ALFRED ENOCH
We catch up with the Harry Potter star and reflect on his life after Hogwarts


STUDIO: So where did it all begin? What was your earliest experience of acting?

Alfred Enoch: My dad's an actor, so it is something I grew up with. I always knew it was something I wanted to do, even from the age of 5. My dad always looked like he had a good time on stage and I thought that it looked like fun!

 

My first experience of acting was actually during the opening season of the Globe in 1997. I was 8 years old and I ended up reading a sonnet in something called the 'Sonnet walks'- an event held in celebration of Shakespeare's birthday. The idea was that people would go on a walking tour through London and at particular areas, that were relevant to Shakespeare's life, actors would ambush them and recite sonnets. It was a cool idea and the audience had a fun little sting because they would often flock around my father, expecting to hear him read (he looked like a venerable actor with his white hair and respectable stance) then I'd pop out and say my little bit!

 

STUDIO: So your father is actor William Russell (played Ian Chesterton in Dr Who). Have you ever considered doing a film/play together?

AE: I would love to do a show with my dad and I have always thought that, that's something I want to do. They are actually doing a special for the 50th Anniversary of Dr Who and he was in the original series, so he does bits and bobs like the audio books, etc. He said it's amazing because it's a job he did back in 1963 and work still comes from it; even now. But yes, I would love work with my dad but I don't know how up for stage work he'd be at the moment.

 

STUDIO: Speaking of phenomenons, let's talk about Harry Potter! It was a huge part of your life and we watched you grow up on set. What do you feel you gained most from the experience?

AE: This is always a difficult question, because it's hard to evaluate something that went on for 10 years. It was the longest running institution of my life and it was an amazing opportunity that presented itself before I even worked out how I'd go about and do it. It was a bit 'fairy tale', like when a kid says, 'Oh, I want to be an astronaut', but they don't actually sit down and think, I need to study astrophysics or be incredibly fit to get there. That's how it felt when I got the role in Harry Potter; I just knew it was an acting opportunity and it was something that I wanted to do. It was an extraordinary thing to be part of and it was so much fun. The people were lovely and I have come out of it doing the career that I always wanted to do. That's the ultimate gift.

 

STUDIO: You must have been gutted when it ended.

AE: Yes, definitely. It was like so strange when it ended because it was such a consistent routine. At the end of filming you might have a year between wrapping up one movie and starting the other, but you always knew at the end of one you would see everyone again on the next film or at a premiere. It had that regularity that you have at school where you would go away for six weeks in the summer holiday and see everyone after. I made some great friends and the crew were always so patient and kind to us.

 

STUDIO: Was there a lot of havoc and mischief on set?

AE: Yes there were a few mad moments, inevitably, because everyone was just excitable. We were on a film set with hundreds and hundreds of kids. It must have been a logistical nightmare and it's only now you appreciate what a high pressure scenario a film set is and how much work it is.

 

STUDIO: Do people still recognise you and do they call you Dean Thomas?

AE: Yes, they do. It's amazing and I think it's an indication of what a huge, sort of, cultural phenomenon the films and the books were. People call me Dean and I often say that is not my name (laughs), but at the same time I'm surprised when the actually know my real name.

 

STUDIO: Since Harry Potter, you have been in a number of plays and adopted some quite complex roles. Which did you find most challenging?

AE: That's a tricky question because every job brings a whole different host of challenges before you even get to the part; whether you are working on TV, a film set or stage. I did a show at The Old Red Lion, and it was a crazy and difficult play in terms of unpicking it and finding the truth and realism behind very strange characters. I then did a show at the National Theatre, which was a dream as it had always been one of my aspirations to work there. I did two shows back to back: Antigone starring Jodie Whittaker and Christopher Ecclestone and Timon of Athens with Simon Russell Beale. They were difficult because they are two very challenging classical plays; but I was working with incredible actors and directors, so I was well supported and felt spoilt in a sense as they made the job a whole lot easier. It allowed me to have conviction in what I was doing.

 

STUDIO: Do you ever find yourself drawing on your own experience when taking on roles?

AE: Yes. Well, sometimes when you draw on your own experiences and find parallels with the characters it can be quite scary. I performed The Seagull by Anton Chekov when I was at university in The Oxford play house. I played the part of Trigorin, who is a middle age man dealing with incredibly complex issues about his own status and how he feels about his art, what he has achieved and how people perceive his work. Dealing with this character's insecurities causes you to enter a very dark place and I suppose I ended up seeing little bits of myself in the character that I didn't like; it was an unpleasant place to be. There are very weird moments when you feel... well, I wasn't very fun to be around. My girlfriend was happy when it ended!

 

STUDIO: You have a degree in languages and can speak Spanish and Portuguese. Have you ever considered putting your language skills to use in future projects? Perhaps, roles in foreign films or plays?

AE: Yes, I would love to. I almost ended up doing a movie in Spain, but it didn't happen in the end. There are certain plays that I would love to take part in, because I studied Spanish literature and a lot of Golden Age Theatre. I'd love act in a play by Tirso de Molina called The Trickster of Seville, because it originates the myth of Don Juan. It would be an amazing to play the outrageous philanderer! He's such a charismatic rogue and the opportunity to perform something that you have studied/feel passionate about would be an amazing thing to do. I've got my fingers crossed waiting for the moment.

 

 

Words by Dominique Prince.

“Harry Potter was a bit like a fairytale.”

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