IN THE 2000s, Tom Felton was a child actor at the heart of one of the biggest literary and film franchises in modern history. But at the time, the Harry Potter star, who played Draco Malfoy to sneering perfection over eight films, was slightly more preoccupied with what his brothers thought of his hair.
Every day was a good hair day for Draco Malfoy, the ice-blond rival to Daniel Radcliffe’s casually dishevelled Harry Potter. Felton admits, though, that his slicked-back, platinum ’do wasn’t easy to achieve. “Honestly, I’m amazed there’s any [hair] left,” he tells Esquire, lounging in a cognac leather armchair in east London. “Even when I wasn’t filming for months on end, I had to go back to the studio to get my roots done… which I’m sure you can imagine, got some great banter from my brothers. They also used about a tub of hair pomade for each take.”
These brothers—he’s one of four, and the youngest—were key to his time navigating an unusual childhood, largely spent on set and in the company of older actors.
“I was nine going on 15,” he laughs. “With older brothers, you grow up very quickly—but they also kept me incredibly grounded. They didn’t care what I was doing… At home, I still wasn’t allowed to use the remote control.”
So how did he feel when he was invited back into the world of magic, in a new commercial for Uber Eats?
“When I saw what the idea was, I couldn’t resist,” he says. “Someone asked me the other day, are you bored of it? But I embrace it. To get to be a part of something that’s been passed down from generation to generation… I love it.”
In the commercial, Felton looks back to a portrait of himself from his Harry Potter days, somewhat wistfully. Stirred, he orders a wand from Uber Eats but soon finds out—following a series of unfortunate events involving a disappearance, a vigil and an arrest—that while the platform can deliver a lot more than just takeaway food (including alcohol, groceries and other necessities), its capabilities don’t quite extend to magic.
Wizardry isn’t the main focus of Felton’s life anymore, and perhaps, after watching the commercial, you’ll agree it’s for the best. There are other creative pursuits on his horizon. Last year, he published his memoir, Beyond the Wand, which features musings on his time on set, his struggles with addiction and mental health and his friendships with his co-stars including Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (who also provides the foreword).
“I look back with nothing but good memories,” he says. “It sounds so cheesy every time I say it, but we’re all like family. But all rarely in the same corners of the world at the same time.” Though he does play a lot of golf with the Weasley twins (James and Oliver Phelps, in real life. And yes, he can tell them apart.).
Felton also recently made his West End debut in 2:22: A Ghost Story, and is currently tinkering with music. “I do [write], everyday. Whether it’s music, or scribbles, or whatever. And I hope to do more theatre.” But he’s not too fussed on looking deeply into the future.
“I’ve got two hungry dogs which take up a lot of my time. I’ll just get through today and see what comes next.”