Potter star is now Fool on the bill

Harry Melling ''Picture : Johan Persson
Harry Melling ''Picture : Johan Persson
Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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The joy of Harry Potter, certainly in the first films, was that all the young actors were so completely unassuming, says Harry Melling, the loathsome Dudley Dursley in five of the movies.

‘But maybe to have done Harry Potter after drama school might have made you too aware of too much,’ he muses.

But now that the great Harry Potter adventure is over, Harry is delighted to able to combine the two.

‘Drama school is a very wonderful and complicated thing,’ says Harry who will play the Fool to Frank Langella’s King Lear in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre from Thursday until November 30.

‘I was very lucky to have all that had gone before me. I was a bit more set up in a way.’

‘When I look back on (the Harry Potter films) now, it is like a different era of my life. I was 10 in the first film. There was no real awareness of just how big it was going to be.’

Inevitably, ‘What next?’ after Harry Potter was always going to be the big question: ‘I think drama school was a way to bridge that gap. After the fifth film, I went to LAMDA for a couple of years. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.’

As for Lear, Harry heard about it through his agent, and also the director Angus Jackson had seen Harry in a couple of things: ‘He got me in and Frank was over here for a week. I was quite nervous before going in just because he is such a Hollywood legend. But he was just charming. He completely puts you at your ease.

‘I haven’t done Shakespeare and that was very exciting. But also the prospect of having a young Fool was interesting. I am 24.’

Tickets: £24.50 to £32 on (01243) 781312 or go to cft.org.uk. PHIL HEWITT