Brits on Broadway: Harry Melling on playing Frank Langella's Fool

The latest in a line of young British talent to tread the Broadway boards is Harry Melling, who rose to fame in the ”Harry Potter” film series

Harry Melling as The Fool in King Lear
Harry Melling as The Fool in King Lear

Harry Melling, who rose to fame playing Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter series, has notched up a range of theatre credits in London including The Hothouse and When Did You Last See My Mother?, both at Trafalgar Studios. Now he's making his Broadway debut, playing The Fool opposite Frank Langella's King Lear at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Our colleagues at TheaterMania recently caught up with him.

Is this your first time doing Shakespeare professionally?

It is. I've done Restoration and a Jacobean [plays], both in quite big houses in the UK, but I've only done Shakespeare at drama school. It's a very new adventure for me.

How did this role come about?

The director [Angus Jackson] saw me in a couple of shows in the UK and then invited me to meet him. Then, there was a second round, with Frank [Langella], and then I met again with Frank, and then it was an offer. It was nice that Angus was familiar with me and my work. It's quite a usual routine to get a job, as opposed to, he saw me in this and said "Yes, I want you!" It was a three-round process.

What's more intimidating — a direct offer or a three-round audition process?

It can work both ways. The jobs I've been offered straight have been very scary in their own way because you feel like you haven't proven yourself yet. The rehearsal period is almost more precious because you feel like you've got something to prove. At least with going in a few times, they can get a sense of what you want to do with it before hitting rehearsal.

What is it like working with Frank Langella?

It's been brilliant. He's a real force, not only on stage, but offstage. How he does it every night, to the degree to which he does, is remarkable.

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