JKR Talks Neville/Matt on PotterCast (December 18, 2007)
I transcribed this segment of the show, so if you wish to use it for your site please ask me first, thanks!
Sue: I am no Ravenclaw, and I read these books because I am in love with them, and I am just in amor of the world that you’ve created, and the one character I do see in myself, is someone named Neville Longbottom.
Jo: Aww I love Neville. I love Neville so much, I have always loved Neville. And I always saw, and I always had big plans for Neville, you know? And he really was the boy that could have been, because, as you know, as I make clear, he was born hours before Harry, he was born on the 30th of July, Voldemort singled him out as the other possibility. But the great thing about Neville’s story, for me, the overarching story about Neville, is that he proves himself to be a boy who could have done it too.
Yea, Harry had the scar, and arguably Harry had an edge more talent, because Harry, he has an extraordinary instinct for the right thing to do. He’s just got the right instinct, and that’s what would make him, in due course, a phenomenal auror. But Neville was, I think, amazing in the final battle and proved himself a hundred times over worthy of being a Gryffindor, his parents’ son, despite the very childhood that he had at the hands of his very pushy grandmother. And I know she loves him and he loves her, but she’s not an easy person to be raised by.
So yea, that for me was the big thing about Neville, he was a, he’s not on the surface, I suppose he’s not as cool, when it comes right down to it, but Harry, of course, made himself cool, he was a scrawny little kid in glasses and he comes through, he becomes the guy everyone wants to know.
Sue: You know the scene, you’ve written so many brilliant scenes, but I personally think one of your most powerful scenes was when Neville goes into St. Mungo’s , and understood when I was listening to that scene, that Neville probably never had the love of his mom and understood that like hugs, all he got were these wrappers..
Jo: Well he’s got all these elderly relatives who just wanted him to match up. “Why aren’t you, matching up?” And I, the trouble is, I think, that they would be the kind of people who forget what being young is like and want him to be, imagine themselves to be proteges and expect him to match up to really an impossible standard. So I felt, I felt so sorry for Neville from the word “go”, but I knew he was going to have a comparable to Harry’s, and he does.
And bizarrely, Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville, has undergone a bigger physical transformation than any other person who works on those films, to the point that when I went to the read through of Half-Blood Prince, we were all sitting in this great square. They put all the tables from the Great Hall into this big square so everyone was facing inwards for the read through. And facing me with Emma, and Rupert, and Dan, and Evanna, and Bonnie, you know the main lot, and there’s this really big cool guy sitting there, with a bit of stubble and wearing this woolen hat and leather jacket, and I didn’t recognize him and my eyes pass on. And I sort of thought, oh that’ll be the guy they’ve got playing McGlaggen, you know? And then I thought “Where’s Matthew?!” And I looked back, and my god, when did that happen!? So he’s really a very cool dude. And um, yea, he’s, they, he and Devon and Evanna and Bonnie all came to my reception for Beedle the Bard last Monday. It was great to see them, it was so nice.
Sue: Oh that’s so cool. Can I just ask the kinda sad thing, though? What did the Longbottoms do that they earned that wrath from Bellatrix? Such, you know there were those three times like the Potters…
Jo: They were efficient. That’s all they needed to be to earn her wrath. They had rounded up death eaters, they were very good aurors. They knew what they were doing, they were responsible for a lot of captures and arrests and imprisonments. And, uh, so there you are.
Melissa: What about the three times, the thrice defying of Voldemort?
Jo: Of James and Lily?
Melissa: Of Neville’s parents, well James and Lily too.
Jo: Well, I mean, it depends how you take defying, doesn’t it? I mean, if you’re counting, which I do, any time you arrested one of his henchmen, any time you escaped him, any time you thwarted him, that’s what he’s looking for. And both couples qualified, because they were both fighting.
Also, James and Lily turned him down, that’s established in Philosopher’s Stone, he wanted them, and they wouldn’t come over. So that’s one strike against them before they were even out of their teens.