Apart from being an absolutely magical and expansive universe, the world of Harry Potter is one that has built a generation. The people who grew up reading the Harry Potter novels also watched the cast of the movies grow up in their roles. Amazingly, almost all of the Harry Potter cast retained their characters throughout the entire series, which consisted of eight movies over the course of ten years. It would appear that the young actors were helped along to fit the image of their characters as they grew. Matthew Lewis, who held the role of Neville Longbottom in all eight films, apparently had to wear fake teeth and plump himself up to maintain the image of Neville.
In the later movies, Neville’s glow up was one of the more dramatic ones among the characters. Hogwarts' list of hotties (for all the teen fans at the time) grew to include Neville later on in the series, but Matthew Lewis’ transformation may have begun a little sooner than we were able to see in the films. In an interview with Metro Newspaper, Lewis spoke on his time on the Harry Potter sets and how the costume department kept up with his image in light of his growth spurts and changing appearance. In Lewis’ own words:
It happened when I came back from the break in between films two and three. It was a slightly longer break than normal because they had shifted from a winter to a summer blockbuster, and when I came back I was much taller than everyone else and, I guess, thinner than I had been. Producer David Heyman assures me it was never a discussion about recasting but they had to do something. So they tried stuffing my cheeks with cotton wool, which was disgusting, then they cut these bits of sponge from creature effects and put them in there.
Considering the cast is pretty beloved in the Harry Potter fandom, and the universe wouldn’t be the same without each and every one, it’s a great thing that producer David Heyman wasn’t considering a recast. It’s to be expected that the child stars would grow with age, and that growth may not fit into their big picture. Thankfully, costume design and special effects can hide pretty much anything!
Still, oddly enough, the actors portrayed the characters pretty close to how they were described in the series, which you’d think would be nearly impossible to do as they were cast so young and ended their time in the roles as fresh adults. In light of the knowledge that Neville was helped out along the way to maintain his image from the Harry Potter books, it brings in question what some of the other cast may have had to go through to look more like their character.
The original Harry Potter series has long wrapped up, but that’s not the end of the franchise. The third Fantastic Beasts film is now filming and set to release July 15, 2022. Matthew Lewis isn’t finished with his film career either, as he had been in a number of productions, his latest movie being last year’s Baby Done.