Neville becomes a much more dominant presence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and ComingSoon.net talked to actor Matt Lewis about the action we can expect to see him in and what plans he has for after Harry Potter.
Q: How do you feel about the franchise coming to an end?
Matt Lewis: I’ve been here since I was 10 and I’m 21 this year. It’s been a long time so I am going to miss him a great deal. He’s such a wonderful character to play. I find it challenging in parts, but on the whole it’s been easy because it was so brilliantly written. It was such a character that you could relate to. It wasn’t that difficult to get into character. I am going to miss it and I think everything I do from now on is going to be a little bit harder. At the same time, I think it’s time to move on and do something else and I can’t wait for that either. I’m happy and sad – a little bit of both.
Q: How is David Yates different from the other directors you’ve worked with in this series?
Lewis: David is lovely. He is one of the nicest guys I’ve met in the entire world ever. He’s really so sweet. We get together and he says what he thinks in his mind and then I say what I’ve gathered from reading the script and we come together and we stick it out there and try it out. David is really keen to getting it perfect so he thinks you had a good idea or he had a good idea, he’ll shoot them both. He’s not averse to taking a little bit of extra time to get a better shot. We’ve got a lot of freedom in terms of that and it’s been good fun. It’s really a team effort working together to try to make it what we both think. One of the first things he said to me was that he had all these ideas in his head. You could tell his image is very vivid. He just said you’ve been playing the guy for so long. You know him better than anyone. Let’s work together and that’s what we do. It’s been a really enjoyable process.
Q: Are you included in the last scene that’s a flash forward?
Lewis: I don’t know. I don’t think so. I have read the script a long time ago. I can’t remember to be honest, but I don’t think so. I am mentioned I think.
Q: Are you still wearing the fat suit for this one?
Lewis: What are you trying to say? No, I’m not. Neville has slimmed out. We’re trying to suggest he’s up and living underground at Hogwarts and been this sort of resistance leader. He doesn’t have time to eat and he’s stressed out.
Q: What kind of action do you get to do?
Lewis: There’s a whole lot this year. We’ve just been rehearsing some stunts we’re doing next week. There’s an amazing bridge sequence that I don’t want to talk too much about, but there’s going to be some cool stuff in that and that’s going to be stunts of all kinds. We’ve got lots of running. I don’t know if you can see, but I fell over last week and have a scab on my knee there. Lots of running, lots of falling, lots of firing the wands off, lots of explosions and sometimes when you lose the wands, it’s more physical and that’s good. It’s just a bit of everything. It really feels like war.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie out of the series so far?
Lewis: To film was number five I think so far.
Q: Daniel Radcliffe said the same thing.
Lewis: I really enjoyed having a lot more to do in that one. Neville’s character in that year really took a massive leap and I got to do a bit of emotional stuff explaining about his parents to Harry, there was the action stuff in the Ministry of Magic, then there was all the fun comedy stuff that Neville gets as well. It was a nice diverse year for me, but I think this one is going to pivot to the first by the end because I’ve enjoyed this one a lot so far and we still have a few months to go. Most actors will tell you they like doing stuff. There has been a lot of waiting around on stuff and in previous films being in the background of a classroom, but this year what I’ve been in I’ve been doing stuff. I’ve been in the thick of it and I love that. I love to work so this year has been a lot of fun.
Q: Do you already have other projects lined up after Potter?
Lewis: Not yet. I want to act. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was five so hopefully I can carry on doing that. I’m not sure when I’m finishing to be totally sure. We’ve got a lot to get through yet, but hopefully after I can move on and do some other stuff.
Q: What other types of genres would you like to do?
Lewis: As an actor I don’t want to say I primarily want to do this. If I say something like that then I think immediately I’d rather do the complete opposite because that would be more of a challenge. I don’t know really. Whatever comes my way I’d be more than happy to do. It’s always been my dream to be in a war film. When I saw “Saving Private Ryan,” I said that’s a quality film. That’s a film you want to be in, but also I love comedy. There’s not a particular genre that I would do or wouldn’t do. I just want to act.
Q: Why is it so bittersweet for you that this series is coming to an end?
Lewis: You lose the security of having “Harry Potter.” I hate auditioning. Auditions are the worst thing in the world. I can sit around the table and talk to you, but you ask me to do an audition. I go to pieces. I can’t do it. I’ve always known that when I go for an audition I still have “Harry Potter” so if I don’t get it then it’s fine and I’ll go back to work on Monday for “Harry Potter.” Now, that safety net is gone and I’ll have to pull my finger out and do some work. So that’s going to be a sad thing, but it’s also like a meeting place. It’s like a school common room like in “Harry Potter” where you can come and see all of your friends. You come in and sit around the breakfast table in the morning and you chat with each other about what you’ve been up to. That’s not going to be there anymore, but at the same time I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing some other stuff.
Q: What did the producers think when you came to work with a tattoo?
Lewis: I asked for permission because I’m a good boy. I spoke to David Barron and I asked for permission. As a parent he wasn’t happy but he understood so he said it’s fine.
Q: What’s your tattoo of?
Lewis: It’s number 11. It’s my lucky number. I’ll always wear it for a sport or whatever I need to wear a number for.
Q: You have a big following on Twitter. Can you talk about your interaction with fans?
Lewis: It’s a very interesting thing this Twitter. It’s an odd thing. It’s for arrogant people to let people know what they’re doing all the time so I’m doing it. Everyone else clearly wants to know what I’m doing so I’m going to go tell them. It confuses me and fascinates me. It’s a great way of letting people know what you’re up to in a professional sense. The fans love anything to do with “Harry Potter” and just the mention of me going to work on Monday they love it. I know from being a huge fan of films and television that if I could follow I do. On Twitter, I follow people that I’m massively star struck by. It’s interesting to see what they’re up to. Carrie Fisher for example. “Star Wars” was the best thing that ever happened to me as a kid. I follow her on there and see what she’s up to. It’s ridiculous really. It’s not a glamorous as I thought Carrie Fisher’s life to be. It’s just interesting. You can engage with fans. They can ask questions and you can answer them. It’s a lot quicker than fan mail. It’s a fun way of doing it. I’ve tried really hard recently not to keep it about absolute rubbish. It’s very often rubbish comes out of my mouth and I try really hard not to do it. Sometimes it bursts out but I’m going to try to keep it as professional as possible.
Q: What abut updates about the games?
Lewis: That’s the problem – I just get too excited about football. I need to calm that down.
Q: If you weren’t an actor, what would you pursue?
Lewis: I’d sit on the sofa and watch TV. I honestly don’t know. Since the age of five, I haven’t worked a day doing anything else. I was on Celebrity Mastermind actually last year and my subject was Oasis and I did loads of research on Oasis. I read this amazing book called “Take Me There” which is about this journalist Paul Mathur who went on tour with Oasis for a few years and I’ve never wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll star so bad in my entire life after reading that book. I’m actually in a band in well called The Transmission with some guys back home so maybe that’s another avenue I’ll be looking at in the future.
Q: So were you crushed when Oasis broke up?
Lewis: I was a little bit, yeah. I was away actually at the time. I was at the Leeds Festival. They broke up while I was at Leeds Festival. I thought it was just a rumor and it wasn’t.