To all the Pottermaniacs out there, do you remember who the first enemy of Harry Potter was? No, I am not talking about Voldemort.
I am talking about someone we all know and hated at the first instance of seeing him, a name starting with the letter D. Now, was that more clear?
Yes, I am talking about Dudley Dursey, Harry Potter’s big bully, spoiled and bratty cousin.
Welcome to Watch Tank, and today we are counting down picks to reveal the ten most incredible things done by actor Harry Melling, also known as the character Dudley Dursey.
Apart from his portrayal of Harry Potter’s cousin, Melling recently also won hearts and praises of people for portraying Steven Merrick in The Old Guard.
Born in London on 31st March 1989, Melling went to St. Paul’s Primary School, Hendon School, and Mill Hill School.
Melling had a good start with the theatres, where he got to perform in stage productions like The Provoked Wife, King John, Antigone, and Plenty. He also played Robert Brown in the BBC television series Just William.
With that interesting career, we are keen to know more about Melling. Do we share the same feeling? Then let’s read on for more details.
Number 10: The transformation from Dudley Dursey
What is the first image that pops up in your head whenever you hear Dudley Dursey? It’s the image of an oversized, spoiled brat, and grumpy kid whose only joy is to trouble Harry. That’s how he was depicted in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an eleven year old kid.
Jump to ten years later in 2010’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, where we see a twenty-one year old Melling, who lost sixty pounds and is almost unrecognizable. He did not look a bit like the original Dursey we knew, and the makers thought to recast someone else for the role. However, Melling reprised his role by wearing a fat suit.
That was a remarkable change for sure, and Melling successfully got rid of those extra kilos. To quote him, “I can now shed the child actor thing, like the fat, and start a new career, because no one sees me as Dudley.”
We are sure of that, Melling. However, won’t we all miss the brawls between Harry and Dursey? Isn’t childhood just so fun to look back at?
Number 9: When reality hits hard
No matter how much people coax or taunt you, one defining moment of self-realization is all you need to get through life.
Melling had his moment as well. Eager to know when? Back in 2009, in one of his interviews, he stated that while he was performing in one of the shows of the National Youth Theatre, he played an overweight older man in a play at the age of fifteen.
That was the moment he had something of an epiphany about his weight. He added, “It was when I was playing this old fat dad I realized I didn’t want to play those roles for the rest of my life. So I started running; I suppose you could say it was a Forrest Gump moment, I just didn’t stop. I also started eating healthily and going to the gym.”
He had thrived on Toffee Crisp and could have five servings of that in a day, but then he started eating sensibly, and the weight dropped gradually.
Wasn’t that inspiring?
Number 8: Dursey got better with time
As millennials, a major part of our childhood was filled with Harry Potter movies and stories. Can you say the same is true for you as well?
We grew up with these characters, saw their transitions, twists, and surprises. While some came to us as shocking revelations, others were the intended character changes, take Dursey for instance.
Instead of just being a bratty fat bully, he gradually started to change for better as the movies were released. There was one particular scene that stated the departure of Dudley from Harry. That scene had some heart-warming dialogues between Harry and Dudley, where Dudley said, “I don’t think you are a waste of space,” to which Harry replied, “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me!”
This one statement was enough to reveal the kind of relationship they shared. Though this scene was edited from the movie, you can still catch it on YouTube.
Dursey was an underrated and hated character, and yet Melling was superb in his portrayal and did justice to the character throughout the movie.
Number 7: Performing stunts himself
From the spoiled bratty cousin and bully to a villainous merciless entrepreneur, Melling made a leap in his career for sure.
We are talking about his latest Netflix project, The Old Guard, where he portrays Steven Merrick, “the youngest CEO in pharma,” as he proudly introduced himself. Apart from the change of image, the best part of this role was doing the stunts himself. He learned the art of complex stunts, performed them well for the movie, and did the absolute best he could. Regarding performing the stunts himself, he added, “I say this with a huge amount of pride because often on this shoot I was sort of watching all the other actors do their amazing choreography bits and being exploded and all sorts. And actually, at the end, without giving too much away, let’s just say I was sort of on a whole wire system levitating in the air. That was pretty exciting. You know, I don’t usually get to do stunts. So, for me that was a very exciting moment.”
We were excited, too, after watching it on screen!
Number 6: Opting for different shades and stories
Actors are known mostly for their versatility. However, we might also find actors from the industry trying to move in a single stream to generate immense fame and success. Ironically for Melling, he opted for characters that were on the more versatile side.
He chose characters that challenged him to bring out the best of him. Cinephiles would have a better understanding of this if they have a thorough look at his selection of roles in his movies, which include The Devil All the Time, The Old Guard, The Ballard of Buster Scruggs, and of course, the Harry Potter franchise. He never failed to amaze his audiences with the variety of his roles and films.
PS: Just a spoiler that this year, we will also see Melling in another Netflix miniseries titled The Queen’s Gambit. All set to watch it?
Number 5: No tantrums for a star kid
Harry Melling is part of a family full of famous stars. He belongs to the famous Troughton acting dynasty.
His grandfather was Patrick Troughton, who made his second doctor’s role in Doctor Who (1963) memorable. In addition, he is also the nephew of actors David Troughton and Michael Troughton. Lastly, he is the first cousin of actor Sam Troughton and Warwickshire cricketer James “Jim” Troughton.
Harry was only four when he started pulling off shows for his family. Belonging to a family of such famous people, he is a brilliant actor himself, proving that he can get by on his own merit. I mean, it would have been normal for him to throw tantrums typical of a star kid.
But Melling kept a low-profile, and instead opted to do the hard work and to struggle to reach his own goals.
We can definitely learn from him, don’t you think?
Number 4: Attitude towards other’s successes
Talking statistically, all of Harry Melling’s co-stars have reached a certain zenith in their careers. Though he might not be as successful as they are, he never missed the chance to be happy for their success. They always had Melling’s back and his words of encouragement and support. Thus, his incredibly wonderful, down-to-earth nature brought him success in his career and will continue to do so in the long run.
Number 3: Proper use of the pandemic period
Everyone has their ways of dealing with this lockdown period. No matter how productive we might become, can you allow yourself to be a bit lazier sometimes?
In one of his previous interviews, Melling stated that Netflix was the primary thing in this lockdown, though he has also spent some quality time reading books. To him, books always open up a new perspective and allow us to see the world in a new way. But he had a good dose of enjoying just being entertained by shows to watch.
Number 2: Harry’s theatrics
Harry’s foray into theatres started at a young age. At the age of eighteen, he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), but he had to leave early to join the company of Mother Courage and her Children at the National Theatre, along with his on-screen mother, Fiona Shaw.
This initiated a long series of theatre roles that included Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse, the Old Vic Theatre’s, King Lear opposite Glenda Jackson, and as a lead actor in the West End version of the hit show Hand to God.
In 2017, Harry also took part in the new Coen Brother’s film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, that premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
Melling has a few more feathers in his cap!
No other actor got cast after Melling
The casting agents of the Harry Potter franchise were very impressed by Melling’s performance. So, even if auditions were held in his Alma Mater, Hendon School, no one got selected for the second movie.
As per Melling, he is a bad traveller. He hates traveling and being late. He just wished to reach a place with one click of his fingers.
Sometimes, even we wish the same.
Before we end, here’s the final one.
Number 1: Parents’ role in weight loss
As per Harry, neither of his parents allow him to overeat, nor do they make it an issue if he did so. It’s normal for children to remain fat, but when their weight starts to have adverse effects on their health, and they are not happy in their own skin, that’s where the problem begins.
Melling has charmed us with his performances, both in films and theatres alike. We loved his shades, but more than that, we loved his humble nature and low-key profile.
That brings us to an end. What’s your impression of Melling? Do share your likes, comments, and reviews in the comments section below.