Tom Felton Reveals How Harry Potter Was A 'Huge Disadvantage' When He First Started Trying For Adult Roles

Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

While the Harry Potter movies made Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Tom Felton household names, and helped them jumpstart their careers, there is also major downsides to starring in one of the biggest franchises ever. And as Tom Felton recently revealed, he was at a “huge disadvantage” when he first started going for roles as a young adult because of the films that made him famous in the first place. 

To be clear, Felton has spoken fondly about his time on Harry Potter and the positive impact the franchise has had on his life. However, with the good comes the bad, and he reflected on his difficult time immediately after he left the Wizarding World for The Guardian, saying: 

Life after Potter was a wakeup call. First of all, I was confronted by the fact that I wasn’t that good at acting. Auditioning as a 12-year-old is one thing – more or less making sure you don’t look down the lens or forget lines – but as an adult it is very different. In LA it was getting on the circuit: three auditions a day, different scripts, different accents and dialects – skills I hadn’t put into practice, even though I was very experienced in other ways. There were a lot of nos, and before I’d even said a word I could often see they were thinking: 'Don’t have him, he’s the Potter kid.' Harry Potter got me in the room, but often it was a huge disadvantage and I had to prove myself. Which I am so grateful for now.

It makes sense why Felton noted that there’s a big difference between auditioning as a 12-year-old and as an adult. He had explained in an interview that when he auditioned for Harry Potter all the kids were put together in a group, and he believes it was a snarky off-handed remark to his future co-star, Emma Watson, that may have landed him the role of Draco Malfoy, not a classic screentest or chemistry read.

These roles also have stuck with these actors ever since they were cast, so no matter what they will be recognized for them. This can work to their advantage as well as their disadvantage, as Felton noted.

In the years following Harry Potter, each of the young actors has gone on to lead drastically different careers. Felton has been open about his admiration for Daniel Radcliffe’s choices specifically post-Potter. The actor behind the title character has gone on to make a name for himself in the world of independent film, choosing wacky, weird and extremely unique projects, like Swiss Army Man and his most recent project Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, among many other fun films outside the world of Harry Potter. It's admirable to see just how successful Radcliffe has become following his stint as Harry Potter, and how he hasn't let himself by typecast into anything.

As for Felton, since starring in Harry Potter he has gone on to star in many other movies, release five EPs, star in numerous plays, like his most recent 2:22: A Ghost Story, and he just released his own memoir, Beyond the Wand, which his pal Emma Watson helped encourage him to write. He’s also revealed he’s not opposed to returning to the Wizarding World in the future if the opportunity arises. 

While Harry Potter may have been a disadvantage at one point for Felton, his love for the franchise now is amazing. It's been wonderful to see through all of his open and honest stories about growing up on the sets of the Wizarding World, and the life that followed for him just how impacted he was by the experience. If you are interested in seeing Felton in the iconic role of Draco Malfoy, you can stream all eight Harry Potter movies with an HBO Max subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.