Tom Felton has 'painful memory' of laughing at nine-year-old Emma Watson
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Tom Felton has admitted that he still feels ‘ashamed’ for taking the mickey out of his Harry Potter co-star Emma Watson all those years back.
Of course, pretty much the whole cast were all just kids when they got started, and they’ll obviously have behaved exactly as kids might behave in school.
To be fair, Felton played the conniving slick-haired Draco Malfoy in the films, so it might have been a good thing for Watson – who played Gryffindor’s resident boffin Hermione Granger – to dislike him a bit.
Psychologically believable characters make for a better film, even if it is a film about wizards, dragons, and magic.
Recalling a specific ‘painful’ incident in his memoir Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, Felton explained how he met Watson when she was only nine-years-old and he was 12 at auditions for their respective roles.
In the early days, it seems as if there was a genuine degree of animosity between the Gryffindors, with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Watson respectively – all being a bit younger than their Slytherin counterparts, Draco Malfoy, as well as his less-than-intellectual sidekicks Crabbe and Goyle, played by Jamie Waylett and Josh Herdman.
You see, the three Slytherins were all a bit older than their on-screen enemies, and obviously thought that they were all that, like every set of kids does to those a bit younger than them.
Felton wrote: "I suppose we thought we were a bit cooler.
"We'd spend our free time together listening to rap music – Wu-Tang, Biggie, 2Pac.”
Then one day the news filtered through that Watson was putting on a dance performance in her dressing room, wanting her cast-mates to attend.
“We were predictably dismissive,” Felton explained.
“We sniggered our way down to Emma’s show, and the sniggers grew louder as she danced.
“We were just being s***ty boys, largely out of awkwardness and because we thought taking the p**s was cool, but Emma was visibly upset by our thoughtless reaction.
He concluded: “I did feel like a bit of a d**k, and rightly so.”
Still, the incident has clearly stayed with him.
He added: “Everybody moved on. It was just a stupid, teenage act of thoughtlessness, the sort of thing that happens every day.
“So why does that moment stick in my memory? Why is it so painful for me to recall?
“The answer, I think, is that I’ve grown to understand with the passing of the years that of all of us, Emma had the most to deal with, the most difficult situation to negotiate, and from the earliest age.”
He went on to say that ‘the last thing she needed, in an environment that should have been – and normally was – safe and friendly and familial, was Josh and me laughing at her dance.’
“That’s why I feel ashamed by the memory of our behavior,” he said.
“And that’s why I’m glad that our friendship did not founder on the rocks of my insensitivity, but became something deeper. A touchstone for both of our lives.”
In the end, it seems as if the book was at least partly Watson’s idea, although probably not simply so she could get an apology.
In a recent interview, Felton said: “I was encouraged by a few people, Emma Watson specifically, to tell the whole story and not just sort of cherry-pick the fluffy bits,
“Not just because it was cathartic for me.
“But also in the hope that sharing those parts of my story will help others that are maybe not going through the best time.”
Beyond the Wand is available to buy in all good book stores – and presumably some crap ones – right now.