ripitup.com.au – ‘I’ve done quite a few weirdly different things to Neville’
Hold onto your wands, everyone – your favourite clumsy Herbology enthusiast turned cardigan-donning heartthrob is set to hit Australian shores this month for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo. Since concluding the filming of the Harry Potter series in 2010, Matthew Lewis has been keeping busy with an array of projects (including that time he broke the Internet earlier this year as a stampede of eager voyeurs made UK Attitude magazine site temporarily go down when his shirtless photoshoot was published).
Lewis wrapped up filming for anticipated drama Me Before You earlier this year, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Jojo Moyes. Lewis stars alongside Game of Thrones favourite Emilia Clarke and The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin, both of whom he loved working with. “It was just a really nice environment on set [with them], and the book that the script is based on is a lovely piece of literature,” he tells ripitup.com.au. Me Before You is scheduled for release in June of next year.
Lewis has also been flitting between England and Ireland this year while working on two television shows, Happy Valley and Ripper Street. When we caught up with Lewis, he was back in London briefly after a stint in Manchester shooting for Happy Valley, sniffling and coughing down the line. “I’ve come back here [to London] for the moment – I’ve got this cold because it’s miserable here,” he says. “The last few days have been pretty intense. I can’t really say what I was doing without giving away too much of my character, but it was intense and I’m quite rundown.”
Shooting for Ripper Street resumes next January after a break over Christmas, and Lewis states that he is eager to devote his attention to the one project next year. “It’s been fantastic [working on both shows], but it’s been quite heavy doing two jobs in two different countries.”
Lewis’s career has evidently evolved to comprise a diverse range of acting roles since his younger days as the bumbling, faithful Neville Longbottom. He tells ripitup.com.au that he has enjoyed working on television sets, and that he likes having the freedom to move between film and television work. But what are Lewis’s thoughts on Neville five years after the wrap-up of Harry Potter?
“I’ve done quite a few weirdly different things to Neville since then. I feel like in my career I’ve definitely moved on, but it’s still such a massive part of my life – it’s not something that you can easily forget,” he states. “It’s been the very foundation of the rest of my career, particularly amongst the fanbase. I’m very, very fortunate to have some incredibly fantastic fans. I’m under no illusion that the vast majority are fans of Harry Potter and that’s not a bad thing. I don’t mind at all.”
Lewis says that while it is difficult to remain in close contact with the cast and crew of Harry Potter since many have moved around the world to pursue other projects, he still speaks to his colleagues from the film set regularly. “I saw David Yates and David Heyman, the director and producer of Harry Potter, at the weekend. I saw J.K. Rowling at the weekend as well, and chatted to her about the film and the play she’s doing.”
And as if we didn’t love Matthew Lewis enough, his genuine appreciation for his fanbase became obvious when he shared his most memorable fan experience. Several years ago in Canada, a young girl approached him and told him that watching Harry Potter and particularly relating to the character of Neville Longbottom had helped her through a period of her life where she had tried to kill herself.
“Because of that, she got my signature tattooed on her arm. I was confused to begin with, thinking about how anything I’d done could have had that kind of impact, but also incredibly humbled and very much aware of the responsibility we have when we make films – we don’t always appreciate how much people can be affected by them. It was both nice and eye-opening, and I’ll never forget that.”
Lewis will be doing a whirlwind tour of Australia, starting in Adelaide for Supanova then moving on to Uluru, Sydney and Brisbane before returning to London. He says that he is looking forward to soaking up the Australian sunshine, and that it’ll hopefully even help to get rid of his pesky cold – someone bring the man a cough drop!