Harry Potter’s Harry Melling On How He Feels About Still Getting Dudley Questions Over A Decade After The Franchise’s Conclusion

British actor Harry Melling is probably best known for his role as Harry’s spoiled and mean-spirited cousin Dudley Dursley in all Harry Potter films. However, suppose you’ve seen his movie on the 2023 movie schedule, The Pale Blue Eye, where he plays a fictionalized version of Edgar Allan Poe, In that case, the actor is barely recognizable. You can barely tell he’s the guy who played Dudley all those years ago. According to the actor (now 33), he prefers not to be as identifiable as his fellow Wizarding World costars. Now, Melling is getting honest about how it feels to get Dudley questions over a decade since the beloved franchise ended, and honestly, it might disappoint some Potterheads.

In a recent interview with NME, Harry Melling said he’s spent the intervening years since Potter ended trying to distance himself from his work on the J.K. Rowling-created franchise. The actor said he has chosen to take on more dark and disturbing roles and not to attend the 20th-anniversary event in 2021 to create further separation. Melling says the Dudley questions will always be there, and he’s not ashamed of his time playing the bully. However, he wishes more of the discussion was focused on his current work. He said:

It’s always going to be there, and I accept that. I would just like the conversation to be about what I’m doing now as opposed to something I did when I was 10.

It’s reasonable to desire separation from a role an actor was in as a child when you’re doing such exciting work as Melling is. The young actor only appeared briefly in each of the Harry Potter films and often only worked opposite Daniel Radcliffe. The actor has said in the past that this made his time on the franchise isolating and a unique experience compared to his costars. 

After his time in the Harry Potter series, Melling was able to attend acting school, where he immersed himself in the art of his craft. After graduating, the actor reemerged in small BBC parts before taking on more substantial roles, such as his work in the Coen brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Devil All The Time, and Netflix’s critically acclaimed chess thriller The Queen’s Gambit. When asked whether or not he feels like he has escaped the shadow of his role as Dudley, the actor says he thinks so, but new generations are always finding the Wizard franchise. The actor explained:

I think so… but I’m always amazed at the generational power of Harry Potter. My friends have kids now who are [into the books] and they’re like: ‘Uncle Harry’s Dudley!’ If someone mentions Harry Potter to me, then, of course, it’s something that I’ll engage with. It does feel like that narrative’s changing, though, which is great.

The Dudley actor isn’t the only Potter star who has opened up about their struggles transitioning from the fame the series brought them at such an early age. Emma Watson has called her early life “sheltered,” and Tom Felton said he realized he “wasn’t good at acting” and had to work hard for follow-up roles. However, Harry Melling has distinguished himself as taking on fascinating and dark parts, making his career engaging and one to keep your eye on. I cannot wait to see which macabre role the actor takes on next. 

If you want to watch Harry Melling’s recent work, The Pale Blue Eye (an adaptation of Louis Bayard’s mystery novel of the same name), it can be streamed now with a Netflix subscription

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