Christian Coulson on Why He Identifies with Lord Voldemort

It isn’t often that people say that they identify with Lord Voldemort, but Christian Coulson, who portrayed a younger Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, does. The actor shared the information in a recent interview with Bustle, in which he reflected on his work on Harry Potter.

For starters, Coulson reveals that his own experience at school was not unlike Hogwarts:

I had been at boarding school in a sort of Hogwarts-y school called Westminster, which has been around for about 1,000 years. The stone steps leading up to where we had assembly are worn down from hundreds of years [of] boys running up and down them.

He adds that being away from his parents, who were abroad at the time, made him “[feel] like [he] was an orphan,” saying,

There was a detached survival mechanism that I really identified with.

True to the Slytherin he portrayed, Coulson explains that he enjoyed tapping into Tom Riddle’s manipulative side, too:

I really loved doing that scene with Richard Harris where I’m pretending to be a model student… while really lying to him. It reminded me a lot of my experience at boarding school — of being impeccably well-behaved on the outside and secretly getting up to mischief.

While Coulson’s mischievous streak could have easily belonged to a Weasley, he says that he “understood” Tom Riddle’s actions:

There’s a lot that isn’t similar about us, but I felt that I understood something about him. There’s something very wrong with him, but I understand what it is. The things he did [as a teenager] made sense to me in terms of his survival.

The article from Bustle also points out that, because only four of the Harry Potter books had been published at the time of Chamber of Secrets, Coulson had to figure out some aspects of Tom Riddle for himself:

From the information in those [four books], it seemed to me that there was a coldness and an emotional absence to his evil, and that was what I was interested in exploring.

Based on what we know of Lord Voldemort now, we have to say that Coulson did an excellent job!

Do you identify with Lord Voldemort, too? Are you surprised that Christian Coulson identifies with the character he portrayed? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Mary W.

I am a Slytherin, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter, and a member of MuggleNet staff since 2014. In my Muggle life, I am passionate about human rights, and I love to travel around the world and meet new people.