SnitchSeeker Interview – April 13, 2015
SnitchSeeker: What made you choose the role for Bluestone 42?
Matt Lewis: It’d already been a series on TV, which I saw the advert for. I thought it was a great idea. When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Blackadder Goes Forth. I was in the Air Cadets, so I contemplated a career in the military when I was younger. The idea of a comedy based around soldiers was something that I thought was very clever, daring and original. But then also the fact that it was a current conflict I thought was very brave and was something that, if done properly, soldiers and people back home could really get behind and appreciate. It was something I was so keen to get involved. They asked if I wanted to come in and read for a new character and, yeah, I was up for that.
SnitchSeeker: You’ve done television, film and theater. Which of the three do you feel more comfortable with as an actor?
Matt Lewis: Comfort-wise – TV. I like to develop a character over a length of time. You’ve got several episodes to really show a journey. I love the process of making television. I feel so involved with Bluestone 42. I didn’t write the show, I didn’t direct the show, I’m just acting in it, but it feels very much like my baby and I want to make it as good as it can possibly be in all aspects. I get involved with everything from costumes to music. Particularly with this show, I just feel heavily involved in everything, and I really relish that.
But I love all three forms. I was hoping to do a play this year, but unfortunately I’m doing a film instead so I can’t actually do the play.
SnitchSeeker: What film? [Editor’s note: this interview took place a few weeks ago, and the project was announced last week; Matt will costar in the upcoming adaptation of Me Before You]
Matt Lewis: It’s really exciting. It’s great. But I can’t say just yet.
SnitchSeeker: What genre do you prefer to work in?
Matt Lewis: I love working on comedies. It’s great, but it can be tough. The emotions that you’re trying to convey in drama we’ve all at some point felt and can draw on experience, but when it’s a comedy you’re putting yourself up on a pedestal almost and going, “Yeah, I’m funny. I can make you laugh.” It’s a bit of pressure there. There are times on set when I go, “Am I even funny? Is this even funny? Is anyone going to laugh at it?” I definitely second guess myself a lot more when doing comedy. It’s fun. The whole process is great. Trying to find the joke. Trying to squeeze all the humor out of a scene, out of a line without over-edging it. It’s a real good, fun process.
SnitchSeeker: We hear you’re going to be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for charity. Can you tell us about that and how you plan to train for it?
Matt Lewis: I’m climbing a mountain – Kilimanjaro. Jesus. It’ll be in October and it’s for the Steve Prescott Foundation. Steve was a rugby league player – a great player, a great man – who unfortunately died of cancer recently. When he was diagnosed with the disease, he decided to start the foundation and he worked tirelessly doing physical challenges – hikes and runs – to raise as much money and awareness of cancer as possible. One of his ideas was that he wanted to climb Kilimanjaro and we’ve decided, in honor of his memory, to take up that mantle and do it on his behalf, and try and raise as much money for his foundation as possible. I’m doing it with a load of rugby league legends. There’ll be a bit of training. I’m not sure exactly what we’ve got planned yet – there’s a few bits and bobs coming up in summer. I’m in the gym, so I’m at a fair level of fitness already, but there’s a lot to be done between now and then. In a way I’m dreading it, but at the same time, looking forward to having done it and raising some money for Steve.
SnitchSeeker: We got this question from one of your fans: What advice would you give to an aspiring actor in the Yorkshire area who wants to be recognized?
Matt Lewis: It can be a real tough gig. I know a lot of actors, mostly my friends. Some of them are wildly successful and some of them are chumming away and struggling. But it’s a passion. And if you’ve got the passion it can be the shittiest job in the world when you’re not working and you’re trying hard to get some work. But then as soon as you do, you forget all about … it’s like being drunk. Like when you get a hangover, you think, “I’m never drinking again.”
But very quickly you forget. It’s a bit like that. Being an actor – there’s very few jobs in the world where you get paid to absolutely what you love. Appreciate that it is a job. It’s not just a bit of fun to try your hand at a hobby. It is a job and you have to be as proactive as possible. There are certain things you can do to make sure you have as much chance as anyone else. When preparing for auditions, even if you’re not right for the part and they don’t give it to you, make sure you give the best performance you possibly can. That sets you up and creates a relationship with the casting director so they’ll think of you in the future. But if you half *** it – even if you are right for it – it’s not going to go your way. Be 100 percent committed.
SnitchSeeker: Besides the fame, how did the Harry Potter series shape your adult life?
Matt Lewis: I think it allowed me to mature as a person. In a way maybe I wouldn’t have grown up as quickly had I not been involved. I’d been working with adults for most of my life since I was about five years old, and then particularly from Harry Potter and onwards. I’d been around film sets and learning the world and that level of commitment that it takes. As much fun as a kid and it’s still incredible for me even now at 25, you learn very quickly when you’re in and amongst it that there’s a lot at stake and you need to really be aware of that. So that shaped me a good deal.
I’ve been fortunate through Harry Potter to travel the world and see some amazing things I’ve met so many people. I think I’ve grown just as a human being really from that. I feel very lucky and fortunate to have been given the opportunities. Harry Potter is … I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now without it. I don’t know what would’ve happened in my life – whether I’d still be an actor or whether I’d have had to go and do something else. I’ve honestly no idea. It’s a frightening thought.
SnitchSeeker: Did you have any regrets or struggles while making Harry Potter? We’re there any downsides to being Neville?
Matt Lewis: I don’t have any regrets. I’d rather have done something and thought, “I shouldn’t have done that” than having never tried something and wished I had. So I try not to reflect and regret too much. What I thought was amazing is there’s very little there I’d ever want to regret. when I was 15 or 16, having to put a fat suit on and wear false teeth was a bit frustrating because you’re going through that awkward age anyway. So that was kind of rubbish.
But again, growing up you realize it’s not about you. It’s about the job that you’re doing – this opportunity you’ve been given and the role that you’re playing – and you start to see it much more as a profession and an art form than you do about just not looking like an idiot. You mature. If I look back, at the time I would’ve been miserable and aware that I didn’t want to do that but the joy of working on a film like Harry Potter vastly outweigh any feeling like that. It was really just a fantastic time that I’m very humbled to have been a part of.
SnitchSeeker: Which of the two did you enjoy visiting more: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando or The Making of Harry Potter tour at Leavesden Studios in the UK?
Matt Lewis: Orlando, without a doubt. Definitely. Goint to Leavesden was interesting because it’s changed so much from when we were there. Going back to the place where you spent ten years of your life every day, going to work – then not going into work – and going back and seeing it all in its glory now in Warner Bros Studios was quite nostalgic. I quite enjoyed that. It was quite cool. But in terms of actual enjoyment, I think what they’ve created over in Orlando is spectacular.
Americans, in general, don’t tend to do things by half, but Universal Studios especially have really nailed it when it comes to detail – the accuracy, the dedication to making sure that everything is spot on as possible, and building things to last. It’s there and it’s solid wood. It just feels so real and felt fantastic. If only the weather was half as good over here. I just think everything they’re doing over there is incredible. Whenever I get a chance to visit, I jump at the chance.
SnitchSeeker: Which one did you like more: Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley?
Matt Lewis: Hogsmeade when I first saw it, was pretty spectacular. There’s nothing quite like walking through those gates with Hogwarts Castle in the background was pretty jaw dropping. Diagon Alley was just as amazing to walk through those walls. What I love about Diagon Alley, the Kings Cross stuff outside very much reminded me of what the actual Kings Cross looks like. You walk through and then you walk up the street and see Gringotts bank with the big dragon – that’s pretty amazing. That’s spectacular, as well. But I must say that that feeling the first time walking and seeing Hogwarts Castle was phenomenal.
SnitchSeeker: You recently met with Emma Watson and discussed Harry Potter and HeForShe. What did you talk about?
Mat Lewis: It was just a general chit chat. When something is ten years of your life, obviously it’s going to come up in conversation. We talked about all kinds of stuff, what each of us was up to. I told her about Bluestone, and we talked about HeFor She because she had asked me to do that picture awhile ago and asked about how it was going. So we just chatted about it. I just find it fantastic everything that she’s doing because it’s one of those issues where we’ve come so far and it’s like, “Well we’re done with that. We’ve got to that point.” And it’s so not.
You can see that we’ve only fought half the battle, and there’s a lot further to go. She’s a very busy girl and to use what time she has outside of making movies to issues so important and I think that’s absolutely fantastic. I asked her how she got into it and what it meant to her. I was just fascinated how she puts down the time and the courage to talk about it. And I was just picking her brain about that really. I’m a keen supporter. I’m really behind her all the way. I just really hope it will go from strength to strength and really create some change.
SnitchSeeker: Have you seen Tom Felton’s documentary on super fans?
Matt Lewis: No, I know a bit about it, not actually much. I remember Tom was going to an edit and I was chatting to him about it. He said, “It’s crazy, and you’re going to love it.” I can’t wait to see it.
SnitchSeeker: Tom said he got Dan and Rupert and JK Rowling, so we were hoping you’d be in it.
Matt Lewis: No, I was away at the time.