Matthew Lewis has played one of our favourite characters for ten years as Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film series. It’s been a while since the series has ended and his evolution as a performer is undeniable. We caught up with Matthew on his upcoming projects, working opposite Alan Rickman and the awkwardness of becoming a teen heartthrob in this FAULT Magazine photo-shoot and interview.
Can you tell me a bit about your life after Harry Potter? How did your career play out after wrapping 10 years of wizarding?
I decided to do a play, for 192 times haha. When it came down to it, I didn’t really know what I was doing. It was such a different school of acting than what I was prepared for. Getting up on stage, everything has to be bigger. You can’t internalize, as much as you can on camera, it has to be all big for the audience to experience it. And I just didn’t get that and I think I was shouting for most of it. Someone described my voice as being ‘excruciating’ and I remember reading that review and going like ‘ohhh shiiiiit, 191 more shows to go’. And I think I just had to really knuckle down and watch the other actors and directors. Before the end of it, about 3-4 months into it, I just clicked. By the end of the run, the reviews were the complete opposite. I learned how to project my voice instead of just screaming at eye-level.
Did you find it difficult breaking the Harry Potter mold?
Not really. The first thing after Harry Potter, I played a guy who was not very nice. He wasn’t exactly a desirable character. And then I did a film where I was rough and ready; I was capable of throwing my muscle and weight around a little, completely unlike Neville. I don’t really get offered those types of roles anymore. The lovable, vulnerable, cheeky, Neville-type roles. They just never come up, it’s not like I’m getting them and turning them down. Maybe I’m just really good at being a dickhead haha. Neville was quite complex in his character, with his history and things like that, but I am more drawn towards characters that are shades of grey. I don’t like the idea of black and white. I’m drawn to characters that make me question things. What made him this way? Why does he want this? Why is he behaving in this manner? That’s what I find interesting. And you can only get that from complex interesting characters.
Alan Rickman must have been a pillar for both yourself and your career. How did you react when the news came through of his passing?
I was at Leavesden Studios the other day, visiting the set of Fantastic Beasts and I was with the producer who did all the Harry Potter films. He was taking me around the studio when the news came through. We were both just completely stunned. But also, to be in the studio when that came through, suddenly every room that I went into, every corridor that I walked down on, I suddenly remembered a story or an image of Alan. It got a bit odd. It was quite surreal. But also, powerfully moving as well. It was quite nice to be there. All those happy memories came flooding back and I got quite nostalgic actually. I went back home last night and just watched loads of interviews with him. It’s hard to describe. On his last day, I had a cup of tea with him in his trailer and we just sat and chatted about the future of my career and what I should do. He just offered me advice in where I should go and he said some things to me that filled me with a lot of confidence. And when you hear those sorts of things from someone of his stature, his ability, it means a lot
What do you make of people calling you a sex symbol now?
Oh come on, that’s just a lot of make-up and good lighting. I’m not a sex symbol, Jesus, no.
No, come on, no, oh God.
I’ve completely embarrassed you at this point.
Yeah! Cause I can never see myself as that. When I grew up, my sister was obsessed with Take That. So people like Gary Barlow or Robbie Williams, they were like sex symbols. David Beckham and you’ve got your Ryan Goslings. They’re the heartthrobs. I’m not; I’m just a weird looking bloke from Leeds who keeps getting jobs on telly for some reason.
What’s your FAULT?
I’m very stubborn. To the point of almost childish immaturities. On the flipside, I do stick to my guns.