Christian Peter Coulson was born on October 3, 1978, in Manchester, UK. As a boy, he attended Westminster School in London an academic scholarship. At the age of 12, Coulson joined the UK’s prestigious National Youth Music Theatre, where he was a member and performer until the age of 19, when he moved on to the University of Cambridge, Clare College. Coulson performed in a few productions during his time at University and even had a few film and television roles. He ultimately graduated from Cambridge in 2000 with degree in English.
During his time at University of Cambridge, Coulson wrote the lyrics and book for a rock musical called ‘The Fallen’ which was eventually performed at Bedford Modern School in 1998.
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Before the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone film had even been released, Coulson found himself amongst thousands auditioning for the role of Tom Riddle, Jr. He has admitted that he didn’t read the book until right before the audition, but once he did, he got very excited and really wanted the role stating that “the part really chimed with me when I read the book and I felt very strongly there were some things I could bring to it.” Despite being 23 at the time (the casting call was for 15 – 17 year olds!), Coulson’s talent landed him the role. After nearly six months of auditions, Coulson got the call that he was cast in the film – and felt relief!
Once finally on set, the scale of the production really hit Coulson. While everyone on set was “fantastic,” Coulson states that “It was the first time I’d had a responsibility of that size. I was not in a place that I could relax as it was all new to me. So I was busy exploring and being excited by it and I remember that time very fondly. We spent seven weeks doing a 15 minute scene, something which I will probably never do again. The scene was so long and the effects so heavy in the second half of it – to spend two months doing it was extraordinary.”
Followers of the movies were such fans of Coulson’s performance, that once the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince novel was released and Tom Riddle made another appearance, many were sure that Coulson would reprise his role as the to-be Dark Lord. Coulson was ready to step back into his robes, but unfortunately director David Yates lamented that Coulson (then 29) was simply too old to play the part. “When the sixth book came out last year and Tom’s back in it and I felt those feelings again. I don’t always know why a part jumps out. It’s about what fuels the imagination and what chimes in some way with how you tick. The experience is very much like reading a novel and when you find characters you identify with very strongly you don’t always know why I don’t think.”