Monday, July 18, 2011

INTERVIEW: MATTHEW LEWIS ON "HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2"


Matthew Lewis in Toronto - July 2011
"I'm not much of a Coffee drinker", he answers when probed about the truest test of Canadian Patriotism that is whether or not he has tried Tim Horton's Coffee. Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis' moment finally has arrived and Toronto was lucky enough to spend some time with the emerging talent.  The Leeds native is known best for his work in the $6,343,865,842 (to be exact) worldwide grossing franchise as a bumbling and underachieving Neville Longbottom.  It all ends in the final installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but for Lewis this just might be the start.

Dressed simply in a Penguin Polo shirt, a Fred Perry Cardigan and Jeans, my initial impression of the 22 year-old is that he is an even mix of awkward, shy and poised.  He completely is unaware of his status as a Sex Symbol to those Fans who like him have grown into Adults this past decade seeing him on-screen with artificial mangled teeth and protruding ears. When the topic of him being a Breakout Star and the Fan-imposed label of "stud" were brought-up by one Journalist, the fair-skinned Actor became two shades of uneasy, blushing visibly to the eye.  "That makes me uncomfortable actually", he giggles.

Lewis looks back at the past ten years as a labour of love, confessing "I didn't go through the emotions that some of the others went through during filming. I didn't cry.". He does admit though, "It actually wasn't until the London Premiere (held last week in Trafalgar Square), that I realized this would be the last time. We have the best Fans in the World and I will miss presenting these Films to them.". And loyal these Fans have been to the Franchise - thousands upon thousands queued at the London landmark, some camping out three days to get close to the Cast. Although not quite as feverish, Toronto Fans likewise are excited, with Neville Longbottom and Matthew Lewis both trending on Twitter prior to his arrival in the City.

The greatest lesson which Lewis has learned from his Harry Potter experience is having absorbed from his fellow Cast, their lack of ego and ability to remain grounded. "They were lovely and easy to work with.", he says. "Through them I learned to be able to fail.".

Staring at the table frequently, although still v. much present and personable, Lewis has nothing but the highest regard for Co-star Alan Rickman, who plays the role of Severus Snape. "On the last day of filming I gathered the courage to knock on his Trailer door and tell him personally what a Hero he has been to me.". Surprisingly, Rickman invited him in and they had a good long chat. It turns out that on the advice of Rickman, Lewis had decided to continue with Theatre after filming had concluded.

Other than being under pressure to perform his best in as few takes as possible, a style which Director David Yates insists upon, the most daunting task Lewis reveals is working together with terrifying Villain Lord Voldemort himself, Ralph Fiennes. "He would stare at me during rehearsals and not take his eyes off me. It was as if he was staring into my soul. I'm not sure if it was Method Acting or not, but he is brilliant!".

I questioned Lewis on the decision to release this eighth and final installment in 3-D, and he tells me "I've learned over the years to trust David Yates, David Heyman and Lionel Wigram implicitly. I had my hesitations about the 3-D thing initially, but after finally seeing it for the first time last week in London, I forgot I was even wearing those glasses after the first scene.". "The Snake, Dragon and Fire scenes in particular looked fantastic. I was impressed!", he says with genuine amazement.

Those who will have the pleasure of seeing the Film will understand the importance of the oft-overlooked Neville Longbottom.  Although not particularly a physically taxing role, Lewis does reveal that he and his fellow Actors for the past two years had undergone some training with a Stunt Team which included Kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts and Circuit Training. Also having never picked-up a sword in his life, he underwent Sword Training for this Finale which perhaps will have many seeing him as the Unsung Hero of Harry Potter.  A metaphor of Hope who we underestimated all along?

I'd tell you more, but you'll  just have to see it for yourself when Warner Bros. releases Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on July 15, 2011.

Upon posing for a Photograph following the Interview, Lewis tells me to study the Poster carefully, pointing to the left.  Looking back at him baffled, he tells me "Look!  There's two of me there!  You must take a Picture of me beside this!".

Stay tuned on how you can win an official Harry Potter Prize Pack including a T-Shirt, Magnet and Keychain!


(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)

2 comments:

  1. When Matthew Lewis auditioned for a role in the first film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, he already had half a dozen film and TV credits to his name. But since 2001, he’s mostly been visible as Neville Longbottom, the Potter series’ chubby, hapless kid turned sword-wielding hero


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