He was villainous Draco Malfoy
in the Harry Potter films,
and post Hogwarts the 25-year-old’s
acting talents still thrive on the dark side…
A horrible bastard.’ They’re not our words, they’re Tom Felton’s. He’s describing his latest role, in the upcoming film Belle. This ‘bastard’-ness seems to be a habit, what with the 10 years spent playing Hogwarts’ resident evil, Draco Malfoy, but it couldn’t be further from the truth when describing Felton. He chats easily, whipping out his phone to share pictures of his dog, and doesn’t once make you feel that you’re in the presence of someone most of us grew up watching.
‘I’m not a very villainous chap at heart,’ he says, with a grin. ‘So I do revel in it. I almost put on the friendliness a bit more when we’re off camera, so when you do go into a scene, hopefully you wake people up.’
The transition from child star to adult actor is not always easy, but Felton is doing it seamlessly. There’s the aforementioned Belle, upcoming movie Therese [an adaptation of the 19th century French novel, where Elizabeth Olsen plays his on-screen wife], and Labyrinth, a TV series in which he stars alongside Downton’s Jessica Brown Findlay. It seems to blow his mind, all of this success.
‘I was really nervous going into this,’ he says of his role in Therese, pulling on the sleeves of his grey sweatshirt. ‘There are only four main actors in the ﬁlm, and to be one of them… I had to make sure I was up to their standards. For a while, I feared having been cast just because of what I’d done previously. But from doing other ﬁlms since [Harry Potter], I feel conﬁdent in my ability to do this, which at some point, maybe I didn’t.
The Potter experience is a part of Felton’s life he’s obviously grateful for. Yesterday, he tells me, he went on the Harry Potter studio tour with a friend. ‘It’s odd, because I go everywhere without being stopped or even recognised,’ he says. ‘So then when you see someone’s face when they clock who you are, and especially when you’re friendly – because it freaks them out even more…
It’s kind of awkward, but only down to my own awkwardness, because I’m not used to it. But it’s a nice feeling, and there is an element of pride that you’ve made someone’s day.
‘When I was younger, my thoughts were, what am I missing out on? My friends are on a ski trip in the Alps and I’m stuck at Hogwarts. It’s only later that you realise, actually I was lucky to be missing out on that. So many people have said thank you for being a part of their childhood and, as cheesy as it sounds, that’s always nice to hear.’
Felton was 14 when the ﬁrst Harry Potter ﬁlm came out and, with eight in the franchise, he has walked his fair share of red carpets. He thanks his girlfriend, Jade, for helping him. ‘I’m lucky to have a very stylish better half,’ he laughs. ‘I get attached to things, and I’ll wear them every day for a month, until Jade’s like, will you stop wearing that bloody jumper! She’s been known to hide things from me, to keep me on a healthy cycle.
‘But I do have an appreciation for fashion. I remember getting a suit made for a premiere a few years ago, and thinking it was an incredibly elaborate thing to do, but when I wore it I felt a million dollars. I’m quite skinny so a lot of suits come up wide on me. But Tom Ford, J. Lindeberg and Burberry do some really nice ones.’
He’s also eyeing up a pair of Tom Ford glasses, and he’s got a thing for Band of Outsiders jumpers after he and Rupert Grint [Ron Weasley] starred in a campaign for the brand last year. As for his favourite looks on girls, less is more, he says. ‘I’m a big fan of effortlessness. There’s something attractive to me about an outﬁt that looks as if you’ve just thrown it on, and you’re not heavily plastered with make-up or jewels. Simple and classy.’ With that, it’s time for him to leave. He’s got shopping to do, and his dog to walk, and after getting him out of bed at 6am for our shoot, we should probably let him go. There are hugs for the whole team, and effusive thank yous. He may play a good ‘ bastard’, but he’s alright, that Tom Felton… ▪