June 27, 2003
Potter star is dying to see who is killed off in book
Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis was mobbed by excited youngsters when he went to pick up the latest Hogwart’s epic.
Matthew, who plays clumsy trainee wizard Neville Longbottom in the smash-hit films, was given a free copy of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – thanks to the Ilkley Gazette.
Although he has already starred in two of the blockbuster films, he had been preparing to go out and buy his own copy of Harry’s latest adventures – until we stepped in.
WH Smith, on The Grove, put a special copy aside for the star, who was eager to discover his character’s future.
Manager Karen Padbury said: “Poor Matthew had to sit outside signing copies of the books.
“The children were absolutely amazed to see him, they kept pointing at him with their mouths open.
“I think some people only bought the book so that they could get it signed by him. He only came to get a copy of the book and the children wouldn’t let him go.
“We eventually had to stop them queuing up for his autograph. His hand must have been aching by the time he left.”
The 14-year-old, from Horsforth, is presently filming his third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is due to be released in June 2004.
The pupil of St Mary’s RC School in Menston is hoping there will be a later film based on the new book, which will see his character heroically fighting evil sorcerers.
“I can’t wait to read about Neville getting braver,” he said.
“It will make a nice change from being a wimp all the time. People sometimes think that I am wimp like Neville but I’m nothing like him.
“I hope they will be making a film on this book because Neville gets to do really good stuff like Harry. It would be nice to actually fight baddies for a change.
“I have been reading the new book every night. It is really good, I like the way Harry gets attacked by Dementors early on and they all get to go to Sirius’s house.
” I am struggling to go to bed because I don’t want to put the book down.”
The most exciting part of the new book for Matthew will be to find out which character JK Rowling has killed off – and hopefully it isn’t Neville.
The identity of the victim is still a close-kept secret and will remain so because the Ilkley Gazette does not want to ruin the end of the story for its readers.
But on the film set the cast and crew were convinced it was Hagrid who was for the chop.
Matthew, who celebrates his 14th birthday on June 27, said: “Everyone on the set was trying to guess who would be killed.
“The favourite was Hagrid. I haven’t finished the book yet so I am still waiting to see who it will be.
“I think it might be Sirius or Lupin. Everyone at school has been asking me who dies and they don’t believe me when I say I don’t know.
“I have just been filming it and I have a short break now. I’ll be going back to the set on July 15.
“It has been good to get back to school to see all my friends, we have to have a tutor when we are on location. It isn’t that bad.
“I didn’t expect to be mobbed by so many people when I went to get the book on Saturday.
“It was quite cool seeing all the young children amazed that I was there. Everyone kept asking me about the third film.”
The Harry Potter bug has spread to his mum Lynda, who read the book in two days, to see what adventures would be in store for Neville and his friends.
“I couldn’t put the book down,” she said.
“I had to pinch it off Matthew when he went to sleep. I stayed up all night reading it.
“Neville really develops in the book, he really works hard at his spells and he goes on to be very brave and fights baddies.
“Neville stands up for himself and his friends in the book.”
The third Harry Potter movie is about a dangerous murderer who has escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban and comes to find Harry.
Filming is taking place at Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, which is Hogwarts, Glencoe, in Scotland, where Hagrid’s Hut is, and at Levesden Studios, in Watford,
The third movie is being directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the previous two were directed by Christopher Columbus, and Matthew says he’s great fun.
“Alfonso and Chris are both really great,” he said.
“They both have different techniques and it’s really good to learn different things.
“Alfonso is lots of fun to work with and we all have a really good time. I am looking forward to being back on set.”
Matthew enrolled at the SCALA school of performing arts in Horsforth and has had parts in TV series including Dalziel and Pascoe and Where the Heart Is as well as starring in an advert for Warburtons bread.