Ralph Fiennes, Stephen Fry, and Matthew Lewis on Mental Health in a Pandemic

Hands up, who has been wondering what it would be like to have survived this ongoing pandemic in the shoes of a celebrity? We’re not talking about the financial security that comes with a Hollywood paycheck. Mental health awareness is of utmost importance for everyone, everywhere, in every walk of life. While the Harry Potter books have always given us comfort, we can also rely on the movies to cast a mental Patronus Charm. Here’s what three members of Potter royalty have recently shared about their experiences and how to help others.

While Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) has been fortunate enough not to have caught COVID, he is feeling the strange uncertainty.

My mental health is such that I need to keep busy. If I don’t give myself tasks, whether it’s learning a language or doing exercise or something, I can sink into…

The morning time is the worst. In that weird place between sleep and wakefulness, I feel a low thing coming into me. But then I get up and start the day and I do stuff and it’s sort of OK.

I live on my own, and I’m happy on my own. But incrementally, over weeks and weeks, it does become a bit bizarre, a bit Twilight Zone.

Luckily, he sees the positive side of the pandemic, though his life has been disrupted.

About three months ago, I knew what I was doing, but then everything that was slated got moved around.

Look, for so long, I used to say, ‘I want a sabbatical.’ And now I’ve got one.

While The Dig, in which he plays archaeologist Basil Brown, has just premiered on Netflix, we’re having to wait longer than expected to see him return as MI6 agent M in the next Bond movie. Fiennes misses movies not only as a filmmaker but as an audience member too. “As a punter, I would love to go and sit and watch a big movie in the cinema. I feel a real hunger to be in a cinema, so I hope they hold their nerve,” he said about the delayed premiere of No Time to Die, which is currently set to come out on October 8. Fingers crossed we get to spot him on the red carpet by that time.

Until then, we have plenty of ways to hang in there. For example, putting on the Harry Potter audiobooks read by Stephen Fry is an excellent strategy to ward off Covidementors. The actor, writer, and all-around connaisseur of all things quite interesting has shared his favorite books and music to help him through lockdowns. He also composed a morale-boosting message, with which he surprised Norfolk teachers via a reassuring email. Far from joining Instagram influencers in urging us to just breathe, his words are as real as they are comforting:

Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that you’re somehow ‘failing’ or ‘getting lockdown wrong’. There is no way to get through all this that is right and proper. It can be off-putting submitting oneself to the window of social media through which other people’s lives can seem so healthy, happy and efficient. All that baking and exercising that other people are doing – it can make one feel inadequate. But what other people choose to share of their lives, faked or real, isn’t the point. We are all getting through this in our own way, and for most of us, that means good days, okay days, bad days and awful days. Let oneself have those bad days without feeling guilty and letting self-annoyance make them worse.

 

 

 

Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) is also striving to lift schools’ spirits, particularly that of students, by joining forces with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge and Jodie Whittaker in a charity effort. Lewis is set to join Place2Be’s “virtual assembly” for Children’s Mental Health Week 2021. This year’s theme is “Express Yourself,” which can be through art, writing, music, poetry, drama, photography, film, or whatever brings you joy.

 

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Dora Bodrogi

I am a writer, a critic, a researcher, a traveler, and a Ravenclaw through and through. My main fields of interest are representation, gender, and LGBTQ fiction, history, and censorship. Incorrigible doodler and theatre kid.