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He had a few acting credits before the Harry Potter franchise, but Tom Felton made his name as an actor in the wizarding world. Quite impressive, considering he hadn’t read the books before being cast as Draco Malfoy. His post-Potter career has seen him appear in several high-profile roles, but the latest acting gig is testing Felton’s anxiety.

Tom Felton presents an award at the 2022 Olivier Awards
Tom Felton | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for SOLT

Tom Felton is starring on stage in ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’

Felton and Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe played archenemies in the films, but they’ve trod similar ground off the screen. 

Playing a sniveling, arrogant, entitled wizard impacted Felton’s personal life, especially with the opposite sex. Radcliffe had to deal with intense scrutiny at a young age as the star of a blockbuster movie franchise, which made his life growing up different from regular kids.

Radcliffe took to the stage when the Harry Potter movies finished. The timeline is different, but Felton is following suit. He’s starring in the play 2:22 A Ghost Story at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End. 

Tom Felton in '2:22 A Ghost Story' which is increasing his anxiety with its large script, small cast, and rigorous schedule
Tom Felton in the play ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ | Nicky J Sims/Getty Images

“There are a lot of words to learn,” Felton told The Guardian. “It’s a 140-page script, and it all flows so effortlessly, so one little hiccup throws the whole thing off. There are just four people on the stage for the whole hour-and-a-half, so you can’t drop the ball even for a moment.”

Felton has way more experience working in front of a camera than he does a live audience, so 2:22 gets him out of his comfort zone. The length of the script and small cast aren’t the only elements that make the play an anxiety-inducing role for Felton.

The repetition and rigorous schedule do ‘no favors’ for Felton’s anxiety

Acting in 2:22 presents several challenges for Felton. 

At 140 pages, the script is longer than many movie scripts, which usually fall between 90 and 120 pages (per Raindance). The small cast presents two additional challenges. For one, all those lines are divided among just four actors instead of a large film cast. Plus, it means there are fewer actors to pick up the slack and improvise if Felton flubs a line. 

As Felton told The Guardian, the repetition and schedule are also obstacles to keeping his nerves calm. He said: 

“Right now, I’m battling with my brain, as in this we need everything to be precisely the same again and again, eight shows a week, for 17 weeks… Mate, this is doing no favors for my anxiety.”

Felton and his castmates won’t have much time off for a while. 2:22 performs six days a week with two shows on Saturdays and Sundays. And the play, which started in mid-May, runs through early September. Precisely reciting the same lines from a large script hundreds of times in a relatively short time seemingly has Felton’s anxiety raging.

Felton’s upcoming movie projects after ‘2:22’

Felton will always be associated with the Harry Potter franchise. He could likely live off his $20 million net worth for the rest of his life, but it appears he’s not content resting on his laurels.

He’ll be busy with 2:22 for several months, but we should see Felton on the screen again soon as he has a few movies in the works, according to his IMDb profile.


Tom Felton Had to Dye His Hair Every 10 Days While Playing Draco Malfoy in ‘Harry Potter’

Some Other Woman, about an island getaway gone wrong, is in post-production, per IMDb. So is Lead Heads, which co-stars Rupert Everett and Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Potter movies) and focuses on a group of friends playing a potentially dangerous game. Felton also stars in another film in post, the WWII-era Burial.

After testing his anxiety on stage, Felton might welcome the respite of a film set and press rounds to promote his movies.

How to get help: To connect with mental health resources near you, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.