London Film and Comic Con (July 17)
Having just enjoyed the Horror talk featuring Tom Morga, Leslie Hoffman and Mark Wilson, I exited the Main Stage assuming the Cosplay Olympics were up next. A schedule goof up on my part, because when I glanced over the timetable to double check, I found that Matthew Lewis was scheduled to give his talk next.
Faster than the speed of light itself (hey, exaggeration is fun), I ran over to get a ticket and seated myself at the front. And here is where the Gold Pass holders are privileged. I found out the first two rows were reserved for Gold Pass people only, so I made my way to the third row, silently praying that no one would sit in front of me. Lucky for me, no one did and as we waited I scanned the audience briefly. There were fans, young and old, and of different nationalities, eagerly waiting for his arrival. I mean, even Mario and Luigi were sitting beside me looking all giddy!
We were informed that Matt would be a little longer (I assumed) at the autograph queue squeezing in a couple of more signatures and smiles before he ventured to the main stage. We were instructed that flash photography would only be permitted in the first few minutes of the talk, so everybody had their cameras in hand and ready. We had all expected him to arrive through the side door and had been staring that way, when he strolled in through the other entrance, looking around sheepishly and smiling at the audience.
After he had been introduced (as “little Neville Longbottom” which had undoubtedly made everybody in the hall grin madly) and seated, people began flailing their hands around with questions.
This is a rough note of the talk I had made, as we weren’t allowed to film (for legal reasons), so it is not 100% precise as it’s hard to jot down every word while he’s talking.
Matt seemed a little weary and (obsessed with fiddling with his sneakers for a moment) explained that he was a little hungover as he had been at a party to celebrate finishing filming, and had not been aware of the talk. Regardless, he flashed a grin at the audience and continued on to take questions.
Fan: [What’s ] one spell you’d like to know?
Matt: Oh no! [laughs] Is there a spell that can make you invisible or is it just the cloak? Someone help me out! I see people nodding and saying “Yes, it’s just the cloak”. Um, to disarm people? Expelliarmus! Yes, and I can say that one!
Fan: [In your opinion] which is better, the books or the movies?
Matt: Oh. That’s not a fair question! There are pros and cons to both! The books are amazing. Then again, some people like the movies more. Like my dad, he’s more for the movies rather than reading. I just hope we’ve done the best to convey the story. For me, the books are brilliant. And the movies! [laughs]
Fan: [What’re] some fun things you do off set?
Matt: Well, Rupert’s room is the game room. He’s just got everything in there, like Guitar Hero, a pool table, a dart board. You can have a lot of fun in there. Obviously, we can’t do sports because we can get hurt and that’s not good. Also, we have heavy makeup done in some scenes. I had two hours worth of makeup done on me for one scene (blood, etc) and I felt so bad for the woman because it was practically an art piece! So, yeah, another reason why we can’t play sports because we’ll get sweaty and it’ll smear off. Tom and I have some guitar jam sessions, as we both play guitar.
Fan: Do we get to see Neville’s nan? Do you cut off the serpent’s head, as in the book?
Matt: [pauses] [laughs] Well. There is a lady who has been cast as his nan. [pauses again] I have met her on set. [laughs] That’s all I can say. As for the snake, all I can say is that we’ve stuck to the book as much as possible! [grin]
Fan: [What’re] you’re first memories and thoughts on set?
Matt: Well, my first memory is my re-call audition with Chris Columbus. It was amazing to get the re-call and go into the studio and onto the Gryffindor common room set. We practiced Neville’s “I can’t let you do this” scene, Chris being Harry, Ron and Hermione. On my first day, they were filming the scene outside the castle for Madam Hooch’s broom flying lessons. I was so nervous and terrified because this was the scene that Neville flies off on the broom, and they were talking about strapping me in and all that. I was only 11 years old, I had only met Dan, Rupert and Emma once so I was so nervous about it all! And it’s only when they say “action” do you realize that everybody is watching you.
Fan: If you were an animagus, what animal would you be?
Matt: I want to be something really cool. Dolphins are cool! I went swimming with dolphins a couple of weeks ago. Can you be a T-rex? Nowhere does it say that you can’t! [laughs] I’d probably be a sloth, something that moves like an inch an hour, or something like that.
Fan: [I’m going to cheat and ask two questions!] Is it worrying to have a large part of your life come to an end? Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Matt: Well, we all knew it was going to end. Everyone expects you to be really sad but I can say that I had a blast. I mean, I was always around and always working in the last couple of movie-
[Fan from the audience gets up to exit the hall]
Matt: Hey! Where do you think you’re going?! Did you see that? [audience laughs and fan smiles] Unbelievable! No, I’m kidding. Yes, so, I don’t like that I’m unemployed! And yes, I’ve been the the Wizarding World of Harry Potter twice – a bit greedy of me[laughs]. I’ve been once for the run through of how the rides work and to go through everything (I don’t know why, really). All I can say is that it was unbelievable! They’ve recreated everything to detail, even Dumbledore’s office! You will have to queue for some time, but even the queue is made to be entertaining and part of the ride. There are portraits that move along with you and talk and all! There were some of everybody, like Hermione (etc.). I watched Michael Gambon (Professor Dumbledore) watch his own moving portrait! It was the most surreal thing! [laughs] And before I had gone to the WWHP I had been at the Kennedy Space Center and there was a man who had been working there for 20 years – had been around every shuttle for the past 20 years! – and he said he couldn’t wait to visit [the WWHP]. It’s just wicked!
Fan: If you had the chance, what would you nick off the set?
Matt: Oh, I’ve nicked loads! [grins] [audience laughs] Definitely the Sword of Gryffindor. I’ve been using it [pauses] – oops. [silence] [audience laughs] I’ve been around it. Dan and I have been trying to take it. I almost killed someone with it!
Fan: If a director asked you to play a character of your choice from any book [of your choice], who would you pick?
Matt: Does it have to be from a book? Er, something of a James Bond style. Yeah, James Bond! Just because there’s been so much action in the last couple of movies and this year, it’s been so much fun! I wouldn’t want to do it all my life, but one entire action movie would be fun! Or a war film.
Fan: Of all the people you have worked with, who has star struck you the most? What’s the best thing you’ve done as a result of [this] movie?
Matt: Rik Mayall, who was cast as Peeves the poltergeist but was unfortunately cut out. He was just awesome! I was a fan of Drop Dead Fred and a lot of other movies I probably wasn’t supposed to be watching at 11 [years old]. I remember the first time I met him – I was sitting next to him on the set of the first movie and he had asked me “Is this your first movie?” and I had said “Yeah” so he told me to “Get to know the sound guy” and I asked “What? Why?” he just replied “[Shshshsh] just do it. See him over there?” so I went ahead and pointed and asked “What, in there?” only to be snapped at by him “Don’t point!!” [laughs] He was just hilarious, [and] an idiot! He made us laugh on set while we were supposed to be doing the serious scenes [and] nobody could focus because we were all laughing! I met Paul McCartney and watched him play [a concert] and all I could really think was “Oh my God, that’s a Beatle infront of me! Afterwards, I was watching him have a beer and talk about John, George and Ringo. It was just surreal.
[Matt clears his throat] Sorry, I’ve also got a bit of a soar throat. Excuse me…
Fan: Who [of the cast] has the craziest ideas?
Matt: What, like pranks? Well, James, Oliver and Rupert had a game – although I don’t think Rupert liked it much – and once you’re involved, you’re involved forever. They’ll probably kill me for telling you [laughs] They take an object and hit it into the groin as hard as they can – anything from bottles of water, oranges [etc]! Now, you’re a woman so the amount of sheer pain it causes probably wouldn’t be the same – trust me, it hurts. As for me, I’ve only been a part for a brief time before I backed out, but they’ve been playing it for years! It’ horrible! [laughs]
Fan: I collect AVAs. Can I have your sunglasses?
Matt: No. [audience laughs]
Fan: What?! You’re supposed to be the nice one!
Matt: No, let me explain! This is my third pair! I’ve lost a pair at the Leeds festival, I’ve lost another in my own car, so I’ve spent quite a bit on sunglasses! What’ve you collected so far?
Fan: Well, I’ve got the free ones from the Wireless festival –
Matt: The free ones?! From the Wireless festival?! Did you hear that? [audience laughs] Unbelievable!
Fan: Who will you stay friends with for years ahead?
Matt: Oh, a lot of people. When I my 21st [birthday], everyone came up to Leeds and Oasis was playing. It was nice. See, the thing is [laughs] Rupert’s so laid back that if he loses my number and I lose his and we bump into each other 20 years on, it’ll be like nothing changed! Dan, definitely. And Alphie [Alfred Enoch – Dean Thomas]. So yeah, those guys.
And then, unfortunately, the talk had come to an end and the rest of us couldn’t throw anymore questions at the hilariously entertaining Matt. I tried to get a couple of words with him afterwards, but as I wanted to, the rest of the audience did aswell, and everybody pretty much followed him out. I’d say that was an amazing talk, with Matt filling us in on the movies and his experiences with the cast (and offering us semi mini-spoilers too!).
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