Harry Melling, who portrays Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films, is padded up for Deathly Hallows. However, when Melling, now 20, showed up to prepare for filming, he was nearly unrecognizable (see photo here). The overweight youngster is now a good looking slimmed-up young man – barely recognizable as “Big D.” So, what to do? Well, get some padding, of course.
So, how did this magical transformation come about?
“It was nearly two years ago,” he says, refusing the offer of breakfast. “I was doing a show at the National Youth Theatre, playing an old man. Before that I had played fat clowns and I thought, ‘If I want to have the career I would like, I am going to have to lose weight.’ I was just starting drama school, and found I was moving around a lot. I also started to eat sensibly. The weight just dropped off. I went from 16st to 11st 5lb.”
He said when he got the role of Dudley he was eating ridiculous amounts of unhealthy foods. So he began losing weight by eating healthier.
He also talked about how he got in for his audition for the Dudley role saying that his mother sent his photo in for a role, thinking maybe he could be an extra.
“She sent off my photos to the producers of the Potter films when I was 10, thinking I might be an extra. A year later I was asked to read for Dudley. When I got the part, I thought: ‘Ooh, I’m in a film’, not that I was cast as fat and ugly.’”
He stated that after he had the part, that nobody ever recognized him, and he kept very quiet about it. Although he wasn’t one of the Hogwarts students and didn’t get to work with Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) or Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), he did get to work with Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley) and Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley), and learned a lot by watching them.
He wasn’t in the 6th film, so it was quite a shock for the producers when he showed up for the Deathly Hallows.
Dudley doesn’t feature in the sixth Potter film, so there was a long gap between playing the butterball bully in the fifth, aged 16, and shooting the seventh film, this year. In the meantime, he had changed almost beyond recognition, to the producers’ alarm. “They did this double-take, ‘Oh my God, we are going to have to do something,’ and I felt very guilty. They could have recast, but instead they padded me out.”
He’s currently working with his fictional mother again, Fiona Shaw, playing her son in Mother Courage.
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