Tom Felton Interview
Half-Blood Prince Set
Melissa Anelli / transcribed by Melissa Anelli
Listen to the whole interview here!
Q: You have a major role in this film.
TF: Yes, a bit more to sink the teeth into, that's for sure.
Q: Tell us about it, and taking on this central role.
TF: In the story Draco has more of a central plot as far as good and evil.I think for the last five years he's been very envious that Harry is the chosen one and I think he is given the opportunity to be the chosen one for the other guy, so I think at first he laps up the opportunity to do so.
Q: And then he discovers it's not all it's cracked up to be?
TF: Something like that, yeah. I think he discovers he has a few internal questions that hae difficulty being answered within him. He doesn't quite realize the severity of what he's about to get himself into nor the lack of confidence that he really has in what he's trying to achieve.
Q: After all these years and all these films, how does it feel for you to finally be taking center stage in a way?
TF: It's great to find out more about the character and to dive a bit deeper about why he is the way he is and to go into his relationship with his father a bit more because his father is not around him in this film. He feels slightly weaker without him definitely but he knows that he's the man of the Malfoy manor so he has to step up his game. It's a contradiction of two. He wants to step up and be the big shot but equally he knows deep down that he's not half the man that Harry is I'm sure.
TLC: There's a bit of an interaction with Snape as well. He has this very tricky role that no one knows if he's good or bad yet.
TF: That's right.
TLC: Are you guys playing at that?
TF: We haven't started that particular motion of the film yet, but David and I were hving quite a deep chat about relationships and where he stands with Snape.
TLC: Where do you think Draco stands with him?
TF: He's not keen on the idea that someone stands overlooking or wants to aid. He loves the idea of he was the chosen one, no one else, no one can help me. Leave it to me, I'll do it, I'll sort it out, which, inevitably doesn't end up i his favor. But I think when Snape interferes with his plans and tries to help even in a good way, he's very keen to say no thank you. Not in those words.
TLC: He even breaks off a bit from his cronies.
TF: Yeah. In previous years he never really had much going on in his day to day school life. Picking on the locals was his past time. I think now he's certainly deeper in mind state and the little trivial things that used to get him through the day don't tend to excite him the same way. He seems to be a lot more distant and wrapped in his own thoughts. As you would be, I suppose, if you'd been given this task.
Q: What did you find to be the most challenging thing for this particular production?
TF: So far, we've really only been through a cetain portion of it, so I'm sure the best is yet to come. So far, I don't nkow, like I say, I like the idea of this conflicting personality between the two. half of him is desperate to be the next chosen one and so forth while the other half is desperately upset that his father's not there, and he knows, deep down that it's not going to happen and that feeling slowly grows and grows towards the end in which it all goes bellies up. So far we've only touched on, I'd say, 20 percent of what's yet to come as far as Draco goes. I'm looking forward to getting more done.
Q: Is this the wardrobe you'll be wearing through most of the movie? (Indicating sharp black suit.)
TF: I think so, it's sort of an undertaker's... he's going for very matte black and smart. generally speaking yes. Obviously he has the school uniform for in-hours time, but believe it or not this is casual to Draco. I dread to think what he'd wear to a wedding or something.
Q: Do you think this reflects Draco more because now he feels he's more important?
TF: No doubt, he laps up the idea of wearing threads that are not available to everyone in the school and he certainly stands out like a sore thumb because of it. Yeah, it definitely gives him the sense of superiority. He laps it up.
Q: Obviously your character, he isn't that good, so when you see yourself on camera playing this character, do you think, oh my god he is so horrible!
TF: Not particularly. I have to admit in previous years he's always been a bit slimy rather than, he's not really horrible, just bratty and snobbish and various other words I can't use. In this film he's matured a lot, he'd like to think so anyway, and he has no interest anymore in calling Harry a whatever. He's trying to get this internal job done secretly, so I think it definitely has developed more.
TLC: He does take a real violent action toward him early on in the train.
TF: Yeah! That's was nice. [laughter] I've been waiting years to do that. No, it was very nice to do that and it was nice to have the upper hand even if it was only momentarily. It did feel good. It was very enjoyable. I think that goes back to his idea of being the chosen one. He likes the idea of putting one up on the actual chosen one. So that was a proud moment for Draco, definitely.
Q: Your character is constantly at odds with Harry, so what is your interaction like with Daniel?
TF: Young Daniel. We've obviously known each other for many years. It's quite strange because as much as we've grown up together we also haven't, because we have four or five months inbetween films and every time you come back, I assume we're both slightly maturer, slightly into different things and so forth. It's useful that we're both great cricket appreciators, so we can while away the hours talking about cricket. Which I'm sure doens't interest you at all but that generally is a topic of conversation between the two of us. And obviously we're both keen on films and music as well. I'm not sure we're quite into the same music but we both fashion it around music. I'd say we have enough in common to maintain a healthy friendship.
Q: As an actor you're in the peculiar position of playing a popular character but a character that is popular because everyone hates him.
TF: Yeah it's a funny one.
Q: Does that sort of rebound to you as a person, when you get recognized on the street, to people tend to confuse the characters with the actors?
TF: I have to admit I'm very lucky when I'm normally dressed I hope you take my word for it when I say I don't normally wander around the streets dressed as such. I try and go a bit more cas[usal]. Generally speaking I'm very lucky that I don't get pointed out or recognized in the street. I've had a few experiences with youngsters over the years. People that probably were slightly too young to understand the idea that I'm not who I am on the screen. So they can hide behind the parents' legs, that's a common one. It must be OK. If the kids are scared then you must be doing something right, can't be going too wrong.
Q: What do you have that you're looking forward to that you haven't filmed yet?
TF: Young Daniel and I have a nice battle in the toilets which I'm looking forward to. That sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it? [laughter] But I assure you it's all above board. So that will be fun to do a bit of action sequence so to speak, and of course the final scene with Albus on the astronomy tower, I'm thoroughly looking forward to that. I have read the scene over and over. I've got it in my head how it looks so I'm looking forward to seeing how it's produced.
TLC: What was your reaction to book seven
Q: I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. As soon as it was out I was desperate to find out what we were potentially working on for years to come. I was a late fan of the books. When they first went for auditions I wasn't that familiar with the work. Slowly but surely I've become a big fan of the stories more than anything else. So I thoroughly enjoyed the seventh one. I know some people have mixed reviews, but I thought the end scene, where there's a big battle in the school, I thought was perfect. Not how I envisioned it but how I would like it to end. A lot of deaths as well which was a bit of a shock but adds a nice sort of final, gives it, you can tell it's the last book by the way that everyone's sort of passing on really.
TLC: Well that scene in the Room of Requirement, if they do it -
TF: Yeah, it's going to be hectic. I'm looking forward to it.
Q: Did you skip to the end?
TF: No no no no no, I'm a patient man when it comes to those things. I knew this is the last book, once that was done there were no future adventures to go on, so I made sure that I took it relatively slowly. I managed to do about, a couple of chapters a week. I managed to pan it out over a month or two, unlike my friends who read it all in 48 hours and of course were desperate to tell you everything I'd managed to refrain from hearing.
Q: So what do you think of the fact that Rupert is the only one who flipped to the end?
TF: [shocked] Really? I thought higher of him! I really did! I'm going to bring this one up when I see him next time! Disappointed with the lad! [laughter] No, I'm sure he did it with good intentions.
TLC: Draco goes back and forth a lot in that book - he's very broken, and then he doesn't recognize Hermione on purpose, and then at the end he's a jerk again -
TF: Yeah it's a bit of a funny one isn't it? Yeah, yeah, a bit in the middle, I was thinking, is there something sort of boiling up inside? Then at the end he goes back to his old ways of, 'I'm not going to let you do what you want to do, Harry,' so I'm glad, I'm glad that there was that final, I'm glad we got a chance to get it out. Also there was that nice, I thought really nice, the last few words in the book, about Harry seeing his child off into the train, and seeing Draco put his child on the train. I thought that would be a brilliant final shot at the end of it all.
TLC: And his child's named Scorpius.
TF: Yeah [laughs]. What to say. That wasn't my choice. [laughs]
Q: If the epilogue is kept in is there someone you would like to see play the older you or would you try to play the older you?
TF: I don't know really, I hadn't really given it much thought .I'm sure they will attend to that when they come to it. I'll be happy to put on a few years if they can do it, certainly. But if not, Johnny Depp's always free. [laughter.] I'm getting ahead of myself. No, I haven't thought of it to be fair.
TLC: Do you think there's hope for Draco to become a better person?
TF: I really thought he was going to, to be honest with you. But no, generally I think it's really bedded down inside of him that he's just a slimy git, from birth.
Q: I was hoping in the seventh book, I suppose it would be too much for him not to save Harry, but -
TF: Well Harry saves him, doesn't he, twice. Yeah I thought there'd be a big, 'Thanks for everything, I'm sorry for being a jerk!' But whatever.
TLC: Ron does punch him in the face, so, that's fun.
TF: Yeah, yeah yeah.
Q: But Hermione punches him first.
TF: I know. He's a big punching bag, really.