Well, here is the second half of the Goodprattle interview! This time, the interviewer had a better phone connection and the interview benefited!
Okay… [Tom answers the phone]
Hi, Tom. I’m so sorry. We got disconnected!
Oh, no, it’s fine, it’s fine! Not to worry, not to worry.
So I’d like to continue with what you were—oh, and now the connection sounds better! This is great!
Yeah, it sounds a lot better! Thank god for that!
The first time it was sort of like a strange blur! I couldn’t really hear anything, but this sounds much better. Now we can have a decent conversation.
Yes, yes. Finally.
Good, good, good. Finally, yeah. I think I was rambling on about… oh, yes, [Draco’s] vulnerability, and how there’s a completely different side of him [in Half-Blood Prince] that hasn’t really been exposed in years previous. Obviously, he’s been given an actual chance for depth, say, whereas before he was always sort of an annoying, slimy git, but in the back of the classroom. But in that respect I had to take a lot more sort of gentle and soft approach to how he might deal with his task.
We also get to see that he’s not doing what he is doing for Voldemort so much as for his family.
Completely, yeah. Sure. But it’s all in the eyes of his father, isn’t it, really? Normally it’s locked away, but now he feels like he’s the man of the house and he needs to sort of represent the Malfoy Manor to the fullest, really, and, yeah, he’s not built from the same stuff as young Harry is. He’s not cut from the same cloth, by any means, and he certainly can’t hold his nerve when he needs to.
Yeah. What sort of relationship do you think he has with his father?
A very interesting one, actually! I mean, mostly he idolizes his father to every last degree, and equally, I’m sure, he’s terrified of his father! He’s absolutely petrified, and I think most things are done maybe 20% fully from the fear that he might get another clock around the ear! I’d be intrigued to hear what Joanne Rowling would have to say about that.
Yeah. Certainly, he’s not the most decent person, but he has a reason, because he’s had a very different sort of upbringing.
Sure. I mean, one thing for sure is he’s not the way he is out of chance. He’s well and truly been brought up that way, if that makes sense. In this film coming up, I think the ultimate goal that David Yates [the director] and I sat down and spoke earlier on is that we want to make him to do some of these horrible things and to instigate some terrible notions but at the same time—for the audience to hate him, as they always have done, naturally, but also to feel terrifically sorry for him and to empathize with the situation that he’s in, because, in modern terms, you’ve been given a gun and told to shoot the Prime Minister or the President. He’s been given a task that, really, he’s not up for.
It’s like, “Do this or we’ll kill your family.” Essentially.
Completely. Completely, and that’s a tough time for anyone to be in, especially a child.
Yeah, absolutely. And with the progression of the films the director’s chair has been passed along to different people, so I’m sure that also affected not only your portrayal but also the understanding of the role.
Sure, completely. I mean, one thing that was quite important for me was to not think of book number seven and not think—he almost goes slightly back in number seven, back into his old sort of gittish ways—
Yeah, I know there’s sort of a lovely sort of odd scene in the Malfoy Manor in which he chooses not to rat them out—I think he chooses not to recognize young Harry, which is quite a big thing!
Nor to recognize Hermione.
Yeah, there’s quite a bit of mystery about his character from this one onward, really! I think that he definitely had a sort of revelation inside where he doesn’t quite know where he is or who he is or what he’s doing. And there’s a great scene in this one where he runs into the bathroom after hearing that he’s hurt someone and he breaks down and he can’t handle it any more, which is, again, a really interesting side to see of someone who’s such a slimy git! [laughs]
Yeah! So… [laughs] now that we have such a clear connection, I want to go back and talk about some of the things we were talking about before, back when we couldn’t hear each other.
Yeah, sure. Fire away.
So could you talk again about The Disappeared?
Yeah, The Disappeared being a small British film that we did in between this and the last Harry Potter. It’s very different from Harry Potter; it’s a bit of a sci-fi/horror, I think, or something along those lines. It’s got quite a solid script, and we shot the whole thing in around 26 days in London, which was very contrasting from the shooting experience of Harry Potter. Simon is not a central role, not too central, slightly similar to Draco’s, if that makes sense, and it was very fun shooting it. It was very interesting to see the different styles of filming, and when you only have very limited money and very limited time it adds a whole ‘nother layer to the film. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when the film is going to make major distribution or when it will go to DVD; I don’t think it’s going to be released outside the UK, unfortunately, but I’ve seen it, I saw it about three weeks ago, and it’s a good film—it’s a good film period, but considering that they made it on what they made it on—and if you compare that Harry Potter will be made for $200 million or something crazy like that, well, this film was made for under a million dollars, which is hardly anything, really, in the scheme of things. So I think what they’ve achieved for the money was amazing, but how well it will do I’m not too sure.
Right. Well, definitely also Harry Potter and a smaller film have different things that are very unique. I mean, Harry Potter is sort of a singular experience, but that is a project that by the end will have encompassed ten years!
Yeah, it’s crazy. I mean… yeah, I know for a fact you won’t ever find a job like it, without a shadow of a doubt.
I think that’s because you won’t ever find another phenomenon that’s fully like the books were.
Yeah. Well, that’s the other side of it, is that you’ll never find another story like it, you know what I mean? Even if you do find another chain of films that goes on for ten years and all the rest of it, you’ll never find—I personally don’t think you’ll find a set of stories that generally get better as they go along. I mean, usually that’s a cliché, and usually they make them worse every year, but going along with the stories, I can only hope that the films are getting better as well. So, yeah, I am pretty intrigued to see what this one will be like, because I haven’t actually watched any of the stuff while we were filming it. I mean, I would see bits of it while we were doing some sound dubbing, but other than that, I’m as much of a virgin to it as you are. So I’m looking forward to that.
Right. You know, also J.K. Rowling has created not only a brilliant set of stories but also this incredible, great, big world into which fans can just go and be fully engaged.
I know! It’s crazy. I think the fan base is one of the most unique things about the books and about the films. The one thing that always, always amazes me is the very range of age. You know, there really isn’t “an age” where Harry Potter is cool—you can be five years old—I’ve seen little kids coming up to the premieres and coming up to the studios, and I’ve seen 78-year-old-men come up to the studios and they’ve been over the moon to meet Daniel [Radcliffe] and so forth. It’s very bizarre, because usually there’s a quite clear divide as to whether it’s sort of a kid’s film or not. We really don’t fall into any category. It’s actually a film for everyone, and it seems to bring out a really fanatical side of moviegoers. I mean, not talking from too much experience, but, of the premieres I’ve been to, the Harry Potter ones have been the craziest without a doubt. [laughs] Especially in America!
Oh, yeah. And there are so many different ways to get engaged as a fan—there’s the stories, and then there’s the world…
Yeah, you can really lose yourself as a fan.
In other fandoms for other works you see fanfiction and other things, but not nearly to the extent you see it for Harry Potter.
No, by any means. No, no, exactly that. It’s a whole ‘nother world, like you say. [laughs] I think it can be quite easy for people to lose themselves.
I’ve seen people write stories pairing Draco with Hermione.
[laughs] Sort of worrying.
[laughs] Well, I’ve also seen stories where Draco’s paired with Harry. There’s everything.
[laughs] Even more worrying! [laughter] No, again, I really think it opened people’s imaginations on a whole ‘nother level, really. And it’s great, because a lot of kids now who might not have been into books and reading so much are now thinking about becoming authors themselves.
[Rowling]’s a great role model, and I can’t help but think that great things will come from it, and she’s inspired so many people.
It’s absolutely great that there’s been a series that has engaged so much of the world, especially when reading seems to be dying out.
Yeah, sure. No, exactly that. It’s nice to have some fresh stories, really, some fresh ideas, if that makes sense.
Yeah, absolutely. And, sure, I feel like post-Harry Potter there are more mini-phenomena in the literary world than there were before because people are getting more into books.
That’s it! The long and short of it is, they read the seven Harry Potter books and they’re looking for something else to read! I think single-handedly Jo Rowling has inspired the reading world to get reading again. I mean, obviously there are people who were reading before, but I can’t imagine the number of children who are now heavily into reading thanks to Harry Potter.
And now there’s Artemis Fowl, there’s Twilight, there are all these series that are getting a lot of attention, and they probably wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for Harry Potter.
Sure. Yeah, sure. Well, I’ve read that a lot of books and series—call it what you want to call it, “jumping on the bandwagon” or whatever—but it’s a very popular genre now and people are noticing that. And, I mean, it’s great to see any ideas that are new, and especially ones that sort of unlock kids’ imaginations. It’s a good thing.
Okay, we totally got sidetracked—which is great. I love getting sidetracked. But I wanted to ask you about your reaction to working on such a more intimate set than the Harry Potter set.
Well, time was one thing. I remember the first day on Disappeared they did a little line up to make sure we were all sorted in the camera, and we sort of did a rehearsal, or what I thought was a rehearsal, and at the end of that—and I was shocked, we hadn’t even… they did just about anything they could to save time, which was not completely different from Harry Potter, but with Harry Potter you have all the time in the world to learn your lines and so forth, and at the end of the day if you mess it up you can just redo it. That’s not a problem. Whereas all these smaller films, they’re very keen to get it right the first time. Which adds another layer of energy to the set, if you know what I mean.
Okay. So, taking advantage again of the new clear connection, I want you to talk again about FeltBeats.
Yeah, well, I think you actually asked me, “Why ‘Feltbeats’?” [laughs] That was just a nickname that was given to me about five years ago by some friends, and that’s what my friends know me as online.
[laughs] That’s great.
It was supposed to be an alias where people don’t know that it’s me, but somehow on YouTube that didn’t go down too well. I think I got fairly recognized fairly quickly up there. And then I got outed. But, other than that, it’s not really… I don’t mind. People have been very complimentary, and honestly, I’m only doing it for fun. It’s nice to be able to share it and to hear comments back, whether positive or negative. It’s nice to hear other people’s thoughts.
And it’s a different medium, which can be good, because it’s a break from acting but a different way to be engaged creatively.
Yeah, completely. I mean, I like to think I’m quite a creative person; it’s just one way of releasing it, really! I mean, even more so than anything else, because when I’m given six strings and a pen and pad it’s a completely open palate, because you can do anything you like. There are no lines to follow, or directions. You can do as you like. There’s something I like about that.
I know that you write your own songs, so it’s so much more a product of yourself than your acting is because you create it all organically.
Yeah. Well, that’s the scary side of it, because I find that if you’re acting and somebody says, “I don’t like that,” you can always say, “Well… I was told to do that!” [laughs] Whereas if it’s something that’s completely your idea, you really have to face the flames if other people don’t like it. But, like I say, I’m not trying to get signed or trying to get a record deal. It’s just for fun, and it was originally so my friends abroad could keep up with my music and keep up with what I’ve been writing and so forth, and obviously it’s turned into something a bit more than that. But I’m happy to share if people are friendly enough to listen, so no complaints!
Right. And you did say that the reason you put your music on iTunes was to—to save up for a more professional recording? Is that what you said earlier?
No, no, no! I was talking about making it a charitable donation, really. I’d like to give back to where I came from, if that makes sense?
Okay. Yeah. It was impossible to hear!
Nothing’s set in stone yet, so I don’t want to advertise it too much or anything, but actually a charity in America. Colorado. In Boulder. A couple of people—I went out there last year and they helped me a lot musically, and they own a charity, and I’d be happy to help them along their way.
What kind of charity is it?
It’s called There with Care, and it’s a foundation that helps terminally ill children and their families. And the lady who owns it was the executive producer on the first three Harry Potter films, and she gave up her life as sort of a high executive to start her own charity up, and she’s been tremendously happy since, and it’s a really genuine cause.
All right, I think we’re coming to the end. Thanks so much for doing the interview; it was great talking to you.
Yeah, great talking to you too. And good luck with everything else.
Bye, Keely! Bye.
This is the end of our interview with Tom Felton! Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes out in July; be sure to keep your eye out for information regarding the release of The Disappeared.