Neville Longbottom captured the hearts of many as the quirky, shy, underdog friend of Harry Potter in the widely popular franchise, but now Matthew Lewis, the actor who brought the character to life, reveals he can’t even watch the films!
The 31-year-old starred in J.K. Rowling’s wizard fantasy from 2001 to 2011, beginning when he was just 12. He opened up to The New York Times on Monday about the “painful” reaction of watching history on screen, saying:
“I find it quite difficult when too much of me starts to come through in a character.”
Despite the magical realism of the series, Matthew and Neville were far more alike than the roles he prefers to play today, adding:
“It’s easier when I can play someone completely different, like a police officer in London or someone who’s wealthy.”
There are even portions of the films in which he doesn’t see himself playing a character at all, revealing:
“At times it’s painful how much of me there is in Neville. When I’m watching, I’m like, ‘That’s not Neville; that’s you.’”
It’s certainly understandable not to have interest in watching yourself back on camera, especially when you’re captured at such a young age. Fellow HP lead Rupert Grint, who played the red-headed Ron Weasley, also admitted to feeling uncomfortable when watching the films in 2018. He told the Radio Times:
“I think those early ones are OK. More time has passed. I can detach myself a bit more from that kid. I did see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone not long ago, for the first time since the premiere, and I actually enjoyed looking back. But the more recent ones I definitely couldn’t do. I could probably go up to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
Interestingly enough, Lewis isn’t the only crew member of the popular Warner Brother’s blockbusters to see the comparison between he and his character. It’s actually what allowed the actor to expand Neville’s plot line in Deathly Hallows: Part 2!
David Yates, who directed the final four films of the Harry Potter series, told the newspaper:
“[Matthew] became more confident, more curious, more present as the films progressed. And more ambitious.”
In the final flick, the 57-year-old filmmaker added a scene just for Lewis that was not in the original books. Harry Potter fans surely recall the moment Neville blew up the bridge to Hogwarts to slow down He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s army — and now we’re learning why that was added.
The director who has also taken on the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs explained:
“It captured the charms of Neville and Matthew’s everyman quality. He had a modesty and an honesty that was hard to ignore.”
So interesting!! Matthew’s closeness to Neville is kind of like a double-edged sword — it gave him more exposure, but it’s also hard to look back on. As for his forever-attachment to the iconic wizard world, the UK resident had this to say:
“If there’s something people remember you by, there are worse things than the Harry Potter franchise. It opened so many doors for me when I otherwise wouldn’t even have gotten in the room.”
While the thespian may have a difficult time enjoying the movies, we won’t have a problem watching all the reruns we come across on his behalf!