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Matthew Lewis Interview
Half-Blood Prince Set
February 2008
Melissa Anelli / transcribed by Katie Russell


Listen to the whole interview here!

Q: So, good? Okay. So, tell us what your character gets to do in this film? And, you get to do a lot more, or a lot less? Or, what?

ML: Well, Neville's not as (unintelligible) featured in this story because obviously the book was just as big and it's a lot of story to fit into the script. Into like a two hour film. So, a lot has to be taken out unfortunately. But, Neville's still doing his best with Dumbledore's Army and trying to fight the good fight. And, he sort of, he becomes involved with the whole Slughorn group. And the Slughorn's party. And there's a really nice scene where he's going to be a waiter. And I tried on the outfit recently, so a waiter. It looks like he's working on the Titanic (Everybody laughs) with the collar, and all of the sort of lapels and things. It looks really funny. So that's going to be quite nice. But, yeah. He's still just being Neville in there and helping out as best as possible. It's quite fun.

Q: Now, your big movie is going to be the next one, right?

ML: Right, yeah. I'm still reading the book a few months ago. It just seems - It's incredible just how it ends. I just never anticipated it at all. And I just see Neville coming through the portrait and being the kind of character that he was, how he'd evolved, because you sort of, although you don't hear about him at school throughout the first half of the book, you sort of, when he does come into it, you start to realize what he'd been through and all the experiences that he had. And, he comes through with his long hair and scars and limp and stuff. It's going to be so much fun. I can't wait.

Q: What have they told you about what to expect from the seventh film? Like whether there's one or two movies?

ML: I know absolutely nothing. Literally all I have is the book. That's all I have to go by. Which is, well fantastic. And, I'm just looking forward to finding out what's going to happen reading the script and just doing it. I just can't wait.

Q: What is the thing that you are most looking forward to in the seventh film?

ML: Well, I'm most looking forward to, in a most selfish way, doing all the action stuff with the snake and the sword. The whole thing is I've never done anything like that before. The first sort of action thing I had done in my career was last year, Order of the Phoenix, with the wands running through the prophecy room. And that was absolutely fantastic. That was great. It was just doing all these stunts and jumping around and explosions going off. And, so I just can't wait to do that. Neville is the hero in that particular storyline and it's just going to be - I've never experienced anything like that before. So it's going to be great. I can't wait.

TLC: Are they still padding you and doing all that stuff? Or is it starting to (unintelligible) -

ML: Yeah, no. I've still got my fat suit upstairs. I just took it off because I've been on lunch. So, that's why I'm wearing my jeans and stuff. But, yeah. I've still got to put that on. It's even bigger this year.

TLC: Really?

ML: Yeah. Every year they got to get bigger. I just don't know how. It's just like out here. I don't have any plastic behind the eyes anymore.

TLC: For seven, I mean when you read that, what was - Neville finally gets his big moment. It's a huge moment for all fans 'cause we all feel kind of, everybody feels that Neville in some way.

ML: Yeah.

TLC: So how are you preparing to come into, from this bumbling person to a hero?

ML: I know! It's really daunting actually because he's one of those, like you say there's a lot of fans out there that can relate to Neville in some way, if not all of the fans can. There's something about him that everybody can relate to. If he goes through this whole story just being there and trying so hard, and then eventually he can just come through and be the hero. It's a fantastic story for anyone to watch and read. And, so the importance of getting it right it's incredible. I'm quite sort of nervous about it. But, at the same time looking forward to it so much. I just hope I do, I hope I do okay.

Q: You've all grown up so much. What is it like for you to go back and see the other films?

ML: I hate it. I can't watch the other films, no. My parents insist on watching them sort of every Christmas. (Everybody laughs) I think (unintelligible) has even been playing them as well sort of recently. But, no. It makes me cringe. I watch it and I had a really squeaky voice and just chubby cheeks. Just no. I can't do it I'm afraid.

Q: It must be weird to grow up sort of in front of the world and you and the other cast members who started out in the first film. What's that like? I mean, I guess it's not like a normal childhood.

ML: (laughs) No! It's kind of - a lot of people, a lot of fans that come up to me and say that that's one things they really enjoy about the films is 'cause they've kept the same cast all the way through. They just really enjoy watching us all grow up throughout the stories and that way they feel that they can relate to the characters a lot more. Almost like a soap. You really want to know what happens to these characters 'cause you've seen them grow up since they were eleven years old. And, that's kind of weird that thinking that people are watching. So it's not my natural life, but they're watching our lives as we grow and they're quite interested. But, no. I've just enjoyed every single experience I've had. And although, like you say it's not like a normal childhood, it's been much, much more than that. It's been absolutely fantastic. The friends I've made and all the things that I've done in the film. It's just been definitely something I'll look back on in a few years time and think it was incredible.

Q: What's different for you about this movie from the previous one? Or, is there anything different? Or, is it just sort of the same?

ML: It's not huge different. We got a few sort of new cast members in who are absolutely fantastic as every year whenever we have new cast members, they'll just fit in so well. And these have perfectly. And, I laugh with them in the green room. You've actually disturbed me from my laugh up in the green room. (Everybody laughs) But, okay. We're always having so much fun, just as we do every year. And David Yates is back, who's fantastic. And I'm just really enjoying it. Actually, I'm enjoying it more now because I've left school and I've finished tutoring so I can concentrate just solely on the acting. And that's all I want to do. That's my career choice and so I feel like I can finally get totally involved in it and I'm enjoying it a lot.

Q: How do you stay so grounded?

ML: (laughs) Thanks very much. I don't know. Probably my friends and my family really. My family have always brought me up in a way that just shows that being an actor, just 'cause you're on screen and a lot of people know who you are doesn't make you any different from them. There's these fireman and policeman doing amazing things everyday that deserve a hell of a lot more credit that I get. And, I just don't see any reason, just because people know who you are, that you have to be any different. And I think if I was, my friends would let me know. (MA laughs) And I'm glad about that. And definitely my parents would.

Q: Do you get approached a lot on the streets?

ML: It's not too bad because I'm not wearing the fat suit and my hair's a lot different. Yeah, and I like to think I look a bit different in real life. And so, it's not drastic. But, in Leeds because people know that someone from Leeds is in the films, so they're a bit more confident coming up to you because they think, "Well, maybe it could be." And it happens lots of times when I'm with my friends, which is kind of embarrassing. But, they think it's hilarious. They love it. They'll go out of their way to, they'll go "No, go on. Go talk to him. He'll be okay." (Everybody laughs) No, they'll deal with it okay. None of them get jealous or anything like that. And it's just a close group of friends I've got back home that they just deal with it. And the fact that they can have a laugh with it is great and all that.

TLC: If you could choose anyone to direct seven, who would it be?

ML: Well, I don't know. David Yates has been so fantastic. If he was to stay on, then that would be absolutely brilliant. But any of the directors we've have been so, so much fun to work with. And to be able to say I've worked with as well is incredible to think of the films they've done previous. And so honestly any of them would be great. And I don't know. I'm sure whoever they choose will be chosen because they're the best person for the job, so we'll have to wait and see.

Q: Do you have more comfort when David Yates, and Chris Columbus, both directed two films, so do you feel more comfortable knowing the same director is directing the upcoming film you are about to start doing? Or, is there more excitement when a new director comes on?

ML: Well, obviously when you got a new director it's very interesting because you can see if they've done films before. Like when Mike Newle was coming on, he had done Four Wedding and a Funeral, which absolutely was a fantastic film so I was really eager to see the way he directed and just to get to know him. I was really interested. And obviously I'd be that with most new directors just to see the different styles because that's one thing that I've quite enjoyed over the years of having different directors is that I've been able to learn and get that experience of how different directors work. And, so obviously I'd be interested in a new director, but at the same time getting to know Chris Columbus over the first year, and David Yates, it meant that you sort of you got past that sort of impersonal (AS: Yeah.) boundary. And I'm much more confident now to go up to David and make some suggestions and ask what his opinion is. And I think probably that he is the same way with all the cast. And, so it just makes it a little bit easier especially being, I'm eighteen now, so I guess I'm a adult, but when you were younger especially, I wasn't as keen to go up to directors and say, "I think this" because it's like the director. But, Chris Columbus, when I was just twelve I just found him 'cause I'd known him for over a year when we went into number two, I just found him very approachable. I found him very approachable and I could go talk to him. Yeah, so it just makes it a little bit easier.

Q: What do you think is the best thing that you've done so far with the filming for this?

ML: Number six? (laughs) We did a scene in Slughorn's Office. It was like the party scene where you eat Profiterals, Chocolate Profiterals, now they are gorgeous don't get me wrong. For the first take. (Everybody laughs) We did like three days in there and just eating and eating and eating and I just felt so ill (Everybody laughs) every night. I skipped breakfast, lunch and dinner every day because I was eating these Profiterals. But, at the same time, it was so much fun because we all sat around this table and it's supposed to be like a party atmosphere and it really was. (laughs) We all had a really good laugh doing it and everyone was throwing jokes around. It first time I met Jim Broadbent and he was brilliant. And everyone, yeah and also, we had not seen each other for a while 'cause I'd not been working between sort of September and December, so I had all that time off. So we had not seen each other for a while, so we got to catch up as well. And like I said it was quite personal sort of setting, so it was fun.

Q: We've heard the place to hang out on set is in Rupert's trailer.

ML: (laughs) Yeah, I'm not surprised about that. When he's on location or something we go in his trailer because he always brings, he used to bring out his Nintendo, I guess now he brings his Xbox and stuff. But up in his dressing room he's got table tennis table, pool table, dart board, big TV, Playstation, Xbox anything you could think to pass the time, he's got it in his dressing room. So, yes. I quite enjoy going up there every now and then (Everybody laughs) just playing darts and stuff. He's got all that stuff and I play darts. People think that's crazy (Everybody laughs), but I quite enjoy it.

Q: How do you usually spend your time, aside from going to visit his room? What do you do?

ML: Well, sometimes I just sort of just listen to music. I sit in a room with some music, watch TV. I bring a load of DVDs down with me to watch. Or, I just go on the internet and just surf random websites 'cause there is literally not much else you can do. You can't go play football 'cause it's contact sport.

ML: Yeah. So, just sorts of things like watch TV and stuff that my parents have told me for years not to do. (Everybody laughs) It's all we can do. We find a way to pass time. And obviously the rest of the cast is so fantastic that I have a lot of fun just spending time with those guys just laughing and joking around, which time goes very quickly actually.

Q: So, you say you want to continue being an actor, do you have other aspirations? Being a writer or a director or making films?

ML: I've always really enjoyed English at school. I really enjoyed it, so I used to do a lot of original writing for that. And it was always something I've thought that I could maybe get into, but I'm too lazy. (Everybody laughs) No, really. Like directing as well. David Yates you see him this year working so hard, I mean he's involved on every aspect of the production and he's there before everyone and leaves after everyone and I just couldn't do it because I just don't have that work ethic unfortunately. (Everybody laughs) But, acting is much lazier. I think I'm better at that. But, maybe in future I may change my mind.

Q: What other kind of roles are you looking to do?

ML: You know, really I just want to be an actor so much there's no specific genre or role that I'm really, really focused on. I just want to be able to show that I can do something after Harry Potter and honestly I can do, I love all different types of films. There's not one particular area of films that I love. Like action, drama and comedy and romance, anything I'll just watch it. And, so if I could just do something that would be great.

Q: Are you kind of worried that Harry Potter might type-cast you? Or, do you think it will help open more doors for you?

ML: Only time will tell if I'm honest. I just - obviously people say that you might get type-casted and it's obviously a risk as with anything that goes on for so long, but I'm just hoping that it's not the case. I do have to make myself look different for the role. I have to wear this fat suit and such, so I'm hoping that's going to work in my benefit really. That I can come away from it straight away just by changing my appearance after every day. So, yeah. We'll just have to wait and see. But, fingers crossed it won't be too bad.

TLC: The set of movies are sort of approaching it's end, is that starting to affect anything? Are people starting to feel it?

ML: Actually, I was speaking to a friend back home in Leeds the other day and I told him that there's only one book after Half Blood Prince. And, he looked at me and just said, "You're not terrified." I said, "What do you mean? It's not going to be that long?" He goes, "That's what I mean though. It's going to end and you've been doing it since you we're eleven. It's not going to be there anymore. You're not actually terrified." And, I guess I hadn't really thought about it that much, but as soon as he said that, 'cause he doesn't even know anything to do with the filming, and yet he could foresee it. And I was just like, "Yeah. Gee, yeah. Actually I'm - 'cause this is something that's always been there. And I've known that, well that's the reason I'm so lazy (Everybody laughs) is because I've known there's always this film that I can go and do. And I've enjoyed it so much and I've always looked forward to coming down and seeing everyone. It's going to be weird to think that it's not there. It's like I said to my parents, "When are we next going down?" and they know exactly what I mean. And they just

tell me. And I'm like, "Right. Okay. It's going to be weird that I'm going to say it and they'll say, "Well, you're not." (laughs) It'll be finished. It's going to be quite strange. But, I guess that happens. It's the same with, I guess it will be very similar to when I left school. You just try and keep in contact with everyone as best you can and just go out into the real world. And that's what I'm going to try my best to do.

Q: So, you would move to London? Or?

ML: Oh, don't ask me that question. (Everybody laughs) Yeah, I've been thinking about that quite a lot. I'm not sure 'cause I love Leeds so much. And if I could stay there I would, but there's just not - very little work up there. And very little work that I'm interested in. 'Cause now I'm very much interested in doing films and dramas and stuff like that for TV. And a lot of it's all filmed out in London or even abroad, so I think that's the place that I'm going to have to be at some point in the future. But, just not yet.

Q: Can you do an American accent?

ML: Oh, (MA laughs) I'm trying. I'm trying. I'm not great at it. I'm not going to embarrass myself by doing it now. But, yeah. I'm working on it.

TLC: What sort of films and TV stuff are your favorites to watch?

ML: Like I said earlier, I'm in to all different genres of film. Film is like one of my passions, I mean acting is obviously a passion of mine, but watching films is something that I absolutely love to do. When I applied, I'm not going to University, but I did apply and I applied to Film Studies and Philosophy. And it was Film Studies as an art form as opposed to all the technical side with lighting and camera work. It was watching films, look at meanings and the way the directors use the light, for example, to portray a kind of message. All that kind of stuff. It just fascinates me. And, so that was something I was really interested in doing because just all the wide range of films I just absolutely love watching. And I don't know what it is about film making, that can just, it just helps people get through things in the same way books and music can do. If you've got a problem or something like that and you're in a mood that just you don't know how to deal with something, you just watch a film and it will take your mind off it or give you advice or something. It's just everyone can relate to some film and I love that.

And, so just anything. I would say I love comedy and I love action, but I can watch a RomCom if I'm in a somber mood. And Four Weddings and a Funeral for example is a great film, so yeah. Just anything really. As long as it's good.

Q: What do you usually go for when you watch a film because you were going to take this class, do you actually analyze those different aspects of the film? Do you ever think about how they created it? Or, why they did certain things?

ML: Yeah, sometimes I do when I'm watching a film. People always say, "Now that you've been in them, do ever look at them and think? Can you ever watch films the same way? Can you ever sort of just watch it as a story instead of always thinking, "Oh there's probably about ten hundred people there on the set." There's a camera man, there's a director. Can you ever watch a film and lose yourself in it?" And the answer is yes. If it's a well made film then I can. And I always thought Harry Potter was like that. Even though I was on the films, I knew what was going on, I could still just lose myself in the story. But then afterwards I'll watch a film again and then I'll start picking out these bits, "Oh, that's quite interesting the way they do it. They were supposed to do that, or something like that." And I'll tell my friends and they'll just go, "Well, it must be an accident." I'm like, "No, no, no, really. That's what they meant to do there with that." I don't know. I just find it fascinating.

TLC: How's your football team doing?

ML: Oh, don't talk to me about football. (Everybody laughs) My beloved legion they started off so well in the season. They were just winning every game and they got right, they were top of the table for two hours one day. It was great.

TLC: I don't know what that is.

ML: And, now they're down in fifth, I think. And, the manager is apparently going to Newcastle. (Everybody laughs) It's just falling apart.

TLC: (laughs) You always get so sad when you talk about this stuff.

ML: I do! It really, really depresses me. What was I going to say? Oh, well.