Exclusive

Harry Melling Is So Much More Than Dudley Dursley From the Harry Potter Films

For an exclusive chat with E! News, Harry Melling talked The Queen's Gambit, the Harry Potter films and more.

By Alyssa Ray Dec 11, 2020 8:00 PMTags
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Dudley Dursley no more.

We had this very thought while sitting down for an exclusive chat with Harry Potter alum Harry Melling to discuss his role in the Netflix hit, The Queen's Gambit. If you're like us, then you were raised on the Harry Potter books and films. Thus, the chance to speak to the actor who portrayed Harry Potter's brutish cousin was a dream come true.

However, throughout our conversation with Harry, we realized he's so much more than the role from his childhood. The Harry we met was humble, handsome, intelligent and passionate about his craft.

In fact, while discussing how The Queen's Gambit shattered viewership records—62 million households tuned into the show in 28 days—Harry called the show's success "flattering" and "a bit overwhelming."

As Harry continued, he noted that he didn't necessarily expect this reaction to the show, but always believed in it.

"I believe in the director, the character, the writing, the other actors involved," Harry told us. "I try not to think too much about the aftermath of it when it's released, how well it's gonna do. Because, ultimately, that is completely out of my control."

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Per the 31-year-old actor, the only thing he can control "is the work." And, boy, did he bring it.

In the drama series about chess, Harry plays local chess champion Harry Beltik, who main character Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) defeats in her first tournament. We found ourselves rooting for the sweet, smart and steadfast character, especially when he romantically pursued Beth.

And we weren't the only ones in Harry's corner. One fan on Twitter even declared, "Just finished The Queens Gambit. May I just say I am truly in love with Harry Beltik."

When asked about this fan attention, Harry offered up a chuckle and said about his character, "I don't know. Well, I think the fact that he does change is an interesting point. The fact that he starts off as this plucky character who's ready to take back his trophy and the Kentucky chess championship and then, of course, his bubble is burst very quickly by Beth."

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Continuing on this point, Harry reflected on how his character revaluated his love of chess, purpose in life and more.

"His world, sort of, does move and shift," he relayed. "And I think what he latches on to, with all these shifts, is a sense of honor, it's a sense of doing the right thing, it's a sense of love, really. Love beyond a romantic love for this person."

After giving this insightful response, Harry quipped, "But, I couldn't talk about what's appealing about him. Maybe it's something about that! I don't know."

In addition to having the same name, Harry identified other similarities he shares with his Queen's Gambit character.

"There's gonna be similarities in every character you play, I think," he sounded off. "There's I think a softness to both of us, there's a thoughtfulness, there's a soulfulness maybe."

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According to the British performer, there's a little bit of himself in every character he plays, even the ones that are "really far removed from [him]."

Here's looking at you, Dudley Dursley. (Just kidding.)

In actuality, Harry was referring to his recent role in Netflix's Southern gothic, The Devil All the Time. The film featured Harry as Roy Laferty, a preacher who poured dangerous spiders on his head as part of his sermon.

Harry has certainly taken on some impressive projects since wrapping the Harry Potter franchise, including The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Old Guard and the upcoming The Tragedy of Macbeth.

While Harry credited drama school for shaping him as an actor, he revealed that he does sometimes turn to the lessons he learned while making the Harry Potter films.

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

"I think when you're younger and you get told, 'This your mark, you enter, you stand on your mark, you say your line after three seconds, you then turn around and then leave,' that's what you kind of do as a kid," he reflected. "There is a kind of bliss to that, there really is. Often times, when I'm on a set and I'm trying to work something out that maybe I'm making overly complicated…I sometimes think back to that 10-year-old boy."

Looking back on those movies, Harry stated that he "learned so much" during that time.

"I worked with some really amazing people on those films," Harry concluded. "I learned so much, just in terms of…probably, playfulness, finding the game within the scene and finding the energy within the scene and those are all things that I think I carried with me."

The Queen's Gambit is streaming now on Netflix.

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