■ The Harry Potter star, 32, talks Shakespeare, Draco Malfoy’s return and his relationship with Emma Watson
Did you avoid playing baddies after Harry Potter?
I actively hunt them down — it’s what I’m good at! I like playing someone who’s as different from me as possible. And I’m a fairly easy-going guy so villains are good because they usually aren’t that.
You were a child star. Did you have any formal acting training?
I started professionally acting when I was seven, when I played Peagreen Clock in The Borrowers, so I learnt on the job. In fact, my second job, when I was eight, was on something called Second Sight with Clive Owen [who co-stars as Claudius in Ophelia]. And Clive remembered me. Clive looks even younger now, I swear. He looks gorgeous.
So what’s your new film Ophelia about?
It’s a retelling of Hamlet through the eyes of Ophelia. The language is somewhere between old and new, which I think really helps brings a whole new audience to Shakespeare without them feeling like they’ve got to check the dictionary every two minutes. And this is definitely the right time for the retelling of a great story through the eyes of a female lead. This is the time for men to back down and start to appreciate the talent of some of the ladies out there.
Are you Hamlet?
No, I am Laertes, who is bit of a sweetheart. He’s Ophelia’s brother and he doesn’t want his sister [played by Daisy Ridley] getting into too much trouble.
Do you agree with Uncle Monty in Withnail And I that ‘it’s the most devastating moment in a young man’s life when he quite reasonably says to himself, “I shall never play The Dane”’?
I love that movie! ‘As a youth I used to weep in butchers’ shops!’ ‘The carrot has mystery!’ I haven’t seen Withnail And I for a long time. They just don’t make bats*** crazy films like that any more. As to Ophelia, it was just fun to use some of the beautiful language, to wear all the period garb and ride horses around and stuff. Me and George [MacKay, who plays Hamlet] milked the fight for all it was worth. Brilliant.
Who from the Potter cast are you most in touch with?
I’ve seen quite a lot of Emma [Watson, who played Hermione] recently so it would probably be her.
Rumour says you’re an item. Any kissing?
No. Or rather, no comment.
You’ve taught Emma to play the guitar and to skateboard. What next?
I’m slowly working through every category! She teaches me just as much so it’s a pretty equal contribution. We’re both very passionate people about different things and we’re always trading war stories and whatnot.
If there’s a movie of, say, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, would you return as Draco?
Of course I would! I miss the guy. He’s great. He’s so much fun to play so I’d jump at the chance of revisiting him. And I’m definitely hoping I get to play older Draco as the years go on. I have a good feeling.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever been sent by a fan?
Nowadays fans mainly communicate via Instagram. But the weirdest thing was back in the day when someone sent me adoption forms. It was like full-on pages for me to sign to be adopted by them and also to change my name legally to Draco Malfoy.
Now you live in LA, what do miss about the UK?
It’s hard to find a proper sausage in LA. And I miss my mum’s cooking. I’m lucky there’s an English confectionery store around the corner from where I live so I often go there and pay $4 for a packet of Twiglets and $5 for a Toffee Crisp.
What are you up to next?
I’ve just finished a film in Vancouver for Netflix called A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting. I get to play the monster. It was a lot of prosthetics and make-up and wigs, and oh my God, it was so much fun! And now I’m about to go and do a World War II film that I’m really passionate about and I’m also looking after this sodding one-year-old Labrador who is slowly eating everything in my house. She’s called Willow and she’s my heart and soul.
What else does your future hold?
No real game plan. I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. I don’t want to win awards — well, I wouldn’t say no! — but I’m not setting out on that path. I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of the world and I think the best thing in life is making people happy and being kind.
■ Ophelia is in cinemas now and on demand from Friday