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Harry Potter's Python Scene Was 'Awkward' For Dudley Actor Harry Melling

While all acting requires imagination, it's understandable that the "Harry Potter" films would require more than many others. CGI and other special effects added after the fact can go a long way in giving the audience the illusion of all manner of fantastical things happening on-screen, but if the actors aren't pulling it off during the shoot, then it's ultimately all for naught.

An added challenge to this believability on the "Harry Potter" set, at least at first, was the youth of the cast. Yes, children have vivid imaginations, but if they don't quite understand how special effects work, then shooting the scene itself can be quite confusing for them.

Harry Melling, who played Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) spoiled bully of a cousin, Dudley Dursley, can verify as much. Melling's experience of working on the "Harry Potter" franchise was unique, including the challenge he faced having to pull off the scene near the beginning of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in which Dudley ends up trapped in a reptile enclosure at the zoo.

"The snake pit was quite awkward because there was no snake," Melling told Red Carpet News in 2015. "So it was looking into thin air. And as a 10-year-old, it just was trying to join the dots, when maybe later in life you just go, 'Oh, it's special effects, so it will happen.' But as a 10-year-old, you're like, 'Well, where is the snake?' So that was quite tricky."

'You sort of get used to it'

That said, Harry Melling also grew — as a person and an actor — over the course of the films. After a while, it sounds like Melling rather accepted that being in these films meant having to make himself believe that things that weren't there were actually there.

"It's weird. You sort of get used to it," he said. "You sort of understand that this is how they make these films, and you've just got to trust that the people on the other side, behind the computers, are going to make it look amazing." In other words, by the time he had to imagine being attacked by a Dementor in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Melling was most likely able to picture what was happening in the scene.

But the "Harry Potter" films were by no means the last time Melling had to picture something that wasn't there or vice versa as an actor. In 2019, he appeared on BBC One's miniseries adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds," during which imagining massive alien ships certainly must have come in handy. Likewise for his appearance in the Coen brothers' "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," in which Melling had to act as if he had no arms or legs.