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Over the course of five movies and books, Draco Malfoy hasn't been much other than a foil to Harry Potter -- the rival, the bully, the snob. But in the sixth installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, he becomes a chosen one himself, of sorts. Tom Felton -- who only looks evil -- talks about playing the boy everyone loves to hate.
Q: Draco hasn't been given that much to do until now, and consequently, neither have you. How did you adjust to the change?
A: I think Jo [Rowling] has quite purposely done that with Draco, made him a typical, slimy bully. But in this film, you get to see a different side of him. For me personally, it was quite daunting, coming to the set with a whole new approach to the character. [Director] David Yates really helped me get in the mindset. In Muggle terms: Draco's been given a loaded gun, and he has to shoot one prime minister, otherwise, another prime minister is going to shoot him. For a 16-year-old boy, that's terrifying.
Q: And consequently, we see him unravel. He's isolated -- no more Crabbe and Goyle.
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A: That was quite key. He is alone. His friends can't help him. And they're not really his friends, they're just scared of his dad. He's well and truly by himself. He's so troubled, and so deep in thought, he's not paying attention to anything else going on around him. It might sound weird, but before we started shooting, I stared at the wall for about ten minutes, just to get that dazed look down. Just really zone out and not think about anything. There's a shot of him and this feather, and he looks at it, looks through it...
Q: Like a cat at lint...
A: Yeah! It's such an eerie moment. It's completely unnecessary, but it completely defines what Draco's going through. I kind of feel sorry for him. He's a true victim of circumstances. And this film is the discovery of that for him. He realizes at the end, but it's too late.
Q: Since you've started filming again, what are your thoughts on how they're going to split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two movie?
A: We're not shooting chronologically, and we don't get the script as two films, we get it as one. We're shooting some of Film Eight now, and then we'll go back to Seven, but we don't call it Eight or Seven, just Seven. It's just one thing. I think they know where they're going to split it, but they're just going to shoot it and see how it feels. Malfoy Manor seems one of the more obvious places to do it. We're doing the Malfoy Manor scene the Monday we come back, actually. And it's the first time that we're going to get me, my mum Narcissa, my dad Lucius, and hopefully Ralph [Fiennes] there as well. And loads of other great, evil characters. I know David Yates is looking forward to furthering this idea of Draco just being a little boy among these horrible men.
Q: What's your take on that scene?
A: I spoke to Jo [Rowling] literally two days ago about where she wanted to go with it, and she said she wanted to leave it open to interpretation. There's so many bits that go unanswered, like why does he choose not to recognize Harry to the Death Eaters? And David has this vision: Draco wants to help Harry, and he even wants to befriend him...
Q: But he can't...
A: And he almost doesn't recognize that. He knows it, and he
doesn't. He's a child, not like Harry, who has the foresight of someone
more mature. Draco is still a little boy at heart.
Q: Will you play the older Draco for the epilogue scenes?
A: Yeah, Brad Pitt's busy, so I'll do it. Sorry, cheap joke. But that will be a great moment. And I think David Yates is a little bit infatuated with Harry and Draco. He loves their relationship. He finds it intriguing.
Q: He's not the only one. Have you read the fan-fiction that pairs them up as a romance?
A: Oh, no! I heard something really about that a while ago, and I can only assume people have got too much time on their hands. Or not enough stuff to do. One or the other. I should just be grateful Jo didn't think of that, so I don't have to shoot those scenes.
But I'm glad we're not going to rush it, or try to cram the last book into one two-and-a-half-hour film. We get to revel in the filmmaking. There was a time in my life where I took this for granted, but we all know now, this is it. This is our last year together on the set, so everyone wants to give their best and more importantly, enjoy it.