By Anita Tai.

Harry Melling says his childhood on “Harry Potter” wasn’t as magical as everyone imagined.

The 33-year-old actor famously played Dudley in the eight-film franchise, but he said that he didn’t have the same experience as his co-stars.

“My experience was unique in terms of I wasn’t in it throughout the entire shoot,” he told EW. “The earthly sequences would very much be an isolated filming block. So, I dipped in, and then I went back to school and normal life.”

Melling saw the fact that he wasn’t as easily recognizable in his daily as beneficial as well.

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“Which I kind of loved,” he explained, adding that he was glad he wasn’t traditionally “famous”. “Sometimes it’s nice to just concentrate on the work and what excites you,” he says.

The actor’s found a steady supply of new work since his work on the fantasy franchise, appearing recently in “The Queen’s Gambit”, 2018’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, and now as a young Edgar Allan Poe in “The Pale Blue Eye”.

Director Scott Cooper was so impressed by Melling’s work in “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, that he immediately thought of the actor for the role of Poe.

“I was struck by that performance,” Cooper recalled. “I felt, ‘My God! He would be a really terrific Edgar Allan Poe.’ And as we say in Virginia, he kind of favours Poe. He looks like him.”

“For anyone who knows Poe well, which are not many,” the director added. “I think they’ll be struck by [Melling’s] ability to be witty and humorous and warm, but also quite cunning and even explosive at times.”

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Cooper wasn’t the only one impressed by the actor’s performance. Christian Bale, who stars as Detective Augustus Landor in the film, was surprised by the caliber of Melling’s work.

“What a discovery for me,” Bale praised. “Obviously, other people knew him before. I don’t actually watch too many films, so he just was Poe as far as I was concerned. I think he is someone who is in a very enviable position where he’s ridiculously experienced and incredibly good at what he does, but for most people watching this, they may not have seen much of his work, and therefore they just entirely see the character.”

As for whether he’s concerned his new role will bring down the traditional “fame” Melling was afraid of, he said he wasn’t worried.

“Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing it since I was very young,” he added. “I try not to think of it in the moment.”


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Ellen Bullock