Do you know of any hidden gems in Universal’s Diagon Alley that fans should look out for?
Tom Felton: I haven’t really explored them all myself, but yeah, everything seems to move or do something, or scare the wits out of you; it’s really cool. I’m used to everything being bolted down or super glued to the walls so you can’t pick it up and touch it, but they haven’t spared anything. Even now, we can hear our little bird friend in the Vanishing Cabinet. So yeah, they do lots of cool little touches that will keep fans happy for hours. I’ve been here six hours and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.
What advice would you give to a kid coming to the park for the first time?
TF: Take your time, turn your cameras off, turn your phones off, just walk around and soak it all in. This is the only place in the world where you can actually imagine what it would be like as a Muggle leaving King’s Cross and turning up in Diagon Alley. I think kids, and adults alike, should turn their minds off for a second and soak it all in.
There were a lot of green screens on the Harry Potter set when filming. Is there something you’ve seen in the park so far that has blown you away?
TF: Yeah, Gringotts for example was in about four or five different pieces in London, and it was nowhere near that big either. So the fact now A) you can see it and B) you can walk into the doors of it, it’s very cool. A lot of people don’t realize that the sets didn’t link up with each other; they’re in separate parts of locations. It kind of made it hard to join the dots together of how things interconnected but that’s what’s so amazing about this. You get to actually walk from Diagon Alley into Knockturn Alley and see it how it was written in the books.
So right now you’re in the TNT show Murder in the First. How do you feel going from film to TV? Do you have a preference? How different is it?
TF: I don’t think there’s a preference, but it’s definitely different. For something like Harry Potter for example, we had a lot of time to make it perfect — which was great — but it also means we could have a slightly slower pace when filming. We do about eight or nine pages in the TV world, which is really cool and keeps you on your toes, I think. The quality of TV now seems to be getting better and better. I think if there ever was a prestige in film, it’s long gone. I mean, I was sucked into Breaking Bad like nothing else, and I think that’s the future for a lot of actors. They’re going to want to start getting jobs that give you the opportunity to do 60 hours of work. It’s very hard to get a strong emotional point across sometimes within a couple of hours [like a movie], so to do it over a whole TV series can make audiences even more involved and even more invested.
Are there any TV shows you’ve been binge-watching?
TF: Yeah, Breaking Bad is definitely one of my top ones. My lovely misses [girlfriend Jade Olivia] has got me sucked into Orange Is the New Black. We just burned through Season 2 in about two days.
How do you feel?!
TF: It’s pretty awesome, I love the development of the characters, and that’s a good reminder of what we were just saying earlier. If that was a film, we just wouldn’t be as invested as much in all the characters. There’s such great nuances in all the other inmates, and that’s a good example I think of how TV is really revolutionizing entertainment.
Are there any other books you want to see adapted to movies?
TF: Yeah, there’s a handful, none on the top of my head though to be honest with you. It’s such a weird thing though isn’t it? They’re already thinking of films before releasing the book.
Yeah, that happened with Emma Watson in Queen of the Tearling. The book comes out in July and she’s already tied to the series and it hasn’t even been published yet.
TF: Yeah, sure, that seems to be the trend and I don’t know if that’s the way forward. I think if J.K. [Rowling] had known the films were going to be made, it can’t help but change your perception of the writing. The levels that she went to with details and so forth allowed the film and this [the Diagon Alley park] to be so rich. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m quite happy to see books be books and films be films, and obviously those things will cross in time, but I don’t know if acquiring the film rights for something before it’s even hit the shelves is the way forward. I don’t know; we’ll see!
Daniel Radcliffe is currently on Broadway and it was announced that Rupert Grint will be on Broadway this fall. Do you have any interest in doing theater?
TF: Yeah, most certainly, I was brought up doing that sort of stuff and I’ve been to see them both in the last year or so doing their shows and they’re fantastic at it. Daniel especially, I think he revels in the work, the fact that it’s every night and he gets to explore the character every night, and he’s been doing that for quite a while. For me, it’s tough commitment-wise, because you have to commit for such a long time and right now I’m sort of quite happy to be traveling and seeing different parts of the world and sort of keeping options open, rather than fixing myself to a long run. But yes, it’s definitely a dream of mine to be on Broadway and the West End as well. Hopefully when the right opportunity comes, I’ll jump at the chance.
Is there anything you have in mind?
TF: Things I grew up with — I was in love with Blood Brothers, a famous Willy Russell musical that I thoroughly enjoyed, Jersey Boys, a lot of musicals. So yeah maybe there will be an opportunity there.
Wait, do you sing?
TF: To a certain extent [laughs]. I would probably need some training before taking it that far. I actually spoke to Matt Smith the other day who I know did a musical and he said, “You have to condition your voice every night, whisper to everyone, not drink certain drinks, etc.” So clearly it’s not something you can just get up and do, it takes a lot of work. So yeah, I look forward to doing it somewhere in the near future.
Would you ever do a franchise again?
TF: Yeah, happily. It’s a weird thing, people sort of assume we set up to do eight films in the beginning. We only set out to do one, and then one more, and then one more, and just kept going. I suppose Harry Potter’s changed the way people look at these sorts of things. If there are three books now and they’re making the first film, they’re already thinking about how they can make the second and third, and again, I’m not sure if that’s really productive. I almost don’t see Harry Potter as a franchise, I see it as a group of films that were made with a lot of passion and time and the focus on making them true to what they were in the books, not sort of capitalizing on the success of a certain piece of material. So yeah, I would love to [do a franchise again], but I don’t see it as a bonafide franchise from the word “go.”
So with films like Star Wars and Star Trek, these movies have been remade. Do you think Harry Potter will be remade within your lifetime?
TF: Well, it’s inevitable isn’t it? I suppose there will be a 4D, scratch-and-sniff version of it sooner or later. My only hope is that I’ll be old enough to play Lucius.
So you would make a cameo?
TF: Oh 100%, yeah, it’s very dear to my heart. I’d come back as a wizarding extra in the background if they asked me, so yeah, hopefully one day.