The Big Issue – September 20
Matthew Lewis interview: “I wondered if they were going to recast me”
Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis on keeping his part in the hit series – and the scene that never was
Best known as the buck-toothed, pudgy Harry Potter hero Neville Longbottom, Matthew Lewis admits that he once feared he’d be left on Platform 9¾ watching the Hogwarts Express roll away for good without him.
The 24-year-old, a million miles from the awkward, geeky Longbottom, revealed that he questioned his longevity in the HP phenomenon in between the Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban installments.
“I shot up in height and lost a lot of puppy fat and I wondered if they were going to recast me – we were only contracted to two films at a time,” he told The Big Issue. “I thought, are they going to recast me? It didn’t keep me awake at night but I considered it a possibility.
“I’ve since been told there was never any question but I reckon in some dark room somewhere in California it might have come up. I had to wear a fat suit and false teeth and stuff to stick my ears out, which was pretty grim for a few years, but it meant I got to keep my job so I can think of worse things.”
Two years after Lewis and his Potter co-star’s triumphant farewell, the film and TV star revealed that he was disappointed not to see one particular scene come to life in the film series.
He explained: “There’s a scene in Order of the Phoenix when Neville visits his parents in St Mungo’s Hospital. It’s the first time we see Neville’s parents and they’ve been tortured to insanity.
“There’s a brief moment where his mother gives him a sweet wrapper and it means absolutely nothing to anyone else in the room but Neville believes that his mum recognises him.
“It’s a nice little moment in the book and I remember being really passionate about that scene. And I thought it really conveyed who Neville was and why also in the final film he becomes this hero – he’s doing it all for his parents.
“I thought that was a really important part of his story arc and his journey, and David [Yates, director] agreed, but unfortunately we never got the chance to do it. We were both a bit gutted.”