Harry Potter star makes spellbinding visit to Leeds school

Star of the Harry Potter Films Matthew Lewis, is pictured with pupils on his visit to Pudsey Grangefield School, Pudsey, Leeds..30th November 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Star of the Harry Potter Films Matthew Lewis, is pictured with pupils on his visit to Pudsey Grangefield School, Pudsey, Leeds..30th November 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

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Students at a Leeds school received an insight into the world of film when they were paid a visit by Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis - aka Neville Longbottom.

The actor, 27, who played hapless Neville Longbottom in the movie series, told youngsters at Pudsey Grangefield School in west Leeds not to give up in the face of rejection.

Star of the Harry Potter Films Matthew Lewis, is pictured on his visit to Pudsey Grangefield School, Pudsey, Leeds..30th November 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Star of the Harry Potter Films Matthew Lewis, is pictured on his visit to Pudsey Grangefield School, Pudsey, Leeds..30th November 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

The talk was organised by Into Film, an education organisation which aims to help young people learn and develop through movies.

Over two sessions, which also included students from Corpus Christi, Crawshaw Academy and Greenside Primary School, Matthew talked and answered questions about his career working in one of the world’s biggest film franchises.

He said: “Being an actor, like many things, requires a very thick skin because there is a lot of rejection. You just have to stick to your convictions.

“All you can do is be prepared and do your best. In an audition, you might not be what they want but it doesn’t mean your interpretation is any less valuable. It is not an objective decision.”

The students were also shown three clips of Matthew playing Longbottom at various stages in the series to show how the character had developed.

And the actor, who grew up in Horsforth, said he had no idea how much the character meant to people.

He said: “I recently got a letter from someone who had been bullied at school and it drove him to a very dark place. He said that seeing Neville in the films helped him get through it all.”

Speaking after the talk Matthew said: “It’s great to be back in Leeds because I don’t get to come back home as often as I’d like.

“It’s important to say that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, whether it be Pudsey, Yeadon or wherever, anyone can have a career in the film industry. Everyone sees actors on the red carpet and think the business is a closed shop.

“But actors are such a tiny part of the industry and there are so many more people that make films happen. All you have to do is look at the credits at the end of a film to see the huge variety of roles that can be done. ”

Student Lauren Waddell, 16, said: “It was really surreal. We were all a bit star-struck and nervous to ask questions at first. But he came across as such a warm person and we all quickly felt at ease.”

Matthew Lewis was born in Leeds in 1989 and was raised in Horsforth.

He made is acting debut in 1995 when he featured in the television drama Some Kind of Life. He then went on to play Neville Longbottom in all eight films of the Harry Potter series. He has since starred in TV shows The Syndicate and Ripper Street and has also been on the West End stage.

His brother is actor Anthony Lewis who is starring in The Full Monty stage show