The Harry Potter franchise has entertained audiences for decades, starting with J.K. Rowling's original series of novels. The eight-film franchise is also beloved, having launched the careers of a number of young actors. This includes Matthew Lewis, who played the endearingly hapless Neville Longbottom starting with the very first Harry Potter movie. But it turns out that Lewis actually has a hard time watching his old performance from within the Wizading World.
Neville Longbottom is a supporting character throughout the Harry Potter books and novels, and ends up playing an important role in various conflicts. Matthew Lewis played him to pitch perfection, and went viral years later for his physical transformation and handsome adult looks. But Lewis is actually weirded out watching Harry Potter movies because of how much he identifies with his magical character. As he recently put it,
I find it quite difficult when too much of me starts to come through in a character. It’s easier when I can play someone completely different, like a police officer in London or someone who’s wealthy... At times it’s painful how much of me there is in Neville. When I’m watching, I’m like, ‘That’s not Neville; that’s you.’
Despite how much Matthew Lewis has changed physically in the years since playing his Harry Potter character, it looks like he still feels connected to the iconic member of Gryffindor House. And that's what makes revisiting those movies so strange; Lewis sees himself in Neville. Talk about some good casting.
Matthew Lewis' comments to the NY Times shows what it's really like working on a major franchise like the Harry Potter films. While taking on such an iconic role would be daunting for anyone, Lewis and his co-stars like Daniel Radcliffe also grew up in the public eye. Neville eventually came into his power around the same time that the actor's transformation into a leading man began. Now that's synergy.
Each Harry Potter alum has their own relationship with the franchise, especially as the years allow for some separation from the Wizarding World. Matthew Lewis isn't the only actor to shy away from re-watching the movies, although his reasoning is certainly unique. Being an actor requires performers to immerse themselves and become someone else, while Neville is seemingly an accurate depiction of who Lewis was at the time of filming.
Hardcore Harry Potter fans are holding out hope that the original cast of actors might reprise their roles in the future for a film adaptation of the Cursed Child plays. Unfortunately, this presumably wouldn't include Matthew Lewis if it were to happen. Neville is noticeably absent from the stage plays, although he's mentioned a few times. Perhaps J.K. Rowling would rework the story to include Lewis' signature character. Only time will tell.
The Harry Potter franchise will continue with Fantastic Beasts 3, which is filming now and expected to hit theaters in 2022. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.