On February 1st 2009, Ice Cream Man was given the chance to participate in an on-line chat with Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies). The interview was organised by our affiliate CastleWhiteFang, in honour of their first anniversary.
Matthew Lewis chatted to us for more than 90 minutes, and words cannot describe what a lovely and funny guy he is! He gave us some amazing first-hand insight into the life on set of the Harry Potter movies, including a lot of funny (and sometimes embarrassing) details! He also talked about hanging out with the rest of the cast when they’re not filming, about his future career plans, and many other things.
The full transcript of the interview is available below.
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CWF Headmaster Harry Shires: Ladies and gentleman, I am very proud to welcome MATTHEW LEWIS to Castle Whitefang!
Matthew Lewis: Hello everybody!
Harry: So, we are going to get straight on with the Interview!
Question 1 (on behalf of the Unforgettable: The Magical Photos website):
Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years?
Matt: Well, this is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. The Harry Potter films are coming to an end relatively soon and acting is all I’ve ever known and wanted to do. I have no idea where I’m going to be exactly in the coming years but hopefully I’ll still be a jobbing actor, entertaining as best I can, whether it’s in film or TV!
Question 2 (asked by Kate Estiller):
If you weren’t Neville in Harry Potter, what fandom would you prefer or what character would you be?
Matt: I love this question! I’m such a geek when it comes to this kind of stuff – and being a geek is cool nowadays, we run everything! I’d love to have been in Star Wars as Luke Skywalker or any of the Jedis OR I’d have been Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he was the best character for me!
Question 3 (asked by Katie Hill):
Does it ever feel strange if people come up to you asking for autographs and pictures?
Matt: Yes, it really does. You get used to it a little bit but sometimes you still have to take a step back and ask yourself “why?” It’s really an honour for me because I’d acted since I was 5 and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do but I never really thought I would get this far and so for people to want my autograph it gives me a great sense of achievement. I’ve just got back from L.A. and I was bowling in Hollywood and the guy at the counter said “you’re Matthew Lewis aren’t you?” and I was so confused because we were so far away from home. Nothing really prepares you for that!
Question 4 (on behalf of the Matthew Lewis Lovers fansite):
What scene are you most looking forward to filming for Deathly Hallows?
Matt: Deathly Hallows is going to be so much fun to shoot. I don’t have a script yet so I can’t be exactly sure how everything is going to work out. However, I think my answer will be a bit predictable! The scene I’m looking forward to the most is when Neville swings the sword and kills Nagini. That is going to be intense! In fact, the whole final battle sequence is going to be amazing. Still can’t believe they’re going to trust me with a sword though!
Question 5 (on behalf of Halie Gawley):
What was your reaction to finding out that you were going to be in Harry Potter?
Matt: Well, my reaction to getting a 2nd audition was pretty wild but when I was told I’d got the part, it was something else! I was just a kid. I remember, I was 11 years old and my Mum got a phone call, she was busy talking so she just gave me the thumbs up and I knew instantly what she meant. I went crazy, I ran into the living room where my friend and I were playing Playstation and we just jumped around on the sofas and shouted a lot. I think Tom Cruise tried doing that recently on TV – it doesn’t go down as well when you’re older unfortunately!!
Question 6 (asked by Sahoonie Puppie):
People obviously know you when you walk down the street but have you ever wished that you could be invisible / left in peace, even if just for a day?
Matt: Interesting. I’ve thought about being invisible before but not for peace and quiet, more for mischief! I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be left in peace by fans. It can be embarrassing sometimes when I’m with my friends because they LOVE to make jokes about it but you know, I really love meeting the fans that watch our movies. I like to think people feel comfortable coming over and talking to me because at the end of the day, we make the films for the fans, and without them there would never be a picture. We work for you guys! It’s nice to hear feedback from you!
Question 7 (on behalf of the Luna Fans website):
Everyone from David Yates to JK Rowling see Evanna as Luna. Personally, how similar is Evanna to Luna according to you?
Matt: Haha. Well, when I first met Evanna I thought it was the most perfect casting I had ever witnessed. She was just Luna Lovegood in every way. However, she has changed so much in the last few years. I’ve seen her mature and change a lot as a person yet when she’s on screen she is always able to capture Luna Lovegood perfectly. I think to say that she IS Luna Lovegood would detract from her talent slightly – she really is a great actress.
Question 8 (asked by Thomas Marsh):
Is it hard to play a part in Harry Potter?
Matt: Thanks for the question, Thomas! Acting can be difficult. I stay in a hotel for a long time, away from home and my family and friends for a large part of the year. However, it’s a job I’ve always wanted to do and I don’t know many people that go to work every day and can honestly say that they enjoy it but I know that I do! It’s sometimes long days and can be frustrating when you don’t get things quite right but that’s the same with every job. I have the added perks of working with some fantastic, amazingly talented people, I get to work in mind-blowing environments, and at the end of it all I get to look back on something so memorable and unforgettable! It can be hard at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Question 9 (asked by Kast Phoenix):
What was your experience of wand-combat training like?
Matt: Interesting. Very interesting. Haha. We had a choreographer called Paul Harris who came in to teach us. He devised all these routines for different spells and we had to go and practice them in a big tent. I think there was Dan, Rupert, Emma, Bonnie, Evanna and myself. I felt ridiculous waving the wand around and shouting spells because we weren’t acting, so I wasn’t Neville – I was just Matthew, looking like an idiot! We all had a laugh though, and we got into it, and by the end I think we all enjoyed ourselves. That was until I apparently did one of the routines perfectly and Paul made me stand in front of everyone and show them how to do it – that was embarrassing let me tell you!
Question 10 (on behalf of the Muggles Behaving Badly Website):
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on set?
Matt: There has been so many funny days on set, where we can’t stop laughing. Everyone at the studio likes pranks and making jokes. You wouldn’t think it was a serious Hollywood film if you came to visit, we laugh and joke so much! I remember one time on Prisoner of Azkaban when we were in the Great Hall. We were all supposed to be asleep whilst Dumbledore and Snape watched over us. Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon were both in character, doing their lines and then suddenly somebody farts! At first, everyone is being professional and nobody laughs. Then it happens again. A few ripples of laughter breakout. It happens again. And again. And again. By this point the whole room is laughing. Alan and Michael were still trying to do the scene but eventually even they had to stop. Turns out someone had hidden a fart machine in one of the sleeping bags and Alfonso Cuaron (the Director!) had the remote control and was in hysterics behind the monitors. That was pretty funny!
Question 11 (asked by Cine Cauldron Crisp):
In the Deathly Hallows book, your character has a pivotal role of killing the final crucifix in the snake Nagini. How does it feel to play a character that is so pivotal to many of the main plot lines?
Matt: It gives me a great sense of responsibility. I know what the books meant to me when I read them and I imagine the films can mean the same to people and so it’s very important to get it right. Playing a character that has such a crucial role in how the story develops is inspiring and I’m very excited about it – I just have to make sure I don’t mess it up!
Question 12 (asked by Tiffani Yager):
Do you hang out with any of the cast when your not taping for Harry Potter?
Matt: We film at Leavesden Studios which is in Watford and most of the cast live in London which is roughly 20-30 miles away from the studios I think. However, I live in Leeds which is about 170 miles away from the studio. As you can imagine, when I was younger, this made it difficult to see the others when we weren’t filming. Now it’s much easier. I can drive to their houses whenever I want, it’s still pretty far for me to go but it’s always fun when I do. I went to see Oasis in October with James and Oliver Phelps. I’ve stayed at Emma Watson’s house in Oxford and there’s always someone’s birthday party that I try and get down for!
Question 13 (on behalf of the website Ron and Hermione Source):
If you have read the last Harry Potter book, are you excited to play any of the Kick-Butt Neville moments? If so, what was your favorite Neville moment in book 7?
Matt: Yeah, I’m sorry, I’m going to be predictable again! It’s got to be the sword swinging, snake killing bit I’m looking forard to most. I guess that’s pretty “Kick-Butt”. I’m really excited about it. I got a taste for the action side of things in Order of the Phoenix and I can’t wait to do some more!
Question 14 (asked by Bob Smith):
Do you intend to act on a long-term basis after the Harry Potter series is completed?
Matt: I really hope so. Acting is an industry where nothing is certain. I have no idea what I’m going to be doing or where I’m going to be in 5 years time. All I know right now is that it’s what I want to do. I think I’m just going to give it my best and have a real go. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out! We’ll see.
Question 15 (asked by Shaiz Khn):
Have you ever visited any of your fansites online? How did it feel to see yourself so magnified?
Matt: Haha. It’s strange! I don’t know how to describe it really. It’s quite overwhelming I guess. I mean, I went to a normal school in Leeds, there was nothing extraordinary about it and my closest friends are normal people, students at university mostly. I don’t see myself as a big actor in movies and stuff, I try and keep everything as normal as possible, haha. So, when I see these websites, it’s really shocking – and I mean that in a good way! It makes me really proud and I suppose this would be a good time to thank all the people that put the time and effort in and have supported me in that way. It’s really fantastic and I’ll try and do my best to repay the favour by keeping you entertained and I’ll try and do a good job!
Question 16 (asked by Rilian Holden on behalf of the website Books and Wands):
Who are the people that have influenced you most?
Matt: I have a ton of influences. I suppose my brothers, Anthony and Chris would be up there. Anthony was an actor before me and it was visiting him working that gave me the idea to become one myself. Chris works in the industry also, but behind the camera! My parents gave me values and brought me up in such a way that I don’t think I could thank them enough for. All my friends at school that were there before Harry Potter and are still there today. The cast and crew at Harry Potter. Starting acting at such a young age, I was very impressionable. I can’t attribute what I’ve grown into to any one person. So many people have influenced me. I started a band last year so even Noel Gallagher is in there somewhere and I’ve never met him!!
Not quite finished!
The qualities I admire the most about the people I mentioned is the reason they are so close to me. My family and the friends that I consider the closest are the ones that will tell me when I’m being an idiot! I think it’s easy in this industry to think in your mind that you are something that you’re not. My friends and family make sure that doesn’t happen to me. I don’t suppose they’ll ever read this but cheers!
Question 17 (asked by Athene Prewett):
What made you want to be an actor in the Harry Potter movies?
Matt: The story. I was a fan of the books before I’d heard there was a movie planned. It captured me instantly and when news of the movie surfaced I had nothing else on my mind! I wanted to be a part of it in anyway!
Question 18 (asked by Jonathan P-S):
If you could have played any other character in the Harry Potter films, which one would you have liked to play and why?
Matt: Good question. Every time I get this question I think my answer changes! I think today, I would choose two people. Can I say two people? I think somebody evil would be fun because I’ve never done that before – probably Lucius Malfoy. I also love making people laugh and the character that did that the most for me was Gilderoy Lockhart. I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as good as Jason Isaacs or Kenneth Branagh, but it would be fun to have a go!
Question 19 (asked by Ivana on behalf of Ice Cream Man):
What is the funniest thing Rupert Grint has ever done on AND off Harry Potter set?
Matt: Rupert can make me laugh just by looking at me. He can be so hard to do a scene with sometimes because when he starts to laugh, that’s it, you laugh too. It’s fun though! I think on set, it’s probably in the scene when Harry and Seamus have an altercation in the Common Room in Order of the Phoenix. Rupert had a line that was something like “…unless you want a fist full of Weasley….” and it was just impossible. Every time he did it, somebody laughed. Rupert, Dan, Devon, Alfie, me. Somebody laughed and that set everyone else off, I think they had to cut most of that scene in the end! Off set, the funniest thing that I remember is when we were playing darts in his dressing room. He dropped one of his darts and it got stuck in my foot! It was pretty painful but his face was so funny, and I couldn’t help but laugh. He apologised and I don’t think he did it on purpose….I don’t think. Reading that back, it doesn’t sound that funny, but believe me, we still laugh about it today!
Question 20 (asked by Isabella Johnson):
Which of the Harry Potter directors did you like most and do you approve that David Yates is going to shoot the following films as well?
Matt: I can’t pick one Director as my favourite. They all brought something different to the movies that they directed. They all had their own ideas and take on the story and they had widely different personalities too. I got on with them all and it was an absolute pleasure and honour to work with every one of them. I love working with David Yates – he is just a really nice man and so talented. He makes sure that everybody on the set knows what they are doing and that they have a role to play in the scene no matter how small. His grasp of the story and how things should be is really inspiring and I’m really looking forward to going back to work with him. I really think he has managed to bring out the best in me as an actor and I’m sure that my colleagues would say the same.
Question 21 (asked by Kast Phoenix):
How strong a sense of place did you have on set? Were the sets complete rooms or were there walls missing?
Matt: It really depends on the particular shot. For example, The Great Hall is a complete room, all four walls and a big, gold door at one end. Mostly, the camera will be inside and the set won’t change. However, sometimes the Director may want to do a wider shot or a big sweeping shot that involves putting the camera on a huge crane. The only way to do these would involve taking one of the walls out, so they do! That is the advantage to shooting mostly in the studio. The sets can all be taken apart and rebuilt to suit the preference of the Director. One set that was the hardest to shoot on, in my opinion, was the Hall of Prophecy, because it didn’t exist! That was shot entirely on green screen and put in afterwards using special effects. All we had to go on was the floor layout and each other. Now that was tough!
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Thanks again to Harry Shires, Sarah Schwarz and everyone else at CastleWhiteFang for letting us be a part of this chat!