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


Oct 06, 2009

Posted by: SueTLC

Melling Interviews

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

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.”

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.”

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