The 35-year-old actor, who played Draco Malfoy in the films, tells all in his new memoir.
Tom Felton gives Harry Potter fans a backstage pass to the magical wizarding world in his newly released memoir, Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard.
The 35-year-old British actor, who had several small parts as a child star before landing the coveted role of Slytherin bully Draco Malfoy, gives Potter fans the ultimate lowdown on one of the biggest film franchises of all time.
In his new memoir, Felton goes behind-the-scenes of the films, sharing set secrets and funny anecdotes about the cast and crew of the beloved movies, which were adapted from J.K. Rowling's seven best-selling novels.
From Draco, Harry, and Dumbledore grabbing a smoke break together and Felton's secret arrest to Alan Rickman exploding at his co-stars for stepping on his "f**king cloak," here are the most magical set secrets Felton reveals:
1. Alan Rickman, the late actor who played Severus Snape, changed the label on his dressing room door in the fifth film to "The Half-Blood Prince." The move was a nod to his anti-hero character's big reveal in the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
2. Felton's grandfather, geophysicist Nigel Anstey, served as his chaperone on the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Director Chris Columbus saw the older man wandering around the set and offered him a part as a wizard who sits at the Hogwarts staff table in the Great Hall and who later appears in the Quidditch pitch.
3. Speaking of the Great Hall, Felton reveals that the crew kept the actors playing the first-year students away from that particular set until the moment they were filmed stepping foot on it, so that their reactions of shock and awe were genuine when they first entered the Great Hall.
4. While filming stunts with magical creatures and objects, the actors often had to follow a tennis ball on the end of a stick with their eyes. During one scene, they had to look at an object lovingly, and Felton writes that Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) chose a particularly beautiful photo of Cameron Diaz, while he landed on "an even more beautiful carp," as he was a fisherman.
5. When the creatures weren't green screened or CGI'd, they caused a bit of a stir on set. Felton recalls filming a later-cut scene for The Chamber of Secrets in which a live baboon was on the set, pleasuring himself in front of Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall).
6. Having so many kids around set led to numerous instances where the actors broke character and couldn't stop laughing. Director Chris Columbus found a way to combat this by giving the actors red cards when they laughed, which meant they had to give £10 to a charity. Felton writes that co-star Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) did it so often that it cost him a £2,500 donation from the first two films alone.
7. Felton's nickname for Grint is the "Ginger Ninja" and he talks about their respective eccentric spending after the Potter paychecks. Grint bought two llamas that then turned into 16 llamas after learning they mated "enthusiastically." Felton also reveals that Grint bought an ice cream van that he used to drive around villages and hand out ice cream to unsuspecting kids.
8. In regard to the late Rickman, Felton shares that he always handled child visitors to the set in the best way possible. While Felton tried to be friendly, he says that Rickman was fully in character as his no-nonsense Potions master and that the kids loved it.
9. But while he had great admiration for Rickman, he also shares an anecdote about the late actor's temperamental side while filming Half-Blood Prince. Rickman had a long cape that billowed behind him as a group of Death Eaters were meant to be following him. Before the take, he turned to the other actors in the scene and menacingly threatened, "Don't step on my f**king cloak."
Felton says that at the time, Rickman did not seem to be joking, giving them all a "chilly stare." Of course, Felton accidentally stepped on the cloak on the first take and a second actor did it on the second, leading Rickman to declare, "I'm not f**king doing this again!" He later realized that Rickman "was a man with a brilliantly dry sense of humor" and was embracing his role. He later writes that Rickman insisted Felton get the same kind of director's chair that the adult actors on the set had.
"It was a small thing," Felton writes. "But I'll never forget that moment of kindness. Alan wanted a younger cast member to be treated like an equal to these leading lights. He didn't have to do it, but the fact that he did spoke volumes about the man he was."
10. Though the role never made it into the final film, Felton reveals that actor Rik Mayall played the part of Peeves, the Hogwarts poltergeist. While Felton felt the casting was perfect, the role was ultimately cut from the final film despite filming all of his scenes.
11. Felton, Radcliffe, and Dumbledore actor Michael Gambon used to enjoy "a breath of fresh air" together, which is to say, they used to take a smoke break on set. So if one happened to be walking by, they'd see Draco, Harry, and Dumbledore huddled together having a cigarette.
12. While Radcliffe, Grint, and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) found themselves in a trio together, Felton notes that life also imitated art for him and his Slytherin cronies, Josh Herdman (Goyle) and Jamie Waylett (Crabbe). They got into lots of hijinks while filming the movie, including recording a number of "hardcore gangster rap" songs that Felton says still exist.
13. Growing up on the set, Felton admits to not always knowing who famous actors were. He once thought he was passing a member of the janitorial staff and complimented him on the squeaky clean floors. It turned out, he was speaking to Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman, who played Sirius Black.
14. Felton goes in-depth about his unique relationship with Watson in the book. But in one funny moment, he shares that on set for the second film, he learned that Watson's character, Hermione, would be slapping him across the face in the third film, Prisoner of Azkaban. He told her this and asked if she wanted to practice, meaning a stage slap. She agreed, not realizing he meant a fake slap and hit him so hard "she nearly had me in tears."
15. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Felton had arguably his biggest scene as Draco, when his character is struggling with having to kill Dumbledore. He said filming the movie was "gratifying" because everything he shot ended up in the final film. But even more gratifying was a letter he received from J.K. Rowling on her home stationary praising his performance, which he has framed.
16. Felton reveals he got into two scrapes with the law during his time filming the movies, but the news never got out. The first was when he was 14 and tried to steal a DVD of an "adult nature" from his local HMV store (like a British Best Buy). He was caught and his photo was put up in the store, where it could still be to this day. He recalls another time where he "was going through a typical adolescent phase" and got caught for weed possession. He was arrested at the time, but says that Warner Bros. never found out about it.
17. Felton also shares a touching story about stunt artist David Holmes or "Holmesey" as they called him. While filming a scene for Deathly Hallows, Holmes was flying through the air and hit a wall much harder than intended. Paramedics had to rush him to the hospital. He was paralyzed from the waist down with limited use of his arms for the rest of his life. The cast, with Felton and Radcliffe as captains, have an annual Slytherin vs. Gryffindor cricket match to raise money for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in his honor.
18. The meme-able awkward hug between Draco and Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in the final film was improvised. Felton says that the moment "gave me goosebumps then" and "still gives me goosebumps now." He thought it was very creepy and British audiences agreed. But America audiences found it to be "absolutely hilarious."
"To this day, I have no idea why. But I love it!" he writes.
19. Felton writes about his long-term relationship with actress and stunt assistant Jade Olivia. He met her while filming the fourth film during a scene in the Great Hall when he was 17. She was playing a Gryffindor extra. "She was about the same age as me, had glowing, tanned skin and long, jet-black eyelashes," he writes. "She looked absolutely gorgeous. I know mine was not the only head she turned."
They dated for many years beyond Potter and even moved in together in Los Angeles. He ultimately ended the relationship following a brief stint in rehab.
20. In discussing the rabid fan base, Felton notes that one American fan legally changed his name to Lucius Malfoy and his house name to Malfoy Manor and wanted him to come live with him.
Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard is on sale now.