Harry Potter Actors Reflect on Experience Working With Older Cast Mates
During LeakyCon Dallas 2019, Harry Potter actors Tom Felton, Scarlett Byrne, Afshan Azad, Georgina Leonidas, and Tiana Benjamin took to the stage to talk about their experience working on the films. A question was asked if they learned anything while working with the older, more experienced members of the cast.
For Byrne (Pansy Parkinson) and Leonidas (Katie Bell), just being on set taught them so much. “It was just an amazing experience seeing how a production worked,” said Byrne. “Getting to work with all different types of people who are unbelievably talented. It really is such a gift.”
Leonidas told the story of an interaction with Helena Bonham Cater which reminded her that you can be a huge star but still be nice and down to earth. “There was no hierarchy on set,” said Leonidas. “We were all there to make a film, and they made you feel like you wanted to be there.”
Azad (Padma Patil) learned a lot about the industry, especially about make-up, but it was Emma Thompson, who played Professor Trelawney, who had a great impact on her. Thompson encouraged Azad to stay in school, no matter what. Azad said that she continued her education, and now tells young actors to do the same. Thompson also told Azad that if acting was something she wanted to do, she just had to go and do it.
Benjamin (Angelina Johnson) had a more indirect experience. An encounter with Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) helped her become more confident. After asking Rickman a question, he turned around, looking a bit menacing, and asked, “What did you say?” Because of that, Benjamin realized that maybe she should speak up a bit more.
Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, laughed at the irony of everything. “Because we were young wizards learning from older wizards,” he said, “and the reality is that we were young, crap actors learning from the best.” Felton added that the best thing for him was not really knowing who anyone was. He thought Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) was a cleaner.
“They were such good examples. They made it quite easy for us to grow up and learn. It’s just as important to know what to do when the cameras aren’t rolling as it is when they are. So much of acting is done off-screen, and how you interact with each other. As soon as someone starts lording it up, it doesn’t make it a very good atmosphere for everyone else…”