Harry Potter star Tom Felton is still dealing with typecasting nearly a decade after the film series concluded. Actors often suffer from typecasting after appearing in a major movie or television franchise, especially if they played a very specific, very memorable role. As Draco Malfoy, Felton most certainly made his mark on the Harry Potter films, but he also cemented himself as someone who can reliably play a villain, to the point where he is still playing villainous characters today. He is almost unrecognizable in his most recent role, the Grand Guignol in Netflix’s A Babysitter‘s Guide To Monster Hunting, but he is still playing the film’s primary antagonist.
Felton is most famous for his performance as Malfoy, whom he began playing at age 13. Malfoy took great pleasure in antagonizing Harry Potter and his friends and would later go on to support Voldemort and the Death Eaters. During Malfoy’s gradual redemption arc at the end of the series, Felton effectively portrayed Malfoy’s inner conflict and growing disenchantment with dark magic, making him a deeper, more complex villain.
Felton has consistently starred in new projects after Harry Potter, but many of his roles have something in common in that Felton plays a villain. His Harry Potter co-stars, especially Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, and Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, have branched out considerably after the franchise’s end. Radcliffe and Watson have both experimented with different genres and character archetypes, whereas Felton continues to be typecast as the villain.
Radcliffe and Watson have both broadened their post-Harry Potter with a variety of projects. Radcliffe explored horror with Horns and The Woman In Black. He also starred alongside Paul Dano in the wildly original Swiss Army Man and flexed his comedy chops in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend. Watson took on the mantle of Disney Princess in the remake of Beauty And The Beast and took a chance while playing teenage free-spirit Sam in The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Both actors have shaken their initial Harry Potter roles and proved that they are strong actors in their own right.
While Felton is himself a strong actor, he doesn’t seem to be able to escape Malfoy’s shadow. Alongside the Grand Guignol in A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting, Felton’s other high profile projects involve him playing a villain. In Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, he stars as Dodge Landon, a cruel guard at a primate shelter who regularly abuses the animals he oversees. He plays another cruel character in Belle: a bigoted wealthy Englishman. Felton couldn’t even escape playing a villain in his role as Julian Albert in The Flash. While Julian isn’t evil, he is possessed to act as the evil Dr. Alchemy.
Felton is a talented actor who remains boxed in by typecasting based on his role in Harry Potter. While his co-stars have accepted a variety of projects, he continues to play villains. However, Felton imbues each of his villainous roles with a different energy: Malfoy is a very different character from the Grand Guignol. Thanks to his dedication, Felton proves that, despite typecasting, there is no one way to be a villain.