Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley): Slytherin would be Dudley’s house at Hogwarts

Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley): Slytherin would be Dudley's house at Hogwarts

Photo: France Knaff / Roster Con

On January 13 and 14, 2018, Potterheads met at the Hilton Roissy Charles de Gaulle hotel to participate to the Welcome To The Magic School 4 convention organized by People Convention. To start this Harry Potter event, which hosts five actors from the JK Rowling’s saga, the fans talked with Harry Melling, Dudley Dursley, the cousin of Harry Potter. Let’s go back on this exchange full of good mood.

Dudley and the magical world

It is well known, Dudley Dursley is a muggle. But in which house would he have belonged if he had joined Hogwarts? Who would have been his favorite teacher? Two questions Harry Melling had to answered to. For the English actor, there is no doubt that Dudley would have been assigned to the Slytherin house if he had to do the sorting ceremony and if the Sorting Hat had read his mind.

As for Dudley’s favorite teacher, Harry Melling’s choice is Alastor Moody aka Mad-Eye Moody, the Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Harry Melling and his relationship with Dudley

Without news for a year from the Harry Potter film crew, Harry Melling was very surprised to learn that he was chosen to play the role of Dudley Dursley when he was only expecting to be an extra. To prepare for this unexpected role, the actor read JK Rowling‘s books as a child. He was also able to rely on the helpful tips of Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths who played Petunia and Vernon Dursley, the parents of his character.

Harry Melling says he was very happy to play a character like Dudley Dursley who is the opposite of himself. A behavior that, according to him, is a response to the education he has received from his parents. However, the actor is satisfied that his character was not confined to this simple role of villain and that he has evolved during the books and especially after his meeting with the Dementors. For Harry Melling, when Dudley is subjected to the Dementor’s kiss, he sees all the harm he has done in his life and all the people he has martyred. It’s, according to him, a key moment in the evolution of his character.

During this Q&A session, Harry Melling spoke about his weight loss thanks to his acting classes and the fact that he was worried he would be replaced for Dudley’s role because of this physical transformation. The actor then contacted the film crew to find out if it would changed things. They answered him that with makeup and prosthetics, he would be able to continue to play this role that he likes so much.

Due to the actor’s attachment to Dudley, was it difficult for him to say goodbye to this character? “Yes and no” Harry Melling answers. For him, it’s like a last day of school when you are living with conflicting feelings. You are sad because you have to say goodbye to your friends but you are happy with the experience you have just lived and you can not wait to find out what will happen to you in the future.

Shooting anecdotes

When asked about his favorite line on Harry Potter, Harry Melling said he did not remember any lines. He then gave us an interesting anecdote about one of the first scenes he had to shoot. As a child, he had trouble pronouncing the lettre ‘R’, a difficulty that was under severe strain in the scene where Hagrid came to pick Harry up for Hogwarts and in which Dudley had to say he was not Harry Potter.

During the Q&A, Harry Melling told us another filming anecdote. For the scene where Marge swells and flies off, Pam Ferris, the actress playing her, was wearing a swelling suit. Richard Griffiths had hidden a whoopie cushion and had fun turning it on when the costume was swollen and Pam Ferris was flying away. A joke that made Harry Melling laugh.

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– His favorite character in the books is Sirius Black.
– His favorite film is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because he loves the story with Sirius Black. He thinks that Gary Oldman did an incredible job in this role.
– If the actor had the opportunity to use a spell, he would like a spell that allows him to travel without taking the transport. Apparition and Disapparition would be ideal for him.
– He already went to The Making of Harry Potter – London Studio Tour and he loved it.
Harry Melling never did the distribution test on Pottermore.com because he did not even know that the website existed.
– However, when performing similar tests on other websites, he is still Ravenclaw.
Harry Melling never knew what was going to happen to his character and was making unlikely scenarios in his head: Dudley was actually Voldemort or he was at the origin of Harry’s scar.
– The actor advises to watch Stranger Things and confides that when he is going to the movies, he often goesf alone because he likes to watch strange movies.
Harry Melling wanted to be a dancer when he was a child but his body did not allow him to be one.
– The actor did not know that there were fanfictions in which his character was present.

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