Our Super Megafest Interview with Tom Felton
by Kat Miller · Published · Updated
At what seemed like his millionth convention appearance of the year, Potter alumnus Tom Felton spent his weekend among fans at Super Megafest in Framingham, Massachusetts. Tom signed and took photos with fans for almost the entire weekend, only taking an hour or so break to attend a Q&A. During the session, Tom was asked a lot of great questions, including a few by MuggleNet.
When asked about his thoughts on Fantastic Beasts, Tom said, “I just think it’s great that Jo is going back to writing” and lamented the fact that Draco probably would not have anything to do with the story. We then asked him which of the Potter directors he would pick to take the helm. He praised all the directors for their individual strengths but in the end stated that he was “a big fan” of David Yates and that Yates “knows [the world] like the back of his hand. Fingers crossed they’ll give him another crack of the whip.”
When asked about his OTP (one true pairing) involving Draco, he stated that some of the pairings really frighten him, and although it took him years to figure out, he is a fan of Drapple, which – for those of you who don’t know – is a ship between Draco and the apple he carries around in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Yes, apparently, that is a thing. Watch the entire Q&A below.
Transcribed by Ryan McCormick and Marissa Osman
Moderator: They thought that you - the main young actors - would probably be involved with the first four films and then it would be recast. Thank goodness they weren't.
Moderator: It was wonderful for fans and you kids, in terms of you guys working. A great generation of kids got to grow up reading the book as well as seeing you on film. But I just wanted to verify what I thought was an odd thing: [There are] a lot of child actors that have horror stories later on, but you guys were kept on the straight and narrow.
Tom Felton: Yeah. Chris worked with Macaulay Culkin on the first Home Alone and Home Alone 2, and I don't think he was worried about anything like that. I think he was just wanting to get some decent actors in at some point. I think half of it was the fact that it took longer to do films when we first started, and there was the worry that the books were coming out quicker than the films could turn them around so that by the time the 4th or 5th one came around, we'd be growing beards.
Tom: Luckily, we were all pretty childlike anyway. Daniel still looks about 16.
Tom: [unintelligible] twenties. We're a pretty young-looking bunch, I think, luckily for us.
Moderator: I did some research on the internet, so I know that I learned the truth. [laughs] I was curious how many actors were in all eight films, and you were one of maybe 12, which is pretty cool.
Tom: [It was] probably all the kids.
Moderator: There was the holy trinity [laughs], then you and Neville, Ginny, [and] Fred and George, which is seven. Hagrid was eight, so then [there are] maybe three or four more. But it's cool that you were in all eight. That's a neat thing.
Tom: I didn't think about it like that. That is a pretty cool thing.
Moderator: I'm sure you have a million questions [from the audience], but one thing I wanted to bring up is [that you did an] excellent job in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Tom: I'm glad you liked it.
Moderator: You were one of the highlights for me.
Tom: It's very nice to hear. I've heard that a few times this weekend and I really appreciate it because I was very proud to be part of that, I thought it was a really kickass film. I think a lot of people were cringing and fearing the worst.
Moderator: Yeah. "Here's another revamp. Another title. A reboot."
Tom: Yeah. The title doesn't really sell it too well. [It's] a bit of a mouthful, I thought. But I was really pleased with the outcome, and I think they're doing another one as we speak, so it shouldn't be too long before another one is gracing our screens.
Moderator: One thing I'm excited about [that] I mentioned to you earlier: Ghost of the Pacific. That sounds intriguing. It's a true story, do you want to tell us about that, please?
Tom: Sure. The long-short of it is, it's a true story set in World War Two about three pilots who crash-landed in their airplane in the middle of the Pacific. They survived for 42 days on a raft maybe half the size of this table, so about this big [gestures], with three six-foot men in there. The film is that throughout the entire instance. There [are] no scene cuts to land, it's just watching these three men waste away. It has that 137 Hours, excruciating sort of pain to it. I haven't seen it yet, but it was a lot of fun shooting with Garret Dillahunt - people know him from Raising Hope, mainly - and a very nice guy called Jake Abel who just did The Host movies a couple of years ago. It was a pretty cool team. We had to lose a bunch of weight which wasn't that much fun. [We were on] strict diets. Just apples and coffee, which, again, [was] not a lot of fun. It sounds a lot better when you say, "Yeah!" to the film and then you're actually there in the middle of Mexico eating nothing.
Tom: But it was good because the last week of filming we were allowed to put weight back on, so we gorged on cheeseburgers and McDonalds. That was the fun part of the film.
Moderator: Royal Air Force, was it? Was it British?
Tom: No, it was American. I play a young chap from Youngstown, Ohio.
Moderator: One other thing before I turn it to the audience: I didn't realize this until I was doing some research, but you're very musically inclined. You sang in [the] choir, and I know that choir is such a big thing over in Britain. As a kid, you were in [a] children's choir, and you sing now; you've done some musical stuff.
Tom: I've always [been] musically inclined. I've always enjoyed musicals in the theater. I don't really go anywhere without my guitar. Not that I play every night or anything, I just like to have it near me. It's very comforting. I enjoy the musical realm. I like any sort of creative art, whether it's writing or painting. Not that I'm any good at either of those, but I have an appreciation for them. Music has been one that seems to follow me around through various different genres, different instruments... It's just nice to be able to have it close. I find it very comforting. If I don't have it next to me, then that's always the time where I think, "Ugh, I have a song in my head that I want to try and write," or [maybe] something tickles me. So I always try and keep it close.
Kat Miller: Hi everyone, Kat from MuggleNet. We sent out some stuff on Twitter and have some fan questions.
Tom: Twitter seems to be the greatest source of wacky fan questions. In my experience, anyway.
Kat: These aren't so bad, though. I promise. So, recently, the 12th anniversary of the Philosopher's Stone premiere just passed, and I wanted to ask you if you remember that, first, and what do you remember from that? What memories do you have?
Tom: Yes, I vividly remember it. My strong memory of it is having a suit which I thought was really, really nice at the time; [it was] hugely oversized. [I remember] being in the car on the way there with my grandparents and my parents, and my grandpa insisting that I tuck my shirt in, and me insisting even more-so that, "No, no, no, no, no. People don't tuck their shirts in anymore. It's the trend to wear a full suit but leave your shirt."
Tom: He groaned and didn't do anything about it. And now, 12 years on, I look back and cringe at these horrible pictures of this huge suit dredged over me with the shirt hanging down to my knees as much as I thought it was cool at the time. That's my only memory. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed [it]. My brother fell asleep in the movie, so I'm not sure that was a sign of a raging thumbs up. It was fun, though, for sure.
Kat: A lot of people also wanted to know... You're one of the only cast members we haven't heard from about Fantastic Beasts and the new screenplay that Jo is writing. What are your thoughts on that?
Tom: I'm very excited. I know nothing about it. In fact, I think I accidentally sent a tweet about a week before the news came out saying, "Wait for the ninth film," to someone, purely joking, and then she released this information. So now it looks like I'm some sort of insider who knows all the ins and outs of what's going to happen, and I can assure you, unfortunately, I don't.
Tom: I just think it's great that Jo is going back to writing what so many millions of people across the world want to read. I think Warner Bros. has signed up to do films of it as well, from the last thing I heard. [It] is great to know that relationship between David Heyman - who produced all the Harry Potter films - and Jo is going to continue. I'm sure, [they will] be some great films to come. Unfortunately, as [far as] I know, Draco is not [featured] in any of them. We're still working on it. I'm sending her some mail. Maybe there will be a flashback.
Kat: A lot of people are really hoping that Alfonso is going to direct it. Who would you pick out of all the Potter directors?
Tom: I really couldn't. They all have their own merits and styles, and they've all brought so much to all the films. Alfonso really grew the whole franchise up, I think. Chris was great at working with children, and children turned into teenagers when Alfonso stepped in. I am a big fan of David Yates, the guy who directed the last four [Potter movies]. He's fantastic with that world and he knows it like the back of his hand. Fingers crossed they'll give him another crack of the whip.
Kat: One last question. Everyone wants to know who you still keep in touch with from the cast.
Tom: Literally none of them.
Tom: We all hate each other. No. It's a really nice dynamic because we don't stay in touch that much. We don't constantly email each other or phone each other, but we always seem to bump into each other either at these things, or when they're releasing a new DVD, or a new theme park, or whatever it is. It's nice because every year they get these forced reunions, so we don't expect to see each other but we do. In fact, I played golf a few weeks ago with Ollie Phelps who is one of the Weasley twins. I don't know which one, I always forget.
Tom: Don't judge me on that! Yes, it's really nice. It's very family-[like]. It sounds like a cliche but you don't stay in touch that often [and] when we see each other in the room we flip back into place, so it's very nice.
Tom: Thanks for [your] questions and your support from MuggleNet; that's how I know what's going on in the Wizarding world.
[Audience laughs and applauds]
Audience Member: Tom, I apologize for asking this. You've been quite tired [from] everything you've done today, but from previous experience in this room, I know that from about the seventh row back everybody is going to have a really hard time seeing you. Do you have the energy to stand up to answer some questions?
[Audience laughs and applauds]
Tom: I just felt really awkward standing up. I'm happy to do so, as long as it does not make it too awkward for you. Hi, back four rows!
Tom: Good call; good call, sir. Was that your question?
Audience Member: My question is, I know you were in Slytherin, but if you - yourself - would have had to pick which house, which house would you have chosen?
Tom: Boring answer: Slytherin.
Tom: I'm not a bad person, but I like a bit of room for breathing.
Audience Member: Not so rigid?
Tom: Exactly. If I felt like skipping class that day then I’ll get away with it if I’m in Slytherin. I hate to say that.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Tom: No worries.
Moderator: Right here in front.
Audience Member: I know you worked with Mark Williams in The Borrowers. How was it working with him later on as he played Mr. Weasley?
Tom: Fantastic, yeah! In fact, Jim Broadbent played my Dad [in The Borrowers, then ended up playing Slughorn ten years later. I didn’t expect him for a second to remember me but he called me Peagreen straight away...
Tom: ...which was quite warming. I got a lot of time from Mark; he is always someone who knows how to have a good time. He’s a joker through. He is almost like Arthur Weasley where he is a very sweet and endearing man but also hilarious whether he needs to be or not, so it was nice to see him again.
Moderator: Let's see… [The person in the] purple sweatshirt.
Audience Member: What was it like to grow up in the Wizarding World?
Tom: It’s a bit bizarre really. I’m sure if I had a chance to step away from that and look back- I’m sure in years to come it will be easier for me to answer that. It feels a bit like to me that it was my school years. How old are you?
Audience Member: 13.
Tom: 13, alright. Well, you’ve probably got it yet to come. But from now until the time you leave school, it kinda feels like it's all pretty good times. You never really appreciate how lucky you are - I think - when you’re in a situation like that. When you are a 13-year-old at school, you just get on with it and realize when you're in your twenties that, "Wow, actually, that was probably the best time of my life."
Tom: Actually, when we were shooting the movies, we knew we were very lucky and we appreciated it. We didn’t know quite the reach that we were having around the world, [though]. It's funny now, even 12 years on from the first film, I get to come here and see, clearly, some people in this area enjoyed the movies.
Tom: Because we wouldn’t have made them all if it wasn’t for people. We only set out to make one film. A lot of people think we were destined to make all eight from the start [but] that wasn’t the case, it was only because of the amount of support that we did. Looking back at it now, I feel even luckier than we did at the time, I think.
Audience Member: Okay, thanks!
Tom: No worries, man.
Audience Member: Hi! I just was curious about what your favorite movie was to do, and in that movie, what was your favorite scene?
Tom: It's one of those questions [that's] a bit like, "What's your favorite year at school?" They all have so many great things, you know? If I had to pick one, the first and second [ones] were the two obvious ones to me. Chris Columbus was such a good director with children; you never really felt like you were working. There is a myth, maybe, that some film sets are very regimented and very hard-working, and a lot of them are, but if Chis Columbus is directing then it all feels like a bit of fun. In the second film, we did the dueling sequence, which was on a table as wide as this [table].
Tom: That was great. It would just be hundreds of kids [and] we got to fight each other on there. They stuck a wire on me and lifted me into the sky; I felt very cool. That was about as cool as the days [got] on Harry Potter filming. Although Quidditch looked fun, it wasn’t so good being strapped to a metal pole. [Otherwise] those are definitely some of my best memories of the first two films.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Tom: No worries.
Moderator: Alrighty, let's see… Death Eater.
Audience Member: Tom, now that you are in Los Angeles, how have you been balancing your professional life as an actor versus running a record label?
Tom: I'm in Los Angeles because I start work on a TV show next February. We wanted some time to get acclimatized to the weather and the way of life, find a place to live, and all that kind of stuff. So I'm not really too fast about juggling anything right now; I'm quite happy to focus on the acting work and what I'm doing. We went to the Toronto Film Festival last year to look at a couple of films that we did and they came out hopefully pretty well, so fingers crossed there'll be some more promotional work on that. It's hard because a lot of people say, "What's your next thing coming out?" I don’t ever know until it seems to be a week before the release of it.
Tom: Amazingly, we're very out of the loop as actors. We get told what, when, and that's it. I still enjoy the music, and it's something that I still have there, but it's not something that I'm predominantly focusing on over acting or anything.
Audience Member: Good luck with it.
Tom: Thanks man, I appreciate it.
Moderator: The gentleman in the black hat.
Audience Member: What inspired you to be an actor? Was it a certain actor or movie, or experience [with] a movie?
Tom: Nothing specifically. I enjoyed film as a child; I enjoyed theater. I used to go and watch my eldest brother who did theater. I used to love imitating Jim Carrey; he was my favorite. I remember vividly as a child doing some sort of Jim Carrey impression. I guess it's those kinds of mimicking skills or things that I did because I really, really enjoyed doing it. I used to go to after-school drama classes just for fun with no intention of ever doing anything. And very luckily [I was] in the right place at the right time. A lot of kids asked me about how [I got] the role. I've got great parents - especially my mum - and I was very lucky I was in the right place at the right time.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Tom: No worries.
Moderator: Let’s see, over here in the puddle against the wall.
Audience Member: Have you been to the Harry Potter theme park at Universal?
Tom: Yeah! I have. You mean the one in Orlando?
Audience Member: Yeah.
Tom: Yeah, I have. In fact, I just heard exciting news a couple of days ago that, hopefully, I am going to go down there in January to help open the second stage because they are expanding the theme park considerably. I think they are building Hogsmeade and Knockturn Alley. [I am] looking forward to that. I think it's really cool. It's hard to imagine because there is no real Hogwarts building where we filmed. All the exterior stuff was pretty much computers; we only ever had the rooms. So it's amazing to go to Orlando and actually see the whole thing stitched together and actually be able to go from one room to the next. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the books. That’s about as real as it's ever going to be, I think.
Moderator: Okay, Princess.
Audience Member: I have to bring it up. Originally being from the UK and today being the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, do you have a favorite doctor?
Tom: I’m a big fan of Matt, to be honest.
Audience Member: Me too!
Tom: I’m a new fan although it's been a part of my life forever. I remember my dad showing it to me when I was a little child. I’m only a recent fan. I think I started some of the late David Tennant episodes, and now Matt is a good friend of mine as well, and I have had the pleasure of saying hello a few times. We had the same agent back in England and he’s a very nice guy and a great actor, I think.
Audience Member: He seems like a really nice guy.
Tom: He is. I definitely won’t say anything other than that.
Audience Member: If you were to remake the Harry Potter movies and you were to choose which character you would be, who would you be?
Tom: I’m pretty biased [toward] the Malfoys. It's not going to be Luna or Hagrid or anything like that.
Tom: I like the idea- Actually, I don’t like the idea of them remaking the films. But if they did remake them in twenty-odd years I would love to come back as Lucious or as Voldemort. There he is at the back of the room. [Tom gestures at someone presumably dressed in Voldemort cosplay]
Tom: It would be quite fun to come back as the noseless beast.
Audience Member: I’m sure you’ve been asked this plenty of times in panels, but would you be willing to say, "My father will hear about this," for us?
Tom: Absolutely, not.
Tom: My father will hear about this!
[Everyone laughs and applauds]
Tom: I had somebody ask me to Draco frown at them. I have too much of a good time at these things to frown, so I’m afraid you won’t see that one this week.
Moderator: Green Lantern
Audience Member: I was in the hallway earlier and I came across a young woman who seemed to be having a panic attack. She was having trouble breathing [and] she was crying. I asked her what happened and she said, “I just met Tom Felton!”
Audience Member: How would you explain your appeal?
Tom: I’m not that bad! I’m sure I didn’t send her into a fit on purpose.
Transcribed by Ryan McCormick
Audience Member: Okay, I have to ask this question. I've heard many rumors… was the hug scripted or not, in the Deathly Hallows movie?
Tom Felton: Absolutely not.
Moderator: Which hug, sorry?
Tom: Voldemort hugs me, and there is a lot of talk about, “Oh, you hugged Voldemort.” I did not hug anyone.
Tom: My arms were down and we did that thing l50 times. We shot that whole outdoor sequence for months it seemed. We had to stop because it started snowing and had to come back to it in the summer. It was a very drawn-out, long thing. Ralph, the actor who plays Voldemort, he's incredible for many reasons but one is that he will throw things at you without actually asking.
Tom: One of the amazing things is actually looking at the noseless demon that you all know and love. Ralph did the entire film with 100 green dots [on his face]. He had the makeup, but he had 100 green dots all over his face which looks ridiculous!
Tom: So to be that menacing, even with a full nose and just a bunch of green dots, say a lot about his acting skills. But, no, it was completely random. I walked up to him and he did a couple of scenes where he put his arm up, and one where he nearly sort of scratched his nail on the face, I think. And then the one with the hug. The part that amazes me is that's the one they kept!
Tom: That's the one he used. Even more interestingly [are] the two reactions to that, coast to coast. In England, I vividly remember watching that in the premiere and there being a cold "Ohhhhh," and shutter at how scary, ominous, and disgusting that was. In America, it was just all out and out hilarious.
Tom: Which I'm not sure was intended, but it's great that there was humor to be found even in the darkest of scenes.
Moderator: Hogwarts student.
Audience Member: Hi, I have a couple of questions. What is your favorite place in London, and how do you take your tea? [laughs]
Tom: Wow [unintelligible]
Audience Member: Oh, what was my other one? I am totally blanking right now.
Tom: No worries. London-wise, I am a fan of the whole old city. It's a big place. I love Hampstead; Hampstead Heath is really nice. It's a big outdoor park where my dog can go rambling, so we love it there for sure. I love all the old Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square [areas] and those boring old monuments. I'm quite a stiff for the history of London, so I enjoy that. How do I like my tea?
Audience Member: Yes.
Tom: [It's] what we call in England, "builders tea."
Audience Member: Builders tea?
Tom: [A] very quick, strong splash of milk. That’s it, which I’m sure you’re all finding fascinating.
Audience Member: The last one was, what is your favorite book currently or of all time?
Tom: I am ashamed to say I have not read much recently. I seem to spend more hours watching than reading. Certainly of the Harry Potter books, I think it was the second one that I still look back on. I think that is the book that single-handedly really got me into reading, or got me interested in reading. Before that, anything with words, I got a bit demoralized and just looked for pictures, I think.
Tom: I think I was definitely of the generation [where] reading wasn’t cool. If you spent your lunch break reading, you definitely weren’t part of the in-crew. Within a couple of years of Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, that completely turned on its head. Suddenly you weren’t cool if you didn’t know what happened.
Audience Member: Right [laughs]
Tom: I have a lot to thank for that. I think that is probably one of the greatest things that has come out of Jo’s work.
Audience Member: Because you were still kids as you were filming the first couple of movies, I’ve seen you like to have some fun on the set. Do you have any funny [stories of] messing with the cast or crew you can tell us?
Tom: It was all pretty tame.
Audience Member: I’ve seen some YouTube videos of after the scenes of you guys laughing, you and Dan.
Tom: That used to be the big thing that held back film scheduling: laughter. Rupert especially had an issue with it.
Tom: No, it got really bad. In fact, anything that interrupted a film take was a red card. If you got a red card, it was ten pounds from your bucket. I think Rupert single-handedly [lost] about two thousand dollars…
Tom: ...in the first year, just for him. You get that thing when you know you shouldn't laugh, when you get told, "This is it. Don’t laugh," and immediately he just starts cracking up. He can’t take it when he knows he’s not supposed to. Pranks-wise, it was pretty tame. It was changing languages on phones and putting salt in people’s tea instead of sugar. We had a lot of fun, but we actually took the work pretty seriously. Most of the idiocy took place in the education classrooms and in the lunchrooms when we weren’t actually on set. I think we were pretty well behaved [unintelligible].
Audience Member: With Rise, you were unrecognizable for so long using the dialect work. How much dialect work did you do with the current film?
Tom: Quite a bit. It’s not something that I take on lightly. I think it’s very easy to imitate an accent, but it’s very hard to actually do it and not think about it; [to] just talk and let it come to you. So I did take it very seriously and [spent] many an hour back at home and in America. It’s not something that I ever think you feel, like acting. You don’t just suddenly get it and then you’ve got it, you have to keep working at it constantly. I see [a dialect coach] as regularly as I can and, ideally, I’d like to have someone [on set]. It's nice that this film goes to the Pacific because the two other gentlemen that were with me were both American. One of them was, in fact, from the town that my character was from. So all I had to do was imitate his accent [unintelligible] and every time I did slip up, he would say, ”Oh, you went a little southern there,” or, “You did a little of this, and a little of that.” So, it's nice to have that. It’s not something that I do lightly or definitely is something that I would consider needs a lot of work to feel comfortable doing.
Moderator: We have time for a few more, yes.
Audience Member: Is there any particular Draco ship that you enjoy the most? Like Dramoine or [unintelligible]?
Tom: I won’t lie, the whole thing freaks me out a little.
Tom: Over the years I’ve gotten used to it. I’m actually thrilled that people have felt inspired enough by the books to want to create their own. It’s just that some of their imaginations are a little wacky at times.
Moderator: Inspired is a good euphemism.
Tom: Well, yeah.
Tom: I have a thing - I don’t have a "thing," - but…
Tom: I enjoy the idea of Drapple, which took me years to figure out what it was. It’s Draco and an apple.
Tom: It took me even further to realize why. [It s] because in the sixth film he carries an apple [unintelligible]. I don’t even know…
Tom: …more than that. That’s probably the oddest and the one that’s given me the most thought.
Moderator: Do you want to pick some people?
Tom: No, no you got it.
Audience Member: There is a girl over here who wants to ask, a little girl.
Moderator: Okay, yes hon?
Audience Member: What is your favorite magical item from the book?
Tom: Wow, can I ask you the same question? Do you have one? Is there one that you would like to be? What is it?
Audience Member: Either a broom or a wand.
Tom: You just stole my answers.
Tom: What else can I go for? I’ve always - much like yourself - wanted a broomstick. It would be awesome, wouldn’t it, to have your own broomstick? Very eco-friendly.
Tom: It would be very awesome. I think a wand obviously ultimately is more useful but I fear I’d get myself into more trouble than it’s worth. I’ll stick with the Nimbus.
Moderator: Good question. I’m just going to pick people. Yes, in the back with sunglasses.
Audience Member: [unintelligible]
Tom: Oh, right, right. I thought you meant in the courtyard, I was like, "What are you talking about?"
Tom: No, completely. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but I’ll just say that I was the least protesting client of the ones who were going to get aged. Oddly enough, the women were much less keen to be aged significantly than I was. I was like, "Give me a fat suit, give me [unintelligible]."
Tom: Also, the guys who do it, they wait. They knew it was coming for years. So they’d spent years compiling all these different pictures of my family, of my brothers and my Dad, trying to get a real grasp of where I was heading.
Tom: They built various pieces; there was very little of my actual face being shown. They had all little sorts of eyepieces and a fake forehead and a wig. I loved it! I thought it was pretty kick-ass. I agree with you, they did look 80. When you look at Lucius, you think how good he looked. I thought I was set with Jason as a Dad.
Tom: Apparently not. But yeah, thanks for noticing!
Audience Member: What’s your take on the interpretation of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter musical?
Tom: The young… Laura?
Audience Member: Lauren.
Tom: Lauren. Sorry, Lauren. I think she should have got the original part [unintelligible].
Audience Member: Rolling on the floor…
Tom: Yeah, she’s good at that.
Tom: Again, it's taken me a couple of years to see that. I actually met a few of those kids who have done it, and it’s incredible that something must have started off as a pretty wacky idea… and now look at it and what they’ve managed to achieve. It’s another great byproduct of people who have been inspired by the films or the books, and wanted their own spin, shall we say, on it. It’s a lot of fun, man. I definitely enjoyed it.
Moderator: [Put your] hands down if you’ve already had a question because we have so many questions. Thank you. Yes.
Audience Member: After acting as Draco Malfoy for so long, is it weird acting in other movies?
Tom: A little bit, yeah. It was a bit terrifying, to be honest with you. You get very used to playing the same thing. It becomes very easy - not easy as in you don’t think about it - but the Director ends up asking you what you think your character would do because they know you know Draco better than anyone. It was a bit weird going to a new film set. We had the luxury of time on Harry Potter. You were lucky enough to do five, six, seven, or eight takes and spent hours rehearsing sometimes if they needed to. So it was weird to go on to another film where all of a sudden they had no rehearsal time, two weeks to shoot it, you’re in and you’re out. You really had to commit to your decision because if you think of something a week later that you should have done you really kick yourself and think, "Ah God, that could have been so much better." I’ve learned a lot in those brief periods and, ultimately, it’s scary and fun to take on new roles.
Moderator: Middle aisle, black shirt, red print.
Audience Member: Earlier last year I saw one of your late-night shows where you were reading little flashcards in an American accent. I thought that you did it really well.
Tom: “Sup, baby, wanna smash?”
Tom: I remember.
Audience Member: Would you perhaps say [unintelligible]?
Tom: Absolutely not.
Tom: That was as good as my recollection of that is going to be. They threw that on me completely. They told me it was going to be British phrases and I was going to have to do a ridiculous Sherlock Holmes posh accent. Instead, they threw the Jersey Shore [accent at me].
Tom: I was, again, petrified. That’s putting it kindly. I’m glad I got away with it [laughs]. It seems you remember this [unintelligible]. I appreciate your request.
Audience Member: You did it really well!
Tom: Thank you.
Moderator: Young lady, blue, long sleeve… Yep.
Audience Member: Did you keep any of the props from any of the movie scenes?
Tom: They were very tight with that. They started doing random security checks in the last three or four films because they knew how valuable the props would be. The short answer is no, the long answer is…yeah.
Tom: ...they gave me a ring. They had six or seven copies of Malfoy’s silver Slytherin ring, which he got in the third film; I was lucky enough to keep that. I got a tie, one of the original Slytherin ties. That is about it. It’s quite sad, isn’t it? Obviously, there is only one so that’s in the Leavesden studio store. We were very tempted, as a joke one day, to gag and handcuff Daniel - Harry - and stick him in the boot of the trunk of our car as we were driving out through security just to see [what would happen] [unintelligible].
Tom: We never actually got around to that. I just remember the idea of doing it.
Audience Member How do you feel about action figures? You’re likeness being used on things like action figures, statues, and now legos.
Tom: That’s one of the things that shows you, "Wow, this really is bigger than you ever expected." When you’re in it, you don’t really see what’s going on around you. You’re almost in a bubble, where no one says “Oh my God, this is incredible! We’re doing this today.” Because we are all just doing it. So seeing the Legos… Lego was definitely a childhood thing [so it was] a big tick. [Having] action figures was an even bigger tick, and the theme park, I was like, "Oh my God."
Tom: "Kill me now, I’m good," which was great. I was very sweetly given a set of the Harry Potter stamps earlier, which I’ll cherish. I never realized my face was on a U.S. Postal stamp.
Tom: Again, I think it’s really cool. It’s not something that I ever…these aren’t things that you ever hope for or are aiming for, but if they are a byproduct of the success of what you’ve done then, I’m very grateful that they are here. Annoyingly, I don’t collect it. I haven’t got a whole… I feel like I should be like one of the… Who’s the guy from Kiss?
Audience: Gene Simmons!
Tom: Yes. He has a room which is just absolutely packed with his Kiss [unintelligible]. Yea, I would love to have a whole Slytherin/Draco shrine.
Tom: So one day, I’m going to come to these things, and the lovely props you bring for me to sign, I’m going to start offering you money for those.
Tom: It’s something that I do cherish and I think it’s really cool that they are not dying. They are building one in L.A. now, and they are building one in Japan, so as far as I’m concerned the Harry Potter flame will burn pretty strong for the next ten years or so.
Moderator: Baseball hat.
Audience Member: Two questions: Do you have a favorite spell that you used in any of the films? And did you ever sustain any injuries while filming?
Tom: Expelliarmus was always the one that we messed around with when we were off set just messing around. What was the second part?
Audience Member: Did you ever sustain any injuries while filming?
Tom: No, never, really.
Transcribed by Ryan McCormick
Moderator: [The audience member with the] scarf, yes.
Audience Member: To date, what has been one of your more bizarre fan interactions?
Tom Felton: [unintelligible] My mind tries to forget them…
Tom: No, I’m kidding. It's all bizarre, I suppose, in its own way, the whole thing about being recognized. The oddest thing is I feel like I've grown up with lots of people - which I never used to feel - but upon doing a few of these shows, you meet lots of people who are [a] similar age to myself who have been watching you since they were nine or ten years old. And even though you don't know them, you feel like the way they're looking at you, [you] must know them because we're like old friends, it seems. So I find that bizarre every time. We went to Japan a couple of years ago. Needless to say, they do things a little bit differently over there. They were incredibly enthusiastic and yet incredibly respectful of your space, so they ran up to you in a big group of 100 and then did a little circle.
Tom: Wherever you walk the circle just moves around you.
Tom: And they're too respectful to ask for pictures. They just literally want to stand a meter away and smile. And they give lots of great gifts - bizarre gifts - silver spoons and various good luck fortune things. Not just from Japan, but from around the World. Those are always pretty bizarre to get a hold of.
Moderator: That's funny, it’s stereotypically Japanese [unintelligible] [to take] pictures. Maybe that's [when] traveling, but they didn't really approach the space for photographs.
Tom: Right, which is bizarre. There were loads - I mean, I was very grateful - but there were hundreds of people out there. I thought, "Wow, this is going to be a bit of trouble," but they just wanted to get close. I kept sort of reaching out just to say, "Do you want something?" And they were like, "No, no, no."
Tom: I didn't know what it was about but it was highly enjoyable nonetheless.
Moderator: Great. All right, in the back.
Audience Member: Maybe it's my imagination but in [Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in Diagon Alley, it seems like everyone is a year older and a foot taller than [in] the next scene. Did you shoot that out of sequence or is it my imagination?
Tom: Just my character?
Audience Member No, just all of the main kids.
Tom: I'd say not. I can't imagine, but maybe you're right. Maybe it's your imagination. I'm not sure, to be honest.
Tom: I haven't noticed that. I know there are those horrible clips on YouTube where you can see all 500 mistakes of the films in one two-minute clip. It seems mad. Some of the arrows are like, "How did they not notice that?" But I haven't noticed that one. I'll look out for it.
Moderator: Alright… Yes.
Audience Member: Hi. I’m just wondering what your favorite British football team is.
Tom: I get in trouble every time this question gets asked because, unlike every other Brit, it seems I'm not mad [about] soccer. I support England if they're playing, but I don't have a team. My girlfriend's team are die-hard Arsenal fans, so I'm a temporary Gunner, I guess, for them. All my best friends support Manchester United so I'm torn between the reds.
Audience Member: I was wondering if you had any memories of making Anna and the King.
Tom: Yes. Vividly, yes. I was in Malaysia for six months when I was ten years old or something like that. I remember that that was a long old slog. I can’t try to think of what my memories were of that. [In] the first one, I was the only Western child in the whole production, so it was a lonely place for a kid to be, I think. Looking back at it, it was an amazing experience. At that age, I don't think you really appreciate anything other than a Happy Meal from McDonald's or something like that.
Tom: I was more excited about that Happy Meal than I was about Jodie Foster. My mum refused to let me watch Silence of the Lambs as a ten-year-old.
Tom: I'm a bit grateful now; it was great. I feel it was one of the things that, as time goes on, the more I look back and think, "Those were really good times, me and my mom, for six months in Malaysia." It was fun.
Moderator: Yes, in the back.
Audience Member: Short of Quidditch and being on a broomstick, what was your most challenging scene to film and a challenging emotional moment for you to film?
Tom: There was some weird emotional stuff in the sixth film with the attempted assassination of Dumbledore. When you said "tough and challenging," I instantly thought of the seventh film, where they get stuck in the Room of Requirement and the whole place is going up in flames and young Harry saves the day.
Tom: That was shot over months and months. It was very hard to get the right real as well as the CGI fire. I don’t know if you remember, but there was a table we were standing on at the top of all this rubble, waving, and the table just goes [out from under us]. And we turn around and cling on to the… I don’t even think they showed it in the film; it missed the cut, but that was incredibly scary at the time. We were only 20 feet up, but we knew the table was going to drop. So we’re standing there waiting - they didn’t give the three, two, one - and then they snap two of the legs out, and the whole thing comes underneath your feet. Even though we were all wired, nothing was going to go wrong with us. It sounds like I’m a real ***** now.
Tom: It was the knowledge that the table was going to kick that was pretty terrifying at the time. We made the most of it as complaining actors do, I suppose [laughs].
Audience Member: Thank you!
Tom: No worries.
Audience Member: I was just wondering, during production at what point were you able to see the visual effects implemented in the scene?
Tom: None at all. That shot he just mentioned there [is] from the sixth film, I think it is, where they have the whole sweeping across Hogwarts. None of that was real; I don’t even remember myself doing that shot about standing by a window. They have the Director, and then three or four bodies running around him, who were the visual effect bots. They knew exactly what [they were doing], pointing lasers, putting red lights up, and doing all sorts of wizardry - excuse the pun - to make the elaborate shots. I forget which film it is as well, where you can see from the outside and the camera just literally goes straight through the window, and then you see the inside. Of course, that’s not possible, so how do they do it? These clever guys behind the computers can do it. Speaking about the Room of Requirement scene with the fire, there was no real fire. They had tiny little flamethrowers to have the light from the fire.
Audience Member: So when you go to see the premiere, you’re all of a sudden blown away by the effects?
Tom: Well, yes. The second film- well, [with] the first one, actually, graphics were not really good then. Even in the second film, we did months of broom work and stuff. You’re not moving. You’re literally standing still with a fan in your face. Sorry to ruin it for everyone.
Audience Member: Aw, man!
Tom: It really is painful. It’s actually quite boring, really. "Look right, look left." You don’t know what's going on. They know exactly what they need, then they cut you out. So when I watched Chamber of Secrets, I was like, “OMG, is that me? When did I do all this?”
Tom: They are obviously geniuses at doing that kind of stuff. That was the biggest surprise when I thought, “Wow, how on earth have they managed to create this elaborate scene out of a room no bigger than this, with it wrapped in blue paint, and me sitting on a pole in the middle of it?” Amazing.
Audience Member: One of the remarkable things about the Potter films I’ve always thought [about] is that, if you look at the cast over the eight years, it’s like the British Actors Hall of Fame. Could you appreciate as a kid that you were getting this master class every day?
Tom: Not at all, especially me. I was rather nonchalant as a child. I did care, but I didn’t actively seek out. In fact, I'm pretty sure I introduced myself twice to Gary Oldman thinking he was a visitor taking a tour.
Tom: I was explaining to him what we were doing: “This is Harry Potter. This is what we’re doing.” And eventually, someone told me, “That was Gary Oldman.” I still didn’t know what that was. I was still a child. I just thought, “Oh, okay,” and then someone explained to me. I had respect for them all, but Alan Rickman was the only one that I knew from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. That was a big film when I was a kid. So I was scared of him from day one.
Tom: Ironically, we were supposed to be young wizards learning magic in a school of wizardry, being taught by the best teachers in the world. And, in fact, we were young, completely clueless, talentless actors being taught by the best in the business. We all have a lot to thank [them] for teaching us. Because they never really took us under their wing, but I think through their example they taught us a lot. Thanks for the question.
Moderator: Hogwarts magic is certainly formidable but you don’t want to mess with the force [unintelligible].
Tom: I don’t want to mess with that. [laughs]
Moderator: Thank you, Tom, very much!
[Audience cheers and applauds]
Tom: I just wanted to say I really appreciate [this]. That was one of the most pleasant Q&As I've ever done. Thank you.
Tom was at ease, funny, and very connected with the fans during the one-hour Q&A session, which continued into our discussion with him immediately following.
In our chat with Tom, we talk about the project he is currently working on, including his jump to television, the late Richard Harris, how it feels to continually play the baddie, what he enjoys about fan conferences, and so much more.
Be sure to catch Tom at the Ottawa Pop Expo in just a few weeks. For those unable to attend, MuggleNet will be there to bring you all the wonderful coverage.
Did you attend any of the conferences this year and get to meet Tom? Share your experiences with us below.
Transcribed by Marissa Osman
Kat Miller: This person wants to know, "Always the baddie, never the hero. How does that feel, and has anyone ever reacted super negatively towards you because of your onscreen persona?"
Tom Felton: It definitely feels bad to be a villain [rather] than a good guy. I've played a couple of good guys in some of the less popular stuff that I've done, but I enjoy playing the antihero. Whether that's the villain or not, I don't know, but it's fun to play someone who's a real abstract, different character from what I am in day-to-day life. And as far as reactions go, [I've gotten] quite a lot of negative reactions [from] youngsters. Anyone 6 and under generally doesn't react too well to me thrusting my hand [out]. They're usually more freaked out by the fact of how [much] friendlier I am in real life. I think if I was Draco-esque they might find it funny, but the more, [in a high-pitched, friendly voice] "Hi!" I am, the more [they're] like, "Oh my God, this guy is freaking me out." So that tends to be the reaction from the youngsters.
Kat: No one [has] ever tried to hit you or anything though, right?
Tom: No, [there's] lots of, "Leave Harry alone!" It's like, "It's a story, I don't have control over the character." I dare not shatter the illusion to these people, I just nod and agree. [laughs]
Kat: Sure, sure. [laughs] You have a couple of TV roles: Full Circle and Murder in the First. Where are you with those? Are they filmed? Are they set?
Tom: Full Circle is out and done. We did that in two days. It was a very quick shoot. I think the last episode has just aired, I'm not 100% sure. [For] Murder in the First, we shot the pilot in July and it got greenlit about a month ago for another nine episodes that we start shooting next month. I'm in the first two. He's definitely not the hero, but I don't think he's a villainous character. Saying that, I don't know which direction the TV show is going to go in, so I'm at the mercy of the writers at the moment, but [I'm] looking forward to working on it. It's a really cool character and I think it's a cool TV show, so [I'm] looking forward to it.
Kat: How does it feel being on TV instead of film? Does it feel different?
Tom: No, not at all, really. I think the quality of TV now is so good and they seem to take just as much time getting TV right as they do [film]. Some of the smaller-budget films that I've worked on recently shoot even quicker than TV does. It's always an experience depending on how quickly they want to do it. [With] the pilot, we had a bit more time because it's the first episode, so they allow three and a half weeks to shoot it. So I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the actual episodes to see how long we get. It'll be pretty "go, go, go" I'm sure.
Kat: What about theater, stage, something?
Tom: Yeah, I've always wanted to do [that]. It's what I started with. That's what I used to do as a whippersnapper, when I was a little kid. [It's] definitely where it all started from. [It's] definitely the best place to get instant feedback. As far as enjoying [watching it], I went to go see Daniel's show a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month ago now...
Kat: [The Cripple of Inishmaan]? It was great, right?
Tom: Yeah! [It was] highly enjoyable. He was very good in it, obviously. That kind of stuff really intrigues me. The downside for me, at the moment, has been the commitment to it. Sometimes - a lot of time - there are 6 to 8-month commitments with the shows and right now I'm a bit all over the place to be able to commit to [that].
Kat: [You're] busy.
Tom: Well, yeah. I'm quite happy to be traveling a bit and I'm not sure if I want to be doing the same thing every night for eight months, right now, anyway. If the right project was put in front of me, then I definitely would jump at the chance to get back on the stage down the road.
Kat: Down the road, yeah. On your IMDb page, there'[re] a couple of things that I saw that I hadn't heard of. Grace and Danger and Fangs of War.
Tom: Both of those can be stricken from the records, I think.
Kat: Okay, great. That's what I thought.
Tom: A lot of the films in the last few years have tried to attach cast members before getting money to try and drive the production forward and I think those two projects were both things that I was willing to do. I read good scripts and [they] seemed like interesting projects, but I guess they never amounted to much through lack of funding, my guess is.
Kat: Alright. You touched on this briefly in the Q&A, about all the amazing British actors that you've worked with. I want to know, what would your dream cast be? Say you're the leading man in a movie. Who would play opposite you? And pick a best friend and a mentor. Three people you would just die to work with, whether you worked with them before or not.
Tom: Wow. Oh, God. It's a very tough question. I wish I had this one [beforehand]. This is one of those ones that when you're not here and I'm sitting alone, I think of brilliant answers.
Kat: You can tweet me, I'll send you a message. Tweet me. [laughs]
Tom: Alright, that one can be answered later on. [laughs] Looking back at it, I had so much fun with Jason Isaacs. Michael Gambon is also someone. A lot of actors that I've worked with. Everyone takes the job seriously, but some of the actors take themselves seriously, and maybe a little too far. Michael Gamble is a good reminder. He does not take anything that seriously. He likes to have fun, even if it. If they told him he only has one take, he'd still mess it up on purpose just to have a bit of fun, and I think he's a good reminder that you don't need to take yourself seriously to put in a good performance. That was the most bizarre thing about watching Michael on camera. All I can remember from him is joking around, laughing, pulling cigarettes out of his beard, and doing stupid stuff.
Kat: The whoopee cushion one; I've seen that one on YouTube.
Tom: Yeah, it's true. Yeah, lots of fun, stupid stuff. And when you see him on camera it's like, "Wow. Who is this actor?" [It] comes out of nowhere. So those two are definitely on the list.
Kat: Speaking of Michael, do you remember what it was like after Richard Harris passed away?
Tom: Very briefly. I had one interaction with Richard, and fortunately, it was a lovely one where he approached me when we were off set of the Great Hall. I think it was after the second film, maybe the first film, I forget exactly. But he just reintroduced himself, because I met him before, and he said something very complimentary. I forget exactly what it was, but he said something [like], "You're good," or something along those lines. He pointed, raised his eyebrows, and said something complimentary, which, to me, at the time, I suppose didn't mean that much. But looking back at it now, it was very heartfelt, very warming to know that I had the chance to not only work with him but share that brief interaction.
Kat: Just one more to wrap up. This is, what, your fifth convention this year, or something crazy like that?
Tom: Yeah, I think this has probably been the most [I've done in a] year.
Kat: What do you like so much about coming to these? Is just meeting everyone?
Tom: Yeah. One of the big things for me is [going to] different places. Not to say that I wouldn't do one in the same place that I've already been, but I love going [to] the places I've never been before. [I've] got another one in two weeks in Ottawa.
Kat: I know, we've got somebody coming there.
Tom: Great! I've never been there. So that's the first half of it. The second, really, is timing. The real hard thing about me and conventions is that, if it was up to me, I'd say yes to 25 of them and be like, "The ones I can go to, brilliant, the ones I can't, I won't." Unfortunately, there's been a couple of bad instances in the past where I've canceled but the promoter hasn't said anything, or whatever it may be, or I've had to cancel last minute through work commitments, and by doing that you upset a lot of people because they assume that you're just deciding not to come because you're busy. And of course, that's never the truth. So now I'm more reluctant to say yes to things without me knowing. That's why this was a good one and [unintelligible] was a good one, because I knew December was going to be pretty quiet. We're going to be doing some work, but because these land on weekends they work out well. So yeah, places, but most importantly the people. I really do feel a debt to the millions of people around the world who have kept us going. And all the thousands of people that have come along today, they were the ones who really helped keep the whole film franchise going. I said it in the Q&A, we never set out to make eight films. It was only because of the driving support that you guys and everyone else here were doing. It gives me a really warm feeling to be able to say thank you and meet these people face-to-face. I get a bit of a kick out of that, for sure.
Kat: That's great, thank you.