An actor's first directing gig is a big deal. Stepping behind the screen after years acting in front of it involves the flexing of whole different areas of your brain, and an entirely different relationship with the finished product. So this is pretty big news for former Harry Potter actor Tom Felton: His BBC documentary Tom Felton Meets The Superfans finally has a scheduled airdate. And it's soon! Mark your calendars for March 23, folks, because is there anyone more qualified to make a documentary about fandom than a former core actor in the Harry Potter series?
There are only a handful of people who could possibly compete when it comes to making a documentary about modern fandom — Joss Whedon, for example, or Benedict Cumberbatch, or perhaps Daniel Radcliffe or JK Rowling herself. But there's no denying he's in a pretty prime position: He played Draco Malfoy, after all, a character the Harry Potter fandom especially loved to play around with. Felton grew up knowing one side of fandom very, very intimately — namely the side in which you're an object of said fandom. So the prospect of seeing him broaden his horizons and explore fandom from other angles? That's both exciting and refreshing, as the activities of fandom are often relegated to late night talk show jokes when it comes to bringing them face-to-face with the actors who inspire it.
Felton's long been a good sport about the Harry Potter fan, engaging it arguably the most of the core Harry Potter cast and delivering great moments like this one, in which he talks about Drarry fanart with Conan O'Brien.
In that clip he follows the late night fandom-talk rubric and expresses a flabbergasted feeling at all the, er, non-canonical ships and their extracurricular activities. But he also spends a lot of time at the beginning praising fan works. And then there's this quote from Felton, to Just Jared about the documentary, which I like even better:
It’s just kind of a chance for me to have a more in[-]depth look at the world of super fans, and these people [who] have followed franchises — kind of at the root of why Harry Potter was so successful. It had such an active fan base. It’s allowed people to be passionate about stuff that maybe they couldn’t be so open with in previous years. It’s kind of a look into that; it’s a road trip journey with me narrating.
And this one:
It was a massive insight for me, going behind the ropes and seeing what people actually do to stand behind a railing at an event. You don’t really think about the three hours it took them to stand there and get the best spot.
People will go to great lengths for Draco Malfoy. So who better to explore that than the man himself?