Harry Melling Talks About Playing Poe
Harry Melling, who plays Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films, has been interviewed by the Independent, British GQ, and Good Morning America in regard to his latest film, The Pale Blue Eye, as well as his thoughts on method acting and The Queen’s Gambit.
Melling described his experience working with Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) on The Pale Blue Eye, saying that Bale was “one of the most generous performers [he’s] ever worked with.” He also shared his thoughts on method acting, saying “each to their own“ when asked how he feels about it and further explaining, “I completely understand why you put yourself through a particular situation to get to where you need to be when someone shouts ‘Action’.”
We’d turn up, not really talk about the scene, and just start playing it. There was no staying in character, but I guess you’re always held within some form of character just because you’re wearing the clothes and you’re in that environment as that person. I think method acting sometimes gets a branding that’s unhelpful.
Melling also spoke about his weight loss and how the media covered it at the time.
When you’re 10 years old and you play a role like that, people are going to think of you as that thing and are going to want to hold on to that thing.
In his interview with British GQ, Melling spoke in even more detail about The Pale Blue Eye. He described filming in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, last year:
It was really, really freezing. In a weird way, I kind of enjoyed it. You get a sense of what these people had been through back in the 1830s.
He continued on The Pale Blue Eye, describing how filming during COVID meant that he and his costars weren’t able to spend much time together outside of filming and how “there was a constant fear to stay healthy.” He also shared why he took the role of Poe in the first place, calling it “an incredible opportunity to play someone so multifaceted and complicated and contradictory,” and that he did “a tonne of research” before filming. Lastly, he spoke about filming the Harry Potter series, explaining, “I’d film it for two months in a very compact block and then just go back to my normal life,” as well as describing how he told his friend about his role in The Queen’s Gambit.
I remember telling a friend: I’m doing this thing about chess. I think the writing is really good. The director is really good. And it’s really special and the cast is amazing, but it is about chess.
On Good Morning America, Melling shared his hopes that The Pale Blue Eye will be seen as a whodunit thriller. However, the story goes further than that, with “a father and son relationship between Lander and Poe”, both of whom Melling described as “misfits in their own right.”
He also spoke more about the filming conditions in Pittsburgh, explaining that the costumes were so detailed and historically accurate that there was no special heat technology used to keep the actors warm in the cold conditions. Lastly, he shared his thoughts during one of the scenes:
I remember thinking, ‘Playing drunk is sometimes quite hard.’ You don’t want to overdo it.
You can watch the whole interview below.
Which of Melling’s interview answers intrigued you the most? Let us know in the comments below.