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Harry Melling Required A Special Suit For Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Part 1

It's not exactly a great things for actors to do, but sometimes, out of pure necessity, they find themselves in a situation where they have to wear some padding to make themselves appear as if they weigh more than they actually do. Everyone from Emma Thompson to Gwyneth Paltrow to Colin Farrell has done it, and according to an interview with NME, "Harry Potter" actor Harry Melling had to don one too. See, in order to play the famously overweight Dudley Dursley in the first part of the final film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," Melling, who lost some weight after the previous installment, "Half-Blood Prince," had to wear a suit to mimic his former physique. 

Speaking to NME in early 2023 to promote his Netflix film "The Pale Blue Eye," Melling was asked about his time as the spoiled Muggle bully who serves as a vicious cousin to Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), and he seemed... resigned in his answer.

I"It's always going to be there and I accept that," Melling said. "I would just like the conversation to be about what I'm doing now as opposed to something I did when I was 10."

Then, he turned it back on the interviewer: "I guess it's like if you, were asked about an article you wrote when you were 10. How would you feel about that?"

Dudley Dursley will always be an important part of Harry Melling's story

That said, Melling did admit that he doesn't hate the idea of "Harry Potter" or anything, even though he's been working steadily in the years since he played Dudley. In fact, he said he thinks he's mostly been able to leave Dudley behind, but that some fans still do recognize him.

"I think so," the actor said, "but I'm always amazed at the generational power of Harry Potter. My friends have kids now who are [into the books] and they're like: 'Uncle Harry's Dudley!' If someone mentions Harry Potter to me then of course it's something that I'll engage with. It does feel like that narrative's changing though, which is great."

Dudley isn't the biggest character in "Harry Potter," but as Harry's cousin, he is pivotal to the narrative. After Harry's parents are murdered, he ends up living with his aunt and uncle, Vernon and Petunia Dursley (played by Richard Griffiths and Fiona Shaw), who not only don't want him, but hate the idea of the magical world. They raise him without any awareness that he's not only a wizard, but an incredibly famous one to boot — and in sharp contrast to the forgotten, disliked Harry, Dudley is a spoiled brat who's never satisfied with his excessive life. In "Deathly Hallows — Part 1," though, he leaves his relationship with Harry on good terms.

Harry Melling has been working steadily since playing Dudley Dursley45

Dudley Dursley's legacy aside, Melling has worked extensively since his time in the "Harry Potter" franchise, to the point where you might just recognize him from other things entirely. Over the past several years, he's appeared in some seriously high-profile projects — for example, he's worked with the Coen Brothers as well as just Joel on 2018's "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" and 2021's "The Tragedy of Macbeth," where he plays the son of Brendan Gleeson's King Duncan. 

He's also worked with Netflix several times on both original series and films, like in 2020's Charlize Theron-led action flick "The Old Guard," where Melling plays the main villain and pharmaceutical executive Steven Merrick. Melling also played a supporting role alongside Anya Taylor-Joy in the critically acclaimed miniseries "The Queen's Gambit," and in 2022, he teamed up with the streamer once again for "The Pale Blue Eye." In that film, Melling stars as Edgar Allan Poe, working alongside Christian Bale's detective Augustus Landor as the two try and solve a series of strange murders at West Point Academy. Melling has worked hard to leave Dudley behind... and based on his recent work, he's well on his way to putting "Harry Potter" in the rearview mirror.