Last summer, at the New York premiere for “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” Tom Felton — the Brit actor behind platinum-blond baddie Draco Malfoy — walked us through the key characteristics of a great onscreen villain.
“Cold eyes, I’ve been told. A pretty pasty face,” he said. “I think to be evil you need an iconic look. Like a James Bond villain, with the scar or a cat.”
The guy certainly knows what he’s talking about. On Wednesday morning (May 12), Felton was nominated for Best Villain at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Back in South London while finishing up the shoot for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” Felton gave MTV News a call to talk about his nomination and take stock of the competition.
“It’s a massive honor,” he said. “Especially given that it’s a fan vote. That makes it quite touching. And it’s classic for me, because for almost a decade, kids have been running onto set and hugging Daniel [Radcliffe] and shaking Emma [Watson]’s hand. I try and be as polite as I can, and I never seem to get anywhere with them. Finally, I’m in a category that celebrates that fact!”
Come the June 6 awards show, Felton will face off in the Best Villain category against Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”), Helena Bonham Carter (“Alice in Wonderland”), Ken Jeong (“The Hangover”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). Obviously, the key question is: Which of these nefarious characters would win in a fight?
Lang’s scar-faced, alien-slaying boss in “Avatar” might prove to be a bit of a challenge for the supernatural-assisted Draco, but Felton isn’t too worried. “If he had one of those big suits on he had on at the end, I’m not sure I’d stand a chance,” he said, before deciding, “But I have got the wand always, and the broomstick is pretty nimble.”
The wand is exactly what Draco would need against Waltz’s cold-blooded, Jew-hunting Nazi — a performance Felton dubbed “the most spine-chilling of the year.” “He may talk a good talk, but against a decent spell or two, I might be able to take him,” Felton laughed.
And then there’s Helena Bonham Carter, his “Harry Potter” co-star and now his MTV Movie Awards adversary. “Never my competition — she’s my idol,” Felton said. “I’ve learned more off her than anyone else.” Sure you don’t want to talk a little smack? “Of course! I’m putting a friendly face on it, but on the night, it’s all game,” Felton said. “Each dog for his own.”
Lastly, there is Jeong’s naked, tire-iron-swinging mob boss. Can a wizard take him down? And would Draco ever strip it all off to prove he’s the best villain on the big screen? Turns out, that almost happened during “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
“In the fourth film, I got turned into a ferret,” he said. “In the original script, it says that in the transition back from ferret to human, I was going to be naked, and I was going to have to run through the courtyard with about 60 extras and 50 film crew and run out with my cheeks on show. For some reason, they pulled that at the last minute. I don’t know why. Maybe they thought it was too explicit for young viewers. Maybe something about not having a wide-angle lens!”
Well played, sir. Any final words — a get-out-the-vote message for fans? “After 10 years, to still be in the public’s hearts, it really means a lot,” he said. “I can speak for Daniel and Emma and the rest of the cast on that one. I’d love to see some awards being handed out to ‘Harry Potter’ stars on the night.”