Tom Felton Opens Up About Life After “Potter,” His Mental Health, and Narrating His Memoir
Tom Felton’s memoir, Beyond the Wand, reveals many exciting tidbits about his life and his experiences while working on the Harry Potter franchise. It’s been refreshing to see how open he is about his experiences – even the ones that are not exactly glamorous.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, Felton opened up about what life was like after the Potter franchise ended, and it was anything but glamorous. In fact, he admitted that recounting some of the experiences he put in his memoir left him incredibly emotional. Felton is very open about his mental health, and during the interview, he admitted that auditioning after finishing up the films was a whole different ball game. He realized that he wasn’t actually very good at acting, despite having worked on the Potter films for several years.
Auditioning as a 12-year-old is one thing – more or less making sure you don’t look down the lens or forget lines – but as an adult, it is very different. In LA, it was getting on the circuit: three auditions a day, different scripts, different accents and dialects – skills I hadn’t put into practice, even though I was very experienced in other ways.
He added that most of his auditions ended with a firm “no” and that the fact that everyone recognized him as Draco Malfoy didn’t exactly make things easier.
Before I’d even said a word, I could often see they were thinking: ‘Don’t have him, he’s the Potter kid.’ Harry Potter got me in the room, but often it was a huge disadvantage, and I had to prove myself. Which I am so grateful for now.
It’s no wonder, then, that Felton eventually found himself in a very dark place, dealing with depression and substance abuse.
It’s easy to point the finger and say it must be the Hollywood lifestyle, or it must be the drink. If you are in LA and you’re surrounded by a lot of tinselly things, it’s a little easier to get your head lost in the clouds. But the root cause was partly a genetic [mental health] predisposition and a sense of feeling like something was not quite right with my life, which I think we all experience.
Felton added that he didn’t speak up about how he was struggling mentally because, from the outside, his life looked great, and it wasn’t as common for men to speak out about their mental health at the time.
From the outside, it was perfect: I had a dog, a nice car and a house in LA. You trick yourself into thinking, well, these are the things I’ve been told make you happy, but they don’t.
Luckily, his friends and family staged an intervention, and he ended up getting the help he needed. Felton said that, in retrospect, he knows he was lucky to have people who cared enough to take the necessary steps to help him. Now, he is at a point where saying that he’s not okay is empowering, and he knows what steps to take when he’s not in the best mental space.
Writing his memoir required Felton to recount several life experiences, which was no doubt challenging at times. When he recorded the audiobook, a lot of those emotions returned to the surface.
When I did the audiobook version of my memoir, I kept getting emotional, mostly about what my mum has done for me. I could barely read about all the sacrifices she had made without crying. I wish I could go back in time and tell that eight-year-old version of myself to hug her a bit more. And to take more pictures. And to steal more props.