Tom Felton Reveals the Childhood Side Effect of His ‘Harry Potter’ Fame

Tom Felton was a little bit different than his Harry Potter castmates. Co-stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint came to the series with little or no acting background. Felton, on the other hand, had several acting credits to his name before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Felton became a household name for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. He played the part so well, he had to deal with an unforeseen side effect during his childhood (and it wasn’t just walking around with platinum-blonde dyed hair).

Tom Felton attends the premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' in Mexico City in 2010. In 2022, Felton revealed the childhood side effect of playing Draco Malfoy in the 'Potter' movies.
Tom Felton | Victor Chavez/WireImage

Tom Felton brought acting experience to the ‘Harry Potter’ set

Watson and Grint were acting newbies when they came to the Harry Potter franchise. Radcliffe one-upped them with the TV show David Copperfield and the movie The Tailor of Panama already on his resume. Felton, on the other hand, had them all beat.

Felton starred alongside John Goodman and future adult Potter co-stars Jim Broadbent (Professor Horace Slughorn) and Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) in The Borrowers. He later played the son of Jodie Foster’s character in Anna and the King before filming the Potter movies. 

Felton’s age also separated him from his young co-stars. Felton was 13 years old when filming started. Grint was almost a year behind Felton, and Radcliffe was nearly two years younger. Meanwhile, Watson, was nearly three years younger than Felton.

We know Felton gave strong performances as Draco Malfoy in all eight Potter movies. However, his role led to some unfortunate side effects, off the screen.

Felton reveals the childhood side effect of playing Draco Malfoy: ‘It did me no favors with the girls’

Felton capably played the snotty son of an elitist wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. Draco Malfoy always believed himself superior to other young wizards, even if he didn’t necessarily have the skills to prove it. Felton practically spat the word “Potter” out of his mouth with venom and vitriol multiple times in each movie. 

In short, Felton was a very believable villain, and the side effect hit at his personal life, as he told The Guardian:

“Some people really struggle with the idea that I wasn’t this special, popular kid, but I was walking around with dyed hair and played an evil wizard. It wasn’t cool. It did me no favors with the girls.”

Tom Felton

Radcliffe can identify. His rapid rise to international superstar status presented side effects, too. The lack of anonymity meant he wasn’t able to make mistakes and learn from them the way most children do. Felton is now the one unable to make mistakes with his latest project.

Felton is taking a cue from Radcliffe with his current project

Radcliffe’s post-Potter career has seen him play several eclectic characters on the big screen, but it started on the stage. Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hit theaters, Radcliffe starred on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Felton’s timeline differs from Radcliffe’s, but he’s now starring on the stage in 2:22 A Ghost Story at London’s Criterion Theatre. Felton was a grade-schooler the last time he acted on stage, and 2:22 is hardly an easy route back to the stage.

“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’s Draco Malfoy fame came with the side effect of having trouble with girls in school. The challenge of starring in 2:22 is to read every line correctly and hit every cue night in and night out with all eyes in the audience on him.

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