Tom Felton Tells The Story Of Why He Thinks He Got The Role Of Draco Malfoy, And How Emma Watson Was Involved

Emma Watson and Tom Felton in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Tom Felton brilliantly played one of the most iconic characters in the Potter-verse, Draco Malfoy, for many years. Now, he's written about the experience in his new book, Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard. The memoir details his time working on the films and the lessons he learned along the way. It also features a forward from Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson. Felton and Watson struck up an unbreakable bond while growing up on the Potter set, and Watson apparently even played a part in Felton landing his coveted role. 

Tom Felton recently recalled what the audition process was like for the child actors years ago, and how director Chris Columbus was able to sniff out potential contenders for the lead roles. Apparently, just a simple interaction with a young Watson was enough for the director to see the potential in Felton. The Draco Malfoy-actor detailed to Josh Horowitz:

Chris Columbus did this trick, or tried this trick, where there’s like 20 kids together and he’d say ‘OK I’m just going to leave you guys for a sec, and we’re going to go talk over here.’ And the producers and whatnot would go into one corner and the other guy was still holding the boom mic. Like you know, the huge boom mic over our head, so I knew exactly what was going on. And this little brushy-haired girl came up to me and was like ‘What’s that?’ I looked at her very arrogantly and said It’s a microphone you idiot, what do you think it is?’ I’m pretty sure they heard that, and I’m pretty sure that helped me get the role of Draco Malfoy. Also, it turns out that I saw that girl two months later and her name is Emma Watson, so we didn’t get off to the greatest start.

I guess a young Tom Felton was a lot more like Malfoy than he probably likes to admit. It's interesting that the two seemingly got off on the wrong foot, considering they later developed a thriving friendship that they maintain to this day. Felton and Emma Watson reflected on their adorable connection and their former childhood crushes on each other during Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special. The two clearly had an impact on each other, and it seems like Felton greatly appreciates his friend and former co-star.

His relationship with Watson is one of many topics that Felton covers in his new book. He tells several anecdotes from the set, including ones that involve many of our favorite Potter stars. He tells a hilarious story about accidentally stepping on Alan Rickman’s cloak in a pivotal scene. He also discusses Daniel Radcliffe, who he sees as a brother. He also details some of the darker elements of growing up a child actor, including his battle with substance abuse. Notably, Watson was the one who encouraged Felton to write his memoir as a way to open up about his experiences.  

Tom Felton received treatment for his addiction and has subsequently had a substantial acting career post-Potter. He has starred in several films and TV shows in England and the US, including a significant role on The CW’s The Flash. He is set to star alongside Rupert Everett in the UK drama, Lead Heads. The film also stars Mark Williams, another Potter-alum. Though he's found great success now, just like him, we'll never forget that it all started with Draco Malfoy, and we can partly thank Emma Watson for that.

For more stories from the Potter set, make sure to check out Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, which is available to purchase in bookstores, on and Amazon (opens in new tab). And if you want even more behind-the-scenes details, make sure to check out Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, which is now available to HBO Max subscribers

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