June 20, 2007 Harry Latino
Question: Do you think it’s going to be a hard transition from Harry Potter to the things to follow?
Matthew Lewis: Yeah, I think it probably will. I’m getting for “Eds” now, may change in a month or so. I’m going for “Eds” where the laws are not as strict on how many hours I can work or be working much harder than I’m used to. Obviously I’m playing this one role for the past 5 years so it’s going to be quite difficult to adapt to the new script so to speak. Hopefully I can do it; I’ll try my best so I can continue.
Q: Why acting in the first place?
ML: Well, it started off with my brother who is about 6 years older than me. He was really into performing, always in front of the video-camera or doing stupid stuff like telling jokes and all that. So he became an actor when he was younger and because when you’re under the age of 16 you have to be chaperoned by an adult when you are filming, he had to be taken by my mum to where he was working. I was only about 2 at the time so I just grew up on the film set. I just thought it was another job anybody could do and I kept nagging on it so we kept asking if I could join them but I was too young. When you get to 6 or 7 you can join. I waited until I was 5 and applied for an audition and I ended up getting the part and after the audition switched off I thought “Right, I can join now.” I joined up and it went all off from there.
Q: So it was quite natural?
ML: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy really. When you’re that age you don’t really think of it as being up against all those people at the audition. I just went, did my best and got in. It was quite strange looking back now thinking about all that work I did. I can’t remember much of it, strange.
Q: And your brother is still acting now?
ML: Yeah, he’s still acting now. He just moved down to London, I’m from Leeds it’s just 2 and a half miles away. He’s just moved down there. He was in Manchester doing some things. He got a part in Torchwood as well, the Doctor Who spin-off.
Q: And who’s more talented?
ML: [laughs] I probably have to say that myself. [Laughs] No, no, he is. He’s just had much more experience than me. He’s been doing it for longer than I have. He shows a wide range of abilities and he’s much better at changing actions as well. He’s very talented in that area.
Q: Do you get to play with him on screen?
ML: Well, I was actually supposed to play “William” in something, in this thing about the Yorkshire ripper many years ago. I can’t remember why, it may have been Harry Potter, but I got something else anyway and I ended up doing that. I actually had got to play his brother or something but that was as close as we ever came. They took the role off from me but they kept my name in the credits at the end so I’m sort of crazy this being since I was never in it.
Q: How did you get your money then?
ML: Yeah, I was like “Where is my money?” [Laughs]
Q: Has your brother given you some acting tips?
ML: Yeah, when I first started it was a bit difficult. When I first started doing HP I used to go through the scripts with him and we used to share ideas and opinions on what we felt. I just got to the point now where I know the character so well that there is no one I can talk about it with so I test it on my own now. But yeah, in the first few years doing it he was a great help with me. He helped with the life outside of filming as he was just like “Be able to go out and enjoy yourself but not being stupid and being very careful” He gave me advice in that area. He used to be in a soap for 3 years so he knows all about how the public reacts and so. I don’t really have that; I’ve never been in a soap.
Q: What’s his name?
ML: Anthony Lewis. He was in Emmedale, it’s a soap happening near Yorkshire. It’s about Emmedale farmers, it’s about farming. It became about the village and it just got bigger and bigger. Apparently it’s about pig farming but I don’t believe that. [laughs] So yeah, he used to be in that a few years ago.
Q: In book 5 Neville Longbottom is more important because of the prophecy. Does this happen in the film?
ML: Yeah, we got the prophecy. Is quite a critical part close at the end of the film. There’s a great scene where it’s about to be handed over, like Harry is talking to Lucius Malfoy and he’s manipulating him to hand it over and Neville shouts “Don’t give it Harry.” It’s a brilliant way to see Neville become a courageous guy and then we get to that scene where the prophecy is played. I can’t wait to see it on film. It’s pretty cool.
Q: When you are reading the book, do you look for your lines?
ML: At first I read through as a family because from the second I start reading it just pulls me into this universe and I’m just immersed in this entire world, nothing else matters. It’s one thing books can do, even modern films can. Books will just take you on a journey and you just loose yourself in it. Afterwards, only when I’ve read the last page, I stop and think “hang on a minute!” and I go back and read about Neville stuff for a second. It’s weird thinking that what you’re going to be doing in a few years time it’s all told in this book already.
Q: Are you still in school?
ML: Yeah but I’m finished at the end of this month forever [laughs] I can’t wait.
Q: What kind of student are you? Not keen on school?
ML: I’m a very nice student. I do my exams, I turn up for every lesson but getting work out of me is a bit of a chore for the teachers. I do my homework if I’m enjoying it and usually I just try to find my way out of doing it with teachers. It’s pretty bad. I regret it when I can’t finish… but I’m not that bad, I just got my notes back from January and I got As and Bs so I’m not that bad.
Q: After you finish, you’ll just go on acting?
ML: I’d like to. I mean, we start Harry Potter six in September so if I could just do Harry Potter I’d love too but I did apply for university this year. I since changed my mind because of the filming but since I got accepted everywhere it means that after filming I can reapply and go to university, but if I can carry on acting that’s what I’d rather do.
Q: Harry is a very faithful friend. How friends are you outside the film set?
ML: Really good friends. Dan’s fantastic. We like the same comedies, the same music which is what we always talk about, like a comedy we’ve just seen or an album we just bought, something like that. I’m actually going to see him tomorrow at his play Equus. We are meeting afterwards. It can be fun because we haven’t seen (eachother) for a month. I can’t wait.
Q: What are you listening to now?
ML: I love Oasis and that sort of punk. I’ve got every single album they’ve done and that thing is incredible. I love Blur, Stone Roses, The Verve, Richard Ashcrof and stuff. The Manchester brit-pop scene from the 90’s and all that stuff… Happy Mondays… I love all that.
Q: What kind of comedy do you like?
ML: I like such a wide range of comedies! I love Alan Partridge, Steven Higgins and stuff. Rowan Atkinson for The Thin Line and Mr. Bean. I think it’s hilarious. I love Ricky Gervais from The Office. I also like American comedians as well, like Eddie Murphy. He is a stand up in his films, it is fantastic. I could never stop watching him.
Q: Would you see yourself doing comedy one day?
ML: Yeah! I really love making people laugh. It’s just one thing I absolutely love doing and I think you have a better look at life if you can find the funny side, you know, and laugh at things and have a humorous take on life. It’s one thing I’d love to do, to do comedy, because it might make you feel better just by laughing. I’d love to. I think it would be incredible making people laugh on stage.
Q: What would be your opening joke?
ML: I have no idea. You’ve caught me off the spot. I’d probably talk about… I don’t know… religion. I always found that very funny.
Q: When you speak with J. K. Rowling do you ask her about Neville Longbottom?
ML: When I met her I asked her if I was doing it right. That’s the one thing I wanted to know, if I was doing it like she wanted me to. I mean, pleasing the family is very important and she’s… it’s hers; you know… it’s all in her mind and she’s the one that you want to really make it right for. She said she was happy with what I was doing and wanted me to continue with it. That was the best compliment I’ve ever heard, her saying that I was doing it right. That was great. I don’t know, maybe she just talks about Harry Potter all the time so when I talked to her we only spoke about Neville for a brief few seconds and then we started talking about films. I had some posters in my room like Pulling dynamite and Kill Bill and so we started talking about them. I know it was her way for talking to me but at the same time getting away from Harry Potter.
Q: Was she interested in films?
ML: Oh, yeah. We were talking about Pulling Dynamite which is another comedy that is brilliant. She said that she liked that. We also talked about Good Fellows and Rocky. It was just fun. I really love films, I could watch films all day.
Q: We have asked Evanna Linch and Bonnie Wright about their patronus in the movie. Which one is yours?
ML: My patronus is… I can’t remember… I was told what it was going to be but I can’t actually remember what it is. I know what mine would be. It would probably be a dolphin. It’s pretty cool and pretty intelligent as well. I like to think I’m quite intelligent [laughs] Ow… I can’t remember what Neville’s patronus was! Sorry about that… Dreadful. I’ll have to find out.
Q: You like football, of course. What team are you following?
ML: Leeds United unfortunately.
Q: Did you start to follow that team recently?
ML: I’ve been from Leeds United all my life. It’s never been as bad as we are now. It was never… It’s awful, you know, they lost the premier final and got relegated last week. I missed 3 home games this season and I was there the whole time. It just feels like everything you did for the team is a waste of time but I’ll be there the next season. Always back. There’s nothing worst than a person who changes teams once they become rubbish. Some people said to me “we are from Liverpool now”. No… they really… Always back.
Q: What are those wristbands?
ML: This is an anti-racism response. It says “Stand up, Speak up” They are both linked together, it’s the same thing. It was actually started by football. It was a Nike thing. Footballers started this anti-racism foundation. It was because there was a lot of shocking incidents recently. It all started a long time ago, it was always common in football and then it went away. Recently the hoop started again and was kind of shocking. It’s just so unnecessary, and as a footballer myself, you see how many coloured players are there in the premiership, even in the lower levels. It’s just shocking that they should be treated differently than everyone else. Not only in football but in any way. The people from different races shouldn’t be treated differently. I used to wear a lot of wristbands but this one is special for me, very important.
Q: Is it true that you are also interested in filmmaking?
ML: Yeah! I love the idea of just… All the work that directors and writers do. Directors work a bit too hard for me unfortunately. [laughs] Actors get it easy, they get told what to do. I don’t think I could do that. But I always wanted to write a film one day. I’ve sort of got a few ideas I’ve been trying to put down but I’ll wait until I finish school. Once I finish it I’m going to be a bum for ages! It’s going to be great. I’ll spend all time in the sun and I’ll just write whatever I want.
Q: What would your first one be? Do you like short stories?
ML: I used to write brief things. I really enjoyed writing short stories; it was always my best exam. It was creating original writing. I loved to let my imagination go. I think it’s because of growing up reading books that I’ve always wanted to write something. I’ve never been able to write a full book but short stories I really enjoy doing. I just let my imagination go crazy. I’m inspired by films as well. I started off writing this rubbish of action and firing but I got regressed to education and watching more films and I matured. I began to write more intricate plotlines with much more drama as opposed to your typical action adventure and fantasy stuff. It just got more of a drama side. They actually convey a message.
Q: So what would your first film script be about?
ML: I don’t know. A while ago I just wrote a basic idea for it. It wasn’t an actual script; it’s just an idea that came to my mind. It’s about drugs and how they destroy lives. It was about this guy who got involved in it and pretty much it went from him having everything to having nothing.
Q: Was it very serious or some kind of…?
ML: It was pretty serious. It was actually quite depressing, really. I doubt you’ll ever see it anyway it was just something I thought about.
Q: Do you visit Harry Potter fansites?
ML: Yeah! It’s incredible how much is out there. You don’t realise until you go and search and you just see the amount of people out there with their theories and speculating on the story. And to think that what you’re doing is influencing their life and then you receive fanmail from them… It’s incredible, I just love the whole thing. Fans are fantastic. You get nowhere without them so I’m very keen to go to websites and do as much for them as possible like Mugglenet or The Leaky Cauldron. I’ll do any interviews or any podcast they want. I don’t mind if it’s for the fans because they are the ones who make the film.