Belfast Telegraph

Lewis likes post-Potter bad role

Matthew Lewis has revealed that Harry Potter fans will be surprised at his next TV role.

In his first part since the Harry Potter films ended, the British actor - best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the wizarding series - will portray a druggie called Jamie in The Syndicate, a five-part BBC TV series written by Kay Mellor.

"Jamie is a drug-taking, mouthy scallywag from a council estate in Leeds and Neville is a shy, reserved boy wizard who's afraid of his own shadow. On the surface they are world's apart. However, when you scratch below that surface they have similarities," he said.

Matthew - who is filming his first post-Potter big-screen role in Wasteland alongside Timothy Spall and Luke Treadaway - said he didn't actively seek to play a bad boy.

"I connected with the character of Jamie instantly and wanted to play him from the moment I read the script. The fact that he was a 'bad lad' didn't really factor in my decision making. I just knew I wanted to tell Jamie's story and thankfully Kay granted me that opportunity," the 22-year-old said.

"A lot of people will dislike him and they will find him on the surface to be a pretty disagreeable bloke. He's been through a lot but I'm not asking people to justify his behaviour, I just hope they understand it on a human level.

"That for me is the challenge, and that is what drew me to him. I'm really passionate about this guy and this story."

:: The Syndicate is set to air on BBC One in late March.

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