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Bonnie Wright and Tom Felton Talk About 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'

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Tom Felton Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.'

© Warner Bros Pictures
Two characters who've played important although relatively minor (in the overall scheme of things) roles in Harry Potter films 1 thru 5 come into their own in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Ron Weasley's little sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright), is now an independent thinker unafraid to stand up against bullies and bad wizards. And Harry, Ron and Hermione's nemesis, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), is at the center of an evil scheme in this sixth film of the Harry Potter franchise.

At Warner Bros Pictures' press day for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Daniel Radcliffe ('Harry') had nothing but praise for the actor who plays his enemy. "I think for Tom to come in on this film, and to be honest, not having been asked to do a great deal for the last few years, to come in and give the performance in the sixth film is remarkable. And it's a fantastic performance," said Radcliffe.

And Wright, who was only 10 years old when the first Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) hit theaters, has grown into a lovely young lady right before our eyes. Together for the press conference, Wright and Felton talked about how their characters have evolved over the years.

Bonnie Wright and Tom Felton at the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Press Conference

How did you feel about coming into this film in a big way?

Tom Felton: “It was a great opportunity for myself to dive a little bit deeper into Draco's head and discover that he really is a coward, through and through, really. So, no, it was great fun, though, to explore a bit deeper, make him more three- dimensional.”

Bonnie Wright: “Yeah, the same with me. I think we got more to sort of look at [that] with your character. It’s not just, you know, one section in the beginning and then at the end of the film. It’s going to continue, in development, so I was able to sort of take the character further and sort of more to do.”

Has it finally set in that the Harry Potter series is ending?

Tom Felton: “I don’t think that when they finish filming that it will be the end of us portraying the characters. I think there will always be a little bit of us, inside of us, that will always remain. At least inside of me, so to speak. [Laughing] But I am certainly enjoying it rather than sort of looking ahead and getting a bit sad about it. I’m going to make the most of it and certainly cry my eyes out when it’s finished.”

J.K. Rowling was still writing the books as the earlier ones were being filmed. How did the process work of you reading these books, knowing that you were going to you’d have play what these characters were doing, specifically in books six and seven?

Tom Felton: “I read it and just revel in the pages. Whenever I see Draco’s name, I think, ‘Oh my God, this is it, this is cool. This is what I get to do.’ I think when the sixth one came out, I think I read it in probably 12 hours of it coming out. I didn’t actually queue up outside, but I had a friend who was doing it for me. So, I enjoy it thoroughly.”

Bonnie Wright: “I think also, obviously with the relationship…from my perspective, with Ginny obviously knowing that…reading the epilogue in the final section, in order to make the relationship work in the sixth film, I sort of had to block that section out, obviously, because no one knows their own destiny if you are playing a character. So I think you just have to forget about what happens in the final one. Obviously, we all read it, so we knew what happens. But you just have to be in the moment in order…”

Tom Felton: “Yeah, take one at a time.”

After finishing up the Harry Potter films will you continue acting or do you have any other ambitions?

Tom Felton: “Yeah, I definitely want to continue acting. I quite enjoy it. I don’t know what else I’d really be doing if this didn’t really work out. I don’t know. Hopefully, after this there will be more films coming along. We’ll wait and see.”

“I was always a bit uncertain, in years previous, if this was the path I wanted to choose. But in the past year, I’ve really built up a passion for films and filmmaking. Not just acting, but everything that goes into it - the lighting and the sound recording and all the rest of it. So I would certainly like to continue it as long as I can.”

Bonnie Wright: “The same with me. I think as the experiences have gone on, I’ve kind of realized, luckily, that this is the career that I want to continue in. Also, I’m going to film school in September, so I’m also very interested in the wider elements, like directing and cinematography. This film has definitely been a big inspiration for me.”

What school?

Bonnie Wright: “I’m staying in London, so I’m going to film school within University of the Arts London, which is the main arts school.”

Tom, in this film how did you take Draco from being cocky to more vulnerable?

Tom Felton: “This really links in with David [Yates, the director]. I was terrified, before starting the film, about approaching him in this whole new light. He’s always been very two-dimensional in previous years, and we had to take a new angle with it. But David was very clear and concise with this ghost-like image, with this sort of glaze over his eyes, constantly. He did some rehearsals with Michael [Gambon] and Alan [Rickman], which, again, I was sh-tting myself, massively before doing. He’s like a father almost. He sort of made sure that it was all okay. Certainly, any praise that I get is down to his great direction.”

How do you feel when J.K. Rowling visits the set?

Tom Felton: “I haven’t seen her in a while, but I had the pleasure of seeing her two nights ago at the London premiere. Obviously, as an actor on her project, you do want to hear what she has to say. And she was very complimentary about the whole film, which is the ultimate honor. For her to be happy with the performances, I think is truly great for us.”

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters on July 15, 2009 and is rated PG for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality.

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