Not Just the Big D: Harry Melling Talks Life after Dudley and Harry Potter

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Oct 06, 2009

Posted by SueTLC

There is a new and rare interview online today in the Telegraph with actor Harry Melling better known to readers as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films. The young actor, who is currently appearing on stage in London with Fiona Shaw (who plays his mother, Harry’s Aunt Petunia in the Potter films) discusses his career, life on the Potter films and his hopes for the future. The piece mentions the now 20 year old has lost some weight recently and looks nothing like Big D in the series. “Dudley doesn’t feature in the sixth Potter film, so there was a long
gap between playing the butterball bully in the fifth, aged 16, and
shooting the seventh film, this year. In the meantime, he had changed
almost beyond recognition, to the producers’ alarm. “They did this
double-take, ‘Oh my God, we are going to have to do something,’ and I
felt very guilty. They could have recast, but instead they padded me
out.”

We also learn more about the acting family that Harry belongs too, as well as his interaction with cast members on the Harry Potter films:

This focus on his career is, no doubt, the result of coming from a
family riddled with actors. His grandfather, Patrick Troughton, was,
for many, the greatest Dr Who. His uncles, Michael and David Troughton,
and his cousin Sam, are all actors. His illustrator mother, Joanna
Troughton, was keen to give Harry a chance, too. “She sent off my
photos to the producers of the Potter films when I was 10, thinking I
might be an extra. A year later I was asked to read for Dudley. When I
got the part, I thought: ‘Ooh, I’m in a film’, not that I was cast as
fat and ugly.’”

Wasn’t being associated with the hateful Dudley a curse? “I kept quiet about it. Nobody ever recognised me.”

He
minded more about not being one of the Hogwarts’ children. When people
asked him about the films, and what Michael Gambon or Julie Walters
were like, he would have to say, “Dunno, I’ve never met them.” But,
stuck in Privet Drive, he did get to work with Richard Griffiths and
Fiona Shaw, who play Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, Dudley’s parents.
“Just watching them was an education. Fiona taught me a Caliban speech,
which I later used to get into drama school.”

“I always thought he would be a marvellous character actor,” Shaw
says, “but he’s turned into a marvellous leading actor. Suddenly I feel
I’m looking at Hamlet.” Compared to Daniel Radcliffe, whom he
once envied, Melling now realises that he was lucky not to be one of
the Hogwarts’ leads. His career got off to an early start, but without
the irksome trappings of fame, or the danger of being typecast. “I can
now shed the child-actor thing, like the fat, and start a new career,
because no one sees me as Dudley.”





118 Responses to Not Just the Big D: Harry Melling Talks Life after Dudley and Harry Potter

Avatar ImageJane_Potter says: He felt guilty because he lost weight lol!!!Avatar ImageLuce_depp says: what a great guy. That picture in the top corner made me do a double take. It's just like with Matt Lewis, they make him look horrible in the films and they both look brilliant on thier own.Avatar ImageAtticus says: Haha! I had no idea he was related to Patrick Troughton, who was one of the best Doctors of all time. I hope to see Harry go far, I always felt sorry for him having to play Dudley, who is, or was, one of the most dislikable characters.Avatar Imagesimos says: Nice interview!Avatar Imageginevrapotter07 says: My jaw dropped when I saw Harry M.'s pic. It was like 'oh my god, he's so thin...' and he felt guilty because he's finally lost weight, hahahaha. Avatar ImageSigourney1990 says: brilliant :) it's nice to hear what Harry's been doing and a bit more about him because the focus is usually on the Hogwarts kids - Dan, Rupert, Emma, Tom, Evanna & Matt. i can't believe that picture of him, he looks so good! anyone else in love with that curly hair? ;)Avatar Imageginevrapotter07 says: Yeah, he does look like Matt Lewis w/ long hair, doesn't he? Wooow, that's a really nice interview. I just realized, he wasn't in the 6th film!!!!!!Avatar ImageHBPFan says: Aww, he sounds so nice!! So does Fiona actually :DAvatar ImageGF_of_Seamus says: He looks great, he sounds like he has a had a lot of fun with this experience. I hope he does some more films very very soon!Avatar Imageflowerchild says: nice interview :) Avatar ImageMarron says: My first post ever. I love Dudley. Avatar Imagelilyluna says: I absolutely agree wif Harry. He is actually luckier compare wif Dan who always gains the attention. Avatar Imagejenge says: Wow, I really didn't recognize him from the picture!Avatar ImageRossonera says: Nice interview! I didn't recognize him when I look the picture! Looks completely different. Avatar ImageGraymayne says: Interesting point of view! Let us hope that he doesn't spend too much time "resting". A large nest egg, I am sure, can be a big comfort.Avatar ImageMatea says: lol,he sure did lost his weight. I am very pleased with him as Dudley. Can't wait to see him in 7.Avatar ImageJessSnape says: wow! love that he has taken this experience and run with it (you always wonder about how child actors are going to be treated when they play a character like Dudley)Avatar Imagebettb says: He's grown up amazingly! Would love to see him in something else; not only was he not among the Hogwarts kids, but Dudley rarely has more than 2 or 3 lines per film, when he's even in them. The "you're not a waste of space" scene in DH should be quite moving.Avatar ImageFigment says: He has changed so much, he looks great though and I hope he has a great career after the Harry Potter films are over.Avatar Imagebudb says: Cool G, going by the comments in this thread, I wonder if you and I are among the last of the book fans left? Folks, go back and re-read the first chapter of OotP!!! Dudley slimmed down, muscled up, got into boxing, remember? and in DH, he's trying to take his weights with him....the slimmed down HM actually works very well with the story, so its a decision in the film studio that Dudley needs to remain 'pudgy' Interesting the continuing dynastic patterns of the UK cultural world --similar to the French, obviously, and increasingly the same patterns are evident in the US (to my disgust). As much as I enjoyed Patrick Troughton, I must disagree and say he wasn't the greatest doctor. Tom Baker was "my doctor". My wife, a very late comer to Dr. Who, prefers David Tennant (smile, we all have our own doctors, don't we?) Eagerly awaiting the next round of Torchwood...and of course Sarah Jane, and then the arrival of the next Doctor..... and, why, in about 13 months we get DH 1!!!!Avatar Imagesairah says: GAH! movies I meant I missed them the last couple of MOVIES!Avatar ImageSmitch says: It's great to see that this young guy has taken control over his life, and his career. Even though I am not yet a mother, I can empathize with the journalist when she notes that she always found it hard to laugh at Dudley Dursley in the films. You can't help but worry about a child who is overweight - just for their happiness and health. But, everyone in life has their struggles and it makes us stronger, better people for facing and overcoming them. Avatar Imagejain says: last couple of movies? So, wasn't that Dudley who Harry rescued from the dementers in film 5? They were not present in films4 and 6. What i love about ALL the hp kids is they,ve all grown up with their feet on the ground.Avatar Imagemaimiaa says: whoa haha i did a double take on that corner picture and was all "whoaaa" haha awesome interview.Avatar Imagemyecotopia says: Omg! I know, I was like,...wait, that's Dudley?! But,...he's good looking! LOL! I guess that you could say that he's thinned down, but his character does in the 5th book, perhaps he does start to look like that? Could you imagine if Dudley Dursley looked like that at the 7th book time when his personality changed too...he'd be like a chick magnet...lol!Avatar Imagelevi-OH-sa not levio-SA says: lol i can imagine everyone's reaction, not recognizing him! glad to see he is continuing his career! you know, i guess i never thought about it the way he mentioned...he was in harry potter movies but didn't get to enjoy everything about them, no hogwarts...that must have sucked when he was little Avatar ImageHorcruxalej says: well hes not suppose to be fat in the last book he is suppose to be more of a boxer build and boxers are not fat it muscle.. Avatar ImageBlatcher914 says: Way to go, it's so great hearing from all these fantastic HP actors, just proof once more that HP actors are the best.Avatar ImageScottMan says: Oh wow, Doctor Who's grandson. How awesome! Even more awesome to hear about him working with fellow Potter actors. I love that, movies like Driving Lessons or plays such as Equus and...whatever Fiona Shaw and Harry Melling are doing. Such a feeling of commraderie, though I'm sure they all want to forge new lives for themselves too.Avatar ImageMariaKeis says: Actually, I'm glad we still have Harry as Dudly .. No recast !Avatar Imagealicia00 says: thats niceAvatar ImageHagrid 713 says: Good for you Big D....err, Harry!!Avatar ImageRavenclaw98 says: To me he will always be seen as Dudley how he did a wonderful job acting. Man he looks good!Avatar Imagemagicmaniac says: sorry wrong *wait.*Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: he looks a lot different! good interview!!! :)Avatar Imagehumbert0 says: Go Big D!!! xDAvatar ImageBrosia23 says: He is actually rather handsome now. Good job loosing the weight!Avatar ImageBrosia23 says: He looks so great!Avatar ImageBrosia23 says: Hope to see him again soon! Avatar ImageBrosia23 says: Wonder how good his next project will be?Avatar ImageRubyHagrid says: I barely recognized him!!!! Good for him =)Avatar ImageCatherine says: thats such a nice interview from him! we dont hear from him often! i didnt even recagnoize him in the pic i thought he was Mat lewis with long hair!!! i its funny how he felt guilty about losing weight!Avatar ImageMariaKeis says: Finally we hear from him, and then he's guilty of losing weight? LOL .. Hahahaha .. Avatar ImageScarStruck says: aw. i love him. :-)Avatar ImageWant to be a Weasley says: If I had been shown that picture and asked which "Harry Potter" star it was, I would have had no idea! Great article, thanks!!Avatar Imagepfowlerp says: Great interview! I almost didn't recagnoize him in the picture. It's funny he felt guilty for losing weight, I'm glad they kept Harry & didn't recast for Dudley.Avatar Imagebecmajec says: it's nice to hear from him and his perspective not being one of the hogwarts kids, i wonder how his career will differ from theirs in the long run?Avatar Imagemadman1277 says: LolAvatar Imagemadman1277 says: Ya, i wonder toAvatar ImageInkBlood says: I always feel kind of sorry for the actors who get cast for seemingly unpleasant attributes because there's always so much more to them than that. It's so great that the character of Dudley didn't "frame him for life" to be typecast as a stupid, snobbish bully--he's actually at liberty to move on with the experience, but not the character profile, which is fantastic.Avatar ImageCool Grandma2 says: Good interview. Hmm seems like they are going to make him still fat for the last films. The book said he was big not fat for DH. He did seem to mature a little in the last book. At least he was worried about Harry. That's an improvement.Avatar ImageNicci Weasley says: I actually recognize him in this picture... I didn't the last time we saw him in the movies...Avatar ImageLinnyish says: Aw awesome. I'm glad that he's found his place in the world, it must have really sucked to be stuck in Privet Drive. If I was him I would have asked to be an extra in the Hogwarts scenes :PAvatar ImageHermione Elizabeth says: Great interview! I'm so glad that he is continuing with his acting. I was shocked when I saw the pic of him though... he looks so different now that he lost all the wieght. He looks different, but great! :)Avatar ImageMoose_Starr says: He seems such a great guy. A few years ago I saw an interview with him and he seemed to be one smart down to earth guy. I had no idea that he's Patrick Troughton's grandson, how cool is that.Avatar Imagesairah says: wow! he's alot thinner than I thought Im so happy to hear from him. I really did miss the Dursley's the last couple of books!Avatar Imagesairah says: Gah! movies! I meant that I missed the Dursley's the last couple of MOVIES!Avatar Imagenox avis says: wow he looks sooo different. i wonder how the character dudley will look like lol Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: Troughton was and is my favorite Dr.... I had no idea he was related...Avatar Imagemoony_lupin says: Great to hear from him! I had no idea Harry was part of the Troughton dynasty either. I expect he will go on to do great things in the acting world. Good luck to him! Avatar Imageele0206 says: OMG he looks wonderful! It's always stunning when u realize how much some people change through the years. He's certainly changed a lot... love the pic go Harry!!Avatar Imagewrightrox says: i am happy for him, he seems like a nice person and fiona shaw truly believes in him, which, had to be quite nice for him...i am so happy he'll be in DH, if they follow true to the book it will be very sentimental, which will be a nice finishing touch to the Dudley character, and a nice send off to Harry Melling, as himself !!Avatar Imagesunlitdays says: i never thought id live to see the day when i thought dudley was hot....Avatar Imagewandmastercalum says: Wow he is so skinny! Avatar ImageDoVe_PaTrOnUs says: oohh, they didn't really have to pad him. i mean, neville's face is supposed to be round, but it's obviously not since matt lewis grew up and lost weight, too. and dudley was supposed to have changed since the dementor attack, i think it's likely that he could have lost some weight afterwardsAvatar ImageEeyore says: Wow, that's quite a change. I'm very impressed by him, that it was his decision to lose the weight, and that he did it by eating better and not by going on some weird diet. It's a very bittersweet article about his reaction to playing Dudley and not getting to be at Hogwarts with the rest of the kids. I'm glad he is turning all that into something positive to further his career. He's a very impressive young man.Avatar Imagepotterforpresident says: He seems really nice and certainly not like Dudley. :)Avatar ImageRodiniusBlack says: I thought that was Matt! He is so cute, i never would of guessed it was little duddlesAvatar ImageMiliMalfoy says: aww i'm so glad he didn't get recast! it would have been so odd. plus now i think he will be a better dudley because dudley is nice in DHAvatar ImageMariaKeis says: Actually, I'm glad we still have Harry as Dudly .. No recast !Avatar Imagezoltan42 says: I never knew his grandfather was Patrick Troughton from Dr. Who & the Omen. Cool.Avatar ImageFifi says: I can barely spot the outline of his face as it was in Movie 5! He really did get a lot thinner.Avatar ImageWingardium Leviosa says: He seems really nice! :-) I like that he's glad he isn't in the spotlight. I hope this means the Dursleys will be in the 7th film, as Dudley has a nicer part.Avatar Imagemjkalldaway says: Wow! think about in SS movie when he played Dudley. He looks completely differentAvatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: It is wonderful that he is extending himself beyond Potter. I look forward to the future projects to which he will contribute.Avatar Imagealegria35 says: Wow.. Harry Melling looks good!... They will beef him up to become big D!.. cool!Avatar Imagemagicmaniac says: He's guilty he lost wait!He should be proud!Avatar Imagegryffindor1991 says: he still plays dudley pretty well. dudley is a spoiled a-hole and he does it great.Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: good interview! Avatar ImageBrosia23 says: He looks good now that he lost all that weight.Avatar ImageBrosia23 says: Hope to see him soon!Avatar ImageTheGriff says: Wow he was related to Dr Who, haha. I'm excited to see where hes gonna go, and what he's going to do in the future. He looks really good lately, glad hes back in the 7th film :DAvatar Imagebadger666 says: Nice interview. I wish him the best of luck. And he does do a great job as Dudley.Avatar ImageScribbled says: He sounds awesome, and way to be positive on being cast as such a dreadful character as Dudders! I hope he is really successful with his career. And he's pretty cute now, too... Avatar Imagewatchmen_roadkiller says: o my lord, i never realized how awesomely hot he is! i just wanna hug him or something! lol <3Avatar ImageC_B_Mia says: He seems pretty nice. i think they should have incorporated the dursleys more into the moviesAvatar Imagebookishgal says: It's refreshing to hear from the 'other' Harry.Avatar Imagewhitehorse says: wow it must be weird filming Harry potter when your character is not harry but your name is!!!! Avatar Imagewhitehorse says: wow it must be weird filming Harry potter when your character is not harry but your name is!!!! Avatar ImageGenine_Malfoy says: It's nice to read about interviews with minor characters. I hope his career takes off.Avatar Imageharrypotter1991 says: I'm happy for him that he lost weight, and it wouldn't be the same if they recast his character. I'm glad to see that they are going to include the Dursley's in DH, for awhile there I thought that they weren't going to sign back on as the Dursley's. I knew they had to include them in DH seeing as it is the last film, they need to include everything!Avatar Imageharrypotter1991 says: I'm happy for him that he lost weight, and it wouldn't be the same if they recast his character. I'm glad to see that they are going to include the Dursley's in DH, for awhile there I thought that they weren't going to sign back on as the Dursley's. I knew they had to include them in DH seeing as it is the last film, they need to include everything!Avatar Imagefaerenach says: Heavens me, that boy is handsome. I feel like I'm looking at Hamlet too! Can't wait to see what's in store!Avatar ImagevampressISap0tter says: ZOMG. i thought it was matt lewis..i was shocked it was the guy who played dudley. he is thinner. :) not so big D anymore. i remember him in the first movie. '36? but last year i had 37!'Avatar ImageDelilah3136 says: Doesn't he kind of look like Josh Peck now?? idk, mabye it's just me. :]Avatar ImageIloveDobby says: WOW He looks so differentAvatar Imagewhitehorse says: wow it must be weird filming Harry potter when your character is not harry but your name is!!!! Avatar ImageKC Nox says: Harry seems very happy, I must admit I always felt sorry for him being cast as the fat jerk! Seems not to have bothered him at all!!Avatar ImageProfKnight says: Big D has lost alot of weightAvatar ImageGryffindor Cutie says: "They did this double-take, 'Oh my God, we are going to have to do something,' and I felt very guilty. They could have recast, but instead they padded me out." Now that's what I love, how they work to keep the same actors! He looks fantastic! I didn't even recongnize him. I can't wait to see how he will look in DH.Avatar Imagehp931 says: Ah that's great!Avatar ImageNot Slytherin says: Wow -- that's so interesting. I'm sure it must have been hard not to have been cast at Hogwarts (like how Petunia felt when she was a young girl!) -- but it sounds like he has a really good head on his shoulders, and I'm very impressed by him. (And about the weight ... of course the producers would pad him -- the fans would be outraged if he were fired for being a healthy weight! It just wouldn't be the same with a new Duddykins.)Avatar Imageteleaht says: I am really glad that he is getting some recognition! Harry has done great work as Dudley, very believable but underrated I feel. Now as an adult he will get more of a chance to show what he can do - brilliant!Avatar Imagewing says: hahahahahahaAvatar Imagewing says: hahahahahahaAvatar Imagewing says: hahahahahahaAvatar Imagewing says: hahahahahahaAvatar Imagewing says: hahahahahahaAvatar Imageantoinette.f.brown says: omg, he looks so different. I'm glad they're bringing the Dursleys back into it (they should have been in the sixth!). it wouldn't be a good ending without themAvatar Imagehprocks2700 says: He lost a lot of weight.Avatar Imageccking says: he never looked like Dudley to me, but he's grown out of it waay too much!!Avatar Imageccking says: he never looked like Dudley to me, but he's grown out of it waay too much!!Avatar Imageccking says: he never looked like Dudley to me, but he's grown out of it waay too much!!Avatar Imageccking says: he never looked like Dudley to me, but he's grown out of it waay too much!!Avatar Imageccking says: he never looked like Dudley to me, but he's grown out of it waay too much!!Avatar Imageccking says: he never looked like Dudley to me, but he's grown out of it waay too much!!

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