The Moment Tom Felton Knew He’d Botched A Harry Potter Audition, And How That (Probably) Led To Draco Malfoy Role

Tom Felton may be well-known these days for his role within Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, but there’s an alternate universe somewhere in which things played out differently for the actor. In fact, he’s been open in the past about not originally trying out for the role of Draco Malfoy, instead auditioning for the Harry Potter role. More recently, the actor spoke out about an early audition for the franchise, and how he knew he’d totally botched his chance. 

Apparently, one of the times that Tom Felton tried out for the movies he was in a line of 20 kids. Those kids were all getting asked the same question by director Chris Columbus, that question being, “What are you most excited about from the book to the film?” Seems like a pretty simple query to answer, but according to what Felton told Square Mile, he hadn’t quite gotten around to reading the books. The good news? He answered the question. The bad news? He utterly botched the attempt, recalling his feelings as Columbus talked to each of the kids vying for the role:

'Shit, he’s gonna ask me this question! I have no idea what Harry Potter is!' The kid next to me was like, ‘Gringotts. I’m really excited about Gringotts.’ Moved to me and I just repeated what he said! ‘Mate, those Gringotts. I can’t wait to see the Gringotts.’ Obviously that doesn’t make any sense, so he knew straight away that I was bullshitting – which I think gave him an idea that maybe he’s a good Draco.

Early in the process, Tom Felton was in the running to don the glasses and the lightning-shaped scar that make the Harry Potter character, though he probably didn't know at the time Columbus himself was vying for Daniel Radcliffe to take on the role, and on Maggie Smith's recommendation, to boot. This wasn’t the only time Felton tried out for Harry, but he did say in the interview that it was the time Draco first seemed to be on the table. Yet, the actor also even tried out for Ron. 

But I tried for Harry. Four times, I think. Dyed my hair, did the scar. There’s a video somewhere of me auditioning at least twice for Potter. Then they dyed my hair ginger once to do Ron – didn’t get that one, either. Finally they dyed it blonde for Draco.

I can’t quite imagine what Ron Weasley would have been like if he were played by Tom Felton instead of Rupert Grint. Grint’s a natural redhead, and also pretty perfect for Ron, in my opinion. (Though Grint himself has spoken out about the toll role took on him.)  Felton’s a natural brunette, by the way, but he ultimately took to the blonde hair and the role of Draco Malfoy. The rest is history.

So, Has Tom Felton Read The Harry Potter Books Yet?

As for his knowledge of the books these days? Felton’s at least read some of the stuff in the Harry Potter universe. In fact, there’s a video of him doing a little of this earlier this year:

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Switching from the topic of the books to the Harry Potter movies, for a long time Tom Felton avoiding watching them – at least after the premieres. However, during the pandemic, he did ultimately rewatch them and shared some thoughts and tidbits with the fans on Instagram. He’s often keen to interact with Potterheads and I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon, particularly given HBO has Return To Hogwarts, HP’s 20th Anniversary special heading to HBO Max coming up on January 1. For more on what’s coming with that, take a look at our full guide. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.