The Sun TV Magazine – Feb 22
Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis on his Army comedy and transformation to TV hunk
For over a decade from the age of 11, Matthew Lewis played pudgy, buck-toothed Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films. The dream job came with a contract forbidding him from having his teeth straightened and discouraging him from losing weight.
So you’d think Matthew – now 24 – would be lapping up all the positive attention his good looks now get.
“I found it really uncomfortable in America at the final Harry Potter premiere because it became a “thing” in the press that I looked very different,” says Matthew of the 2011 event that marked the end of his time in the most successful film franchise ever. “I didn’t think [my transformation] was more drastic than any other kid’s. I’d had to wait until I was 21 to have my teeth done, which was pretty s**t! But I didn’t like being scrutinized, so I hired a publicist and said: “look, after this, can I just go away for a bit? Can I just go home?”
But things didn’t exactly calm down for the Leeds-born actor when he got back to Yorkshire.
“Soon after, I turned the Christmas lights on in a little town near my home and then went into this church hall, and hundreds of kids stormed in zombie-style,” laughs Matthew. “The police had to get me and my mum out of there in a riot van.”
Thankfully, such hysteria has since died down for him and his former Harry Potter co-stars, who he still keeps in touch with. “Daniel [Radcliffe] is the one I was closest to, and whenever he’s in the UK we meet up,” says Matthew. “I Skyped Emma [Watson] while she was in LA last month too. I used to fancy her when I was a kid, she’s a very good-looking girl. I love watching her and Dan’s films, and – bless them – they text me to say they’ve seen what I’m in too.”
Next up for Matthew is the second series of comedy-drama Bluestone 42, about a fictional British bomb-disposal unit in Afghanistan. It’s a role close to his heart because, until the age of 17, he regularly returned to Leeds to train as an air cadet while filming Harry Potter – which he credits with keeping him grounded.
“It’s like I lead a double life,” says Matthew. “I can enjoy the fun things that come with acting but then I try to be as normal as humanly possible and see all my old mates who don’t give a s**t about what I do. I’ve taken my best mate to all the Potter premieres, but he’s only seen two of the films because he fell asleep. We’ll go to a pub quiz and they find it hilarious when a Harry Potter question comes up as I never know the answers.”