazingly! Would love to see him in something else; not only was he not among the Hogwarts kids, but Dudley rarely has more than 2 or 3 lines per film, when he’s even in them. The “you’re not a waste of space” scene in DH should be quite moving.

Posted by bettb [ITC!] on October 06, 2009, 10:27 AM report to moderator
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6552 Points

He has changed so much, he looks great though and I hope he has a great career after the Harry Potter films are over.

Posted by Figment on October 06, 2009, 10:35 AM report to moderator
Groucho2_thumb

Cool G, going by the comments in this thread, I wonder if you and I are among the last of the book fans left?

Folks, go back and re-read the first chapter of OotP!!! Dudley slimmed down, muscled up, got into boxing, remember? and in DH, he’s trying to take his weights with him….the slimmed down HM actually works very well with the story, so its a decision in the film studio that Dudley needs to remain ‘pudgy’

Interesting the continuing dynastic patterns of the UK cultural world —similar to the French, obviously, and increasingly the same patterns are evident in the US (to my disgust).

As much as I enjoyed Patrick Troughton, I must disagree and say he wasn’t the greatest doctor. Tom Baker was “my doctor”. My wife, a very late comer to Dr. Who, prefers David Tennant (smile, we all have our own doctors, don’t we?)

Eagerly awaiting the next round of Torchwood…and of course Sarah Jane, and then the arrival of the next Doctor….. and, why, in about 13 months we get
DH 1!!!!

Posted by budb on October 06, 2009, 10:59 AM report to moderator
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1081 Points

GAH! movies I meant I missed them the last couple of MOVIES!

Posted by Esmeralda.ROARღ on October 06, 2009, 11:03 AM report to moderator
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4481 Points

It’s great to see that this young guy has taken control over his life, and his career. Even though I am not yet a mother, I can empathize with the journalist when she notes that she always found it hard to laugh at Dudley Dursley in the films. You can’t help but worry about a child who is overweight – just for their happiness and health. But, everyone in life has their struggles and it makes us stronger, better people for facing and overcoming them.

Posted by Smitch on October 06, 2009, 11:17 AM report to moderator
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last couple of movies? So, wasn’t that Dudley who Harry rescued from the dementers in film 5? They were not present in films4 and 6. What i love about ALL the hp kids is they,ve all grown up with their feet on the ground.

Posted by jain on October 06, 2009, 11:50 AM report to moderator
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4151 Points

whoa haha i did a double take on that corner picture and was all “whoaaa” haha awesome interview.

Posted by mai {beatnik owl} on October 06, 2009, 12:35 PM report to moderator
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229 Points

Omg! I know, I was like,…wait, that’s Dudley?! But,…he’s good looking! LOL! I guess that you could say that he’s thinned down, but his character does in the 5th book, perhaps he does start to look like that? Could you imagine if Dudley Dursley looked like that at the 7th book time when his personality changed too…he’d be like a chick magnet…lol!

Posted by myecotopia on October 06, 2009, 12:37 PM report to moderator
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6690 Points

lol i can imagine everyone’s reaction, not recognizing him! glad to see he is continuing his career!

you know, i guess i never thought about it the way he mentioned…he was in harry potter movies but didn’t get to enjoy everything about them, no hogwarts…that must have sucked when he was little

Posted by levi-OH-sa, not levio-SA [neville♥myhero] on October 06, 2009, 12:48 PM report to moderator
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3031 Points

well hes not suppose to be fat in the last book he is suppose to be more of a boxer build and boxers are not fat it muscle..

Posted by Horcruxalej on October 06, 2009, 01:05 PM report to moderator
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1397 Points

Way to go, it’s so great hearing from all these fantastic HP actors, just proof once more that HP actors are the best.

Posted by Blatcher(ROAR) on October 06, 2009, 01:26 PM report to moderator
Muahaha_thumb
341 Points

Oh wow, Doctor Who’s grandson. How awesome! Even more awesome to hear about him working with fellow Potter actors. I love that, movies like Driving Lessons or plays such as Equus and…whatever Fiona Shaw and Harry Melling are doing. Such a feeling of commraderie, though I’m sure they all want to forge new lives for themselves too.

Posted by ScottMan on October 06, 2009, 01:49 PM report to moderator
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1642 Points

Actually, I’m glad we still have Harry as Dudly ..
No recast !

Posted by Bella'love ^HISS^ on October 06, 2009, 02:46 PM report to moderator
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