Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard

Grand Central: Life & Style. Oct. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781538741368. $28. FILM
A memoir about the author’s precocious acting career, which began at the tender age of 10. Felton says that he was just an average kid obsessed with football and fishing when his life changed after being cast as bad boy Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series. By the time of the Harry Potter auditions in 1999, Felton had already performed in prominent film roles: as Jim Broadbent’s son in The Borrowers, and as Jodie Foster’s son in Anna and the King. Then he auditioned, along with thousands of others, to play series protagonist Harry Potter, but his cockiness and nonchalance impressed director Chris Columbus, who thought he was a good choice to play Harry’s adversary, Malfoy. The film franchise would catapult Felton and his costars to international superstardom, as Felton describes here. He tells illuminating stories about typical days on the Harry Potter set, the filming of complex scenes (particularly the series’ famous flying Quidditch scenes), working with animals, and his relationships with peer costars Daniel Radcliff, Emily Watson, Robert Grint and the film’s notable veteran actors (including Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman). He is especially forthcoming about his success, which he reflects as almost accidental, and a dark period following the Harry Potter years, when he battled addiction and spent time in rehab.
VERDICT An honest, at times humorous, and entertaining memoir that movie buffs, especially Harry Potter fans, will enjoy.
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