Dudley’s story seems to be changing.

IIf you’ve only seen Harry Melling on screen, you’d probably think he’s a very serious guy. He just plays restless or intense characters – an armless, legless performer in a Coen Brothers gem Buster Scruggs song; Mad preacher Roy Who Satan all the timeWho spills spiders on his face. And the last role is Edgar Allan Poe, the tormented American poet whose dark imagination sprang terrifying tales of death and darkness.

Meet Harry Melling, as we do at a luxury London hotel in late November, and you’ll find him even more relaxed and silly. Dressed in a striped knit jumper and comfy pants, the 33-year-old actor is friendly, quick to laugh, and, for a few odd minutes, bent on persuasion. NME We should eat more bananas. “I honestly don’t think I could live without them!” He says, shove one of them into his mouth with lightning speed.

“I played conflicted, troubled characters.”

In addition to the advantages of soft fruit, Mealing is happy to tell of Poe’s playing in them Pale blue eye. NetflixThe moody mystery debuted last week, starring Christian Bale as Augustus Landor – a downtrodden detective assigned to investigate the gruesome murders at West Point Military Academy in the 19th century. Bale is the main draw here, but it’s Melling who has the internet in swing.

He is hailed as a scene-stealer on social mediaPooh, the fictional Pooh, is a young apprentice who becomes Landor’s friend. He goes from nervous assistant to pretentious confrontation to frustrated prodigy in seconds, displaying the kind of range most actors take decades to develop. It’s not a happy role — Poe died an alcoholic and mysteriously died at the age of 40 — so Melling had to delve deeper into the nooks and crannies of the human psyche.

“I’ve played a few conflicted, troubled characters… and I’d like to think it’s not true that everyone is capable of great evil,” he says. “I think some people are pushed to the limit and…they can overcome that. They come out to the other side and have a different outlook on life. I think that’s a wonderful thing.”

Pale blue eye
Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Credit: Netflix

Later, when we touch on the same topic with Bill, he will give us the opposite answer. “It is quite true that under a lot of pressure, a person can commit an awful act,” he says, tucked away in a room up the hall from Harry’s. “This movie is a fictional origin story about how my character, Landor, influenced Poe to become the hard-drinking guy he became — why he ended up dead in a gutter in Baltimore in someone else’s clothes.”

Unlike his co-star, it is in Mealing’s nature to focus on the positive. Everything is “cool” or “cool”. He’s fascinated by innocuous, everyday things (bananas, discovering we share a hairdresser). He even manages to find courage in Poe – widely considered to be the sickest author ever.

Poe was a dark, apocalyptic writer who lived a dark life, but even on the inside for him “The stories there are an element of fun,” he says. “You can kind of see him enjoying it… there [lightness] In those very long sentences. I like to think he enjoyed the dark side rather than adhering to it.”

Dudley Dursley will always be there – I accept that.

sEvolving to the dark side is what Melling specializes in now, but he had to work hard for that picture. For many years, he was best known as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films.

Mealing was first cast as the wizard’s spoiled cousin in 1999 when he was ten years old, and has appeared in five of the seven box office-busting films. He lost weight during that time and had to wear a fat suit for it Deathly Hallows – Part One. This means he’s rarely recognized by Potterheads, but he’s still out of his way to further erase that link. Mealing did not attend his 20th anniversary in 2021 – and there is no trace of the wholesome Hogwarts vibe in his later filmography.

Dudley Dursley
Dudley Dursley and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). Credit: Alamy

It is not ashamed The young bully. He is actually quick to stress how unique the experience was. It just happened over a decade ago – and he’d like to move on now, please.

“You will always be there and I accept that,” he said in a well-rehearsed voice to someone who had answered that question many times before. “I would just like the conversation to be about what I’m doing now rather than something I did when I was 10. I think it’s like You are“He points a semi-accusatory finger,” he was asked about an article You are wrote when You are 10. How do you feel about it? He has a point. In January 2013, NME have just developed Palma violet On the cover – It is now being sent to the towering trash heap that is an independent landfill.

“I am always amazed at the generational power of Harry Potter”

After Potter, Mealing immersed himself in his craft. He wrote plays, studied theater, and went to acting school at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. This allowed him to be “really bad at acting,” he says, “and work up an operation.” Small parts of British television (BBC period drama Jarrow LawSunday night adventure Knights) showed filmmakers what he could do, before launching a string of arthouse titles incl Benedict Cumberbatch vehicle current war An epic exploration The lost city of Z. Then there is his work on Netflix: Buster Scruggs And Satan all the timeas well as blockbuster films old guard An exciting game of chess Queen’s maneuver. With a growing body of work behind him, does he feel he has finally escaped Dudley’s looming presence?

“I think so,” says Mealing hesitantly, “but I’m always amazed at the generational power of Harry Potter. My friends have kids now.” [into the books] And they’re like: “Uncle Harry Dudley!” If someone mentions Harry Potter to me, of course that’s something I’d share. This narrative seems to be changing though, which is great.”

Harry Melling
Alongside Christian Bale in The Pale Blue Eye. Credit: Netflix

DrDespite his growing reputation in Hollywood – directors like the Coens and Pale blue eyeSeeking Scott Cooper now for him Outside – cry remains humble. He is very polite and still lives in his hometown of London. He admits he searches for himself on Wikipedia, but only to ask for corrections: “I always get birthday cards on March 13th, which isn’t my birthday.” Ask him about his bright future, and he deflects the question.

“I try as much as possible not to go out and see the bigger picture,” he says. “I’ve always told myself that if I focus on work, I hope everything else will fall into place.” It’s a nice theory, but that’s not really how it works in practice. Sign up successfully and you’ll receive a tidal wave of offers, but book a fail and that soon goes away. You can’t just rely on your own talent.

“Being an actor is like snakes and ladders”

“That’s the game,” says Mealing. “It’s like snakes and ladders. If I’m always consciously aware of the doors that might open (or close), I worry that they’ll get in the way of the choices I make — and I don’t want that.”

He is more than happy to discuss what may never happen. on Reddit, There is a fan thread of Melling as the psychotic DC villain Joker; And during our research, we came across a post that suggested it might make for something good Morrissey in smith Biography (Bad News, 2017 England is mine He was already playing Essex heartthrob Jack Lowden).

“I always find this fan stuff cool,” says Mealing. “Grand [actor Patrick Troughton] He was the Second Doctor, and people always say things like, “Oh, you should do that.” But I have never met him! It’s funny what people think on the internet will be a good choice for you. the Joker? Morrissey? I’m flattered.”

Harry Melling
Mealing attends a press event in London. Credit: Getty

Melling’s next job IRL looks like a sausage. It’s Michael Winterbottom Promised Land A crime thriller that takes place in Tel Aviv, where he plays a policeman in the 1930s chasing Zionist freedom fighter Abraham Stern. In terms of the format, he prefers not to discuss the film — but does tell us that he just got back from shooting it in Italy, where he had tickets to see. Kendrick Lamar. His schedule means he can’t go, which was poignant: “I really like Kendrick. I love his music.” What else is he listening to at the moment? “I really enjoy the new one Arctic monkeys album,” he says. “I have an eclectic taste.”

Given his lineage in portraying unstable characters, we ask if there is a musician who would like to play. He began, “The thing about passion projects is that you can put a lot of pressure on them. Suddenly that thing becomes an obsession and you end up not wanting to do it. It can turn into a very big cloud of anxiety hovering over you.” Meiling doesn’t need it, it’s still on the rise. whatever Do you Do it next, as we’re sure it won’t involve any magic wand.

“The Pale Blue Eye” is now streaming on Netflix

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