Bet You’ll *Never* Guess Who Tom Felton Practiced His Famous Sneer To…

In an interview conducted by NJ.Com Entertainment news titled “Nice guy Tom Felton plays devilish Draco Malfoy in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies,” Tom Felton reveals a few tidbits that I don’t think have ever seen the light of day, and some that haven’t seen the light of day for a while. Except now, of course. Don’t worry… there were mothballs, so there’s no old-clothes smell to them. Go on, then… read it.

Some New and Not-So-New-But-Def.-Haven’t-Been-Talked-About-For-A While:

> Tom Felton was in a choir, singing, before he got the role of Draco. Yes, he was a choir boy. Probably looked a bit like Liam SomethingOrOther who was on Libera (Is he still in Libera… I would think they switched him out by now.)

> Tom Felton was assuming he was going to get a tiny part. Apparently.

> Tom Felton based how evil Draco Malfoy was on his brothers. Hahaha– Oh, twas only a joke. Oh well, still funny! [He said to “Please put down that I said that jokingly!”, so, you know. In fact, the only reason I’m putting it down at all was because he said “please.” I learned my Barney songs well, I say!]

> And last for this post but certainly not least, and also the inquiry of this post: It was his dear ol’ Gramps who helped him perfect his oh-so-iconic sneer! I, myself, and my friend Irene were very surprised but somehow tickled when we read this.

You can read the whole of the interview via the link above, or below, where Irene will ever so gracefully scissor and glue it. She’s nice, right? I would’ve never done that for you. She likes presents. In the form of cash [Read: Amazon Gift Cards] or books or Charleston Chews (Vanilla or Chocolate), incidentally.

Now read the long, awesome article about our ever-so-devilish Tom Felton/Draco Malfoy [You decide who the reporter is talking about]

tom-felton.jpgWarner Bros. PicturesTom Felton, playing Draco Malfoy in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.”

Sneering, snobbish and in the service of all sorts of dark forces, Draco Malfoy was no choir boy.

But Tom Felton, the actor who played him was.

In fact, the young performer had spent several years singing psalms when he went on a chance audition for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” a little more than 10 years ago.

He’d done a bit of local theater, too, which had led to parts in two films. So when they were looking for kids for the “Potter” series, the fresh-faced singer turned up on a lark. Maybe he’d land a small part.

Instead he got the plum role of the school bully — the white-blond beast who would torment Harry and try to aid Lord Voldemort through a decade-long adventure that finally concludes this week with the eighth film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

So how did he play a character like that at first? What did a nice little schoolboy know about evil?

“I based him on my brothers,” Felton says on the phone from London.

“Joking! Please put down that I said that jokingly!”

Of course I will. I don’t want Death Eaters showing up outside my door in the middle of the night.

“I don’t know, perhaps there’s a little evil child who lives very deep inside me,” Felton says finally. “But I do tend to find it easier to step into characters who are worlds away from me. The closer they are, the more doubtful I am about them.”

Still, there were a few things that gave him trouble at first.

“The sneer,” he admits. “My grandfather did help me a bit with that, learning how to do it. It’s sort of the signature Draco expression and Grands had me practice a lot. But I got it down eventually. Everything got easier as the character developed.”

harry-potter.jpgMurray CloseFrom left, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom, Jamie Waylett as Vincent Crabbe and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

The final movie, which opens at 12:01 a.m. Friday, takes the series out on a high point — after all the exposition of the first half, which came out last year, it’s pretty much nonstop action as Voldemort and his villains finally lay siege to Hogwarts.

And although I’d have to be a joy-sucking Dementor myself to give anything away about the finale, be prepared to learn even more about some of the characters than you thought you knew.


“For the first five films, Draco was a one-dimensional bully, the kind you get in private schools,” says Felton, 23 — who attended his same old public school throughout the series. “But I think that’s been changing over the years, gradually. You’ve seen him start to doubt his dad, see his father as not quite the great influence he once was.”

Not that devilish Draco ever drops that sneer for long here — after all, he practiced so hard to perfect it. But in this last film, you do get a sense of how he got to be who he is, and who else he might have been.

“Unfortunately, Draco’s hands are kind of tied — he doesn’t have that much of a choice as to what he can do,” says Felton. “But he does have options presented. You see glimpses of redemption there. I’m not the most philosophical person in the world, but I think it reflects a lot of scenarios in the muggle world, where the way someone behaves is really all about the way he was raised.”

As for himself, Felton was raised in Surrey as the youngest of four, where he not only sang out in church but followed one of his older brothers into amateur theatricals.

“I never intended to go down this route at all,” he says. “I had no idea where it was going to lead. I always just acted for fun. But when I finally left this drama group I was in, the director insisted I get an agent, and all right, I really didn’t want to, but just to shut him up I met with someone — and within two weeks I was doing a commercial. And then I was in ‘The Borrowers.’ It just all sort of happened by accident.”

After that film, he went into the big remake “Anna and the King,” with Jodie Foster playing his mom. The movie stiffed at the box office, but that doesn’t mean the experience was wasted on Felton.

“Jodie’s an exceptionally intelligent woman who never opened her mouth to you unless she had something really serious and constructive to say,” he says. “A performer like that, you soak up their aura and the way they hold themselves and you learn so much. … It was exactly that way on the Potter films. So many great, great actors you could learn from, just by being in their company. And nobody acting the diva.”


That includes its young leads. Although it’s hard to imagine young American actors making it through a decade-long hit movie series without major tabloid eruptions, things on — and off — the “Potter” set were always pretty quiet.

Yes, Daniel Radcliffe recently confessed to drinking a bit too much as a teen (until he gave it up). True, Emma Watson just admitted to a secret crush, when she was 11, on the unobtainable 13-year-old Felton (“It’s just testament to how long we’ve been bloody shooting these movies!” he says now with a laugh.) And Rupert Grint is still famous for cracking up — and cracking others up — during scenes.

draco-malfoy.jpgWarner Bros. PicturesJason Isaacs, left, as Lucius Malfoy, and Tom Felton, as his son, Draco Malfoy, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.”

But the kind of big-star scandals we see here with our baby pop-tarts and Disney wunderkinds? Bleary mug shots and DWI arrests and sexting pics? Not really.

“I’ve had a very normal childhood in what’s otherwise a very weird situation,” Felton agrees. “I still have the same dozen or so friends I always did. And I really look up to Daniel, and Emma and Rupert as inspirations. I’ve only had to deal with a quarter of what they have, and they have really handled it well.”

And they didn’t have the advantage Felton had, thanks to that singular Draco style.

“I mean, once I get the dye out, I can take the train to an audition and nobody notices me,” he says. “I used to curse the fact that I had to dye my hair, but I tell you, after a time I appreciated it. It was nice that, when I was playing him, I could look in the mirror and see someone else — and that, when I wasn’t playing him, I could be Tom again.”

He admits that having that sort of fame — and being happy to be able to avoid it for a bit — still seems very odd. He can still remember when the young cast expected to get fired at any moment.

“We all thought we’d be lucky to last until the third or fourth film before we were replaced by some decent actors,” he says with a laugh. “I suppose eventually we were led into being slightly better ones ourselves but really, it was only around the sixth film that I think we realized we’d be there till the end. Not that anyone wanted to see other people take over, you know, that would have been awful — seeing someone else get to play your part. But it was only because of the passion of the fans that we ended up doing all eight films.”

Those eight films were a large part of Felton’s childhood; in a way, they were his childhood.

“There were elements of missing out,” he admits. “Like the holiday party you couldn’t go to because you had to shoot an extra scene, or do an event. Obviously, there were times when you just wanted to be a kid, and you couldn’t. But anything I missed out on, I gained back tenfold in other ways. And getting to go to places like Brazil or someplace you’ve never been — and finding out they know all about you already? That was strange. I remember when we first went to Japan, they had to close the airport, and they said they hadn’t had to do that since the Beatles.”


The travel and the premieres — that’s been fun. (“I get to be famous for six or seven days a year, and then go back to being normal.”) So, too, has been meeting the fans, although the youngest ones sometimes have second thoughts after they ask for an autograph.

“A lot of them really struggle with the idea of it all not being real,” he says. “When I meet them, I try to be as friendly as I can, but I think that freaks them out even more. ‘Why is Draco smiling at me?’ The more I try, too — put my arm around them or something — the more it’s ‘Get him away from me!’ So I’ve learned to give up. It’s too hard for some of them. I still get letters, you know, ‘What did Harry ever do to you? Why are you mean to him?’… So it’s been good to do appearances at awards shows, and the younger fans, maybe they see, ‘Oh, right, it’s make-believe.’ ”

Offscreen, although Felton isn’t the avid angler every website claims he is (“I think when I was 12, I said I liked fishing in an interview and it’s followed me ever since”), he does prefer the outdoors to nightclubs, putting greens to red carpets. He also enjoys having the occasional “knees-up” with chums, where they sit around and talk and watch soccer matches on TV or just have a laugh.

He has other parts to play, of course, as he goes forward on this accidental career. His next picture in theaters will be August’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” where he promises his character “is going to make Draco look very soft. That was great fun. And then after that is ‘The Apparition,’ which an action/thriller/horror film. I actually shot that first, but it stars the lovely Ashley Greene and they’re keen not to step on the toes of the new ‘Twilight’ film, so that release has been put back a bit.”

But first, he has to say farewell to “Harry Potter.”

“I think the newest one is an exceptionally worthy last chapter to the franchise, and we’re all very excited about it, and yet we’re all feeling a bit sad, too,” he said. “It’s very strange. Draco’s been the Hyde to my Jekyll all this time; I know I can live without the hair color, but it’s going to be interesting seeing how I say goodbye to the rest of it. He’s grown up with me; I’ve grown up with him. … I mean, excuse the pun, but it’s all been a bit magical.”


ENJOY and Thanks. 😀

2 thoughts on “Bet You’ll *Never* Guess Who Tom Felton Practiced His Famous Sneer To…

  1. Many thanks to Tom Felton interesting news from their lives and Draco. 🙂
    Always so surprising to learn something new, for that I love Tom Felton. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Tom Felton em nova entrevista imperdível a | Tom Felton Brasil

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