June 18, 2007 Basingstoke Gazette
Leeds native 16 year-old MATTHEW LEWIS reprises his role as Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Matthew has been acting since he was just five years old after joining a performing arts club. He won the role of Neville after an open casting call was held in his hometown.
Matthew has previously featured in a number of television series’ including; Heartbeat, City Central, Where the Heart Is, Sharpe, Emmerdale, Dalziel & Pascoe and Some Kind Of Life…
Q: Having just spoken to Evanna, I have to ask you first about the wand incident with Helena.
A: We were doing a scene in the Ministry of Magic where she’s holding the character of Neville hostage and Helena plays the character really well, being sadistic and twisted about it. She was moving the wand about on my head, just teasing me and I’m pulling away in fear. She put it straight into my ear and the doctor had to have a look at it and I was deaf for two days in that ear which was pretty weird. She was very apologetic and I can hear fine now!
It was fun – I have always enjoyed playing Neville because he’s been that comic relief in the film, and I love making people laugh. This year I got to do that and also a lot of emotion and drama when he talks to Harry about his parents. To not only be working harder and be in more scenes, but also the diverse nature of the work was a lot of fun. I hope it carries on up to the seventh film.
Q: Given that you’re obviously quite a dude (Matthew looks very different from Neville in the flesh, much more trendy) is it fun to play a character who’s very different to you in real life?
A: It’s kind of strange because I was never really bullied at school. I was pretty confident and I’ve never shyed away from much but a lot of people have come up to me and said that they were bullied at school and him playing Neville has influenced them a lot in their lives and helped them out. So that’s given me great inspiration to carry on doing the job right.
I don’t want to just say I’m a natural (he laughs self-deprecatingly), but the books are so well written that you don’t have to do much research. You can just read how Rowling wrote it down and perform it that way.
It’s surprising how many fans say he’s their favourite character. It’s really cool to think that you’re playing these people’s favourite character who they have ingrained in their head from the book. For them to say you’re doing it right, is superb.
I’m pretty lucky in that I don’t look anything like Neville, at least, I don’t think I do. Around Leeds, people recognise me. But I can still go shopping. I kind of get the best of both worlds.
Q: I understand you’re a Leeds FC fan – it’s been a pretty tough year for supporters, given that the club have now dropped down out of the Premiership into League One football.
A: I don’t mind talking about it – they broke my heart twice in one year. But we’ll be back, next season.
I love playing football. We’re not allowed to do it when we’re filming unfortunately, contact sport, they don’t want a broken leg or anything, but I love it. Because I’ve been away, I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities to play. I pay a lot of five a side – it’s definitely one of my main hobbies.
I’m always asked what do I want to do between the Potter films, and I just want to relax. I also have schoolwork, so I catch up on that. I get so homesick being in London all the time, so I just want to be with my friends. I want to be able to have my own hair for a bit, go out with my mates, be with my friends.
Q: Is a move from the north down to London on the cards?
A: It’s probably going to be necessary in the future. I will have to consider it, but not just yet. I love Leeds too much and it would such a trek going to Elland Road every week.
I’m going to have to work on getting an RP accent I think. It’s fun being different though, you know.
Q: I notice you’re wearing a Stone Roses T-shirt – can I assume you’re a fan of retro music?
A: Yeah, Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, Blur – I love all that nineties Britpop. Liam Gallagher came to the studio, and brought his kids along. I’d been working Monday to Thursday, believe this, and he came on the Friday. I didn’t get to meet him and I was pretty devastated about that.
Both me and Dan Daniel Radcliffe can go back to older stuff, any rock and roll, we just love it. I got VIP to the Kaiser Chiefs which was fantastic and they’re Leeds fans as well.
Q: Do you think Neville’s going to die?
A: A lot of people have come up to me and said, you’re going to die mate’. Cheers! But I like to think he’ll be there fighting to the end. If he does die, I’d like it to be really heroic, saving someone else’s life.