Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis Talks Broomsticks, Cast Bonds and More | Us Weekly

Updated on: June 20, 2024

Matthew Lewis Reflects on Broomsticks, Hogwarts Friendships and the Magical Pull of 'Harry Potter'
Matthew Lewis tries out the photo experience at Harry Potter New York. Courtesy of Harry Potter New York

Matthew Lewis just rode his first broomstick since his days at Hogwarts — and the magical mode of transportation is much more comfortable these days.

“Ours was literally just a broomstick that they strapped us into. We had harnesses and whatnot, but yeah, very much not [comfortable],” Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in all eight Harry Potter films, exclusively told Us Weekly while at Harry Potter New York. “This isn’t even a bicycle seat they’ve got here. They’ve got this real comfy, comfy little seat that’s perfect and nice. If you’re going to do it, come and do it here at Harry Potter New York.”

The Manhattan store has a new photo experience that puts visitors into the air at Hogwarts, on the Quidditch pitch and more. It’s something Potterheads will enjoy experiencing more than two decades after watching Neville’s first flying lesson in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. While the flying scenes “became much more sophisticated as the films went on,” Lewis recalled, his first scene on the broom — the most memorable flight for Neville — was less advanced.

“When it was me on that first day, they literally just strapped a broomstick to a crane on the back of a pickup truck and then drove me around on it,” he said. “I was very safe, obviously, and the stunt team were great, but very unsophisticated compared to what came later and what they’ve got here.”

Harry Potter's Matthew Lewis Talks Broomsticks, Cast Bonds and More
Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) takes flight in 2001’s ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’ Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Though fans often return to the Wizarding World, Lewis, now 34, said he doesn’t watch the movies very often — especially if he’s flipping through channels and sees himself on screen. “Depending on what moment it’s at will define whether it stays on for longer than three seconds,” Lewis admitted. “If it’s a bit that I’m not in, then I tend to [say], ‘Oh, this is cool. Watch this for a bit, watch someone else be good.’ If I happen to be on, then it flicks immediately off. Yeah, I can’t bear it.”

His family, however, doesn’t feel the same way. Lewis, who married wife Angela Jones in 2018, revealed that his spouse’s dad is the one to turn it on most often. “My father-in-law — who is a Floridian and watches NASCAR and stays in his garage, has never seen Harry Potter in his life — has since become sort of weirdly obsessed. Whenever it’s on TV, he watches it — which is the sweetest thing, but unbearable whenever I go around there and he’s got it on.”

While watching the films still isn’t exactly comfortable, Lewis admitted his own relationship to the franchise has changed over time, especially as he watches a different generation connect with the story.

“You kind of come back to it in a weird way and you realize that my niece and nephew who are 5 years old have discovered it and they’re watching it,” he shared.

One thing that hasn’t changed is his bonds with his costars. James and Oliver Phelps (who played the Weasley twins) met up with Lewis in Florida for a round of golf earlier this year. He caught up with Tom Felton (who portrayed Draco Malfoy) over the winter holidays and he even had an unplanned reunion with Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson when they discovered they were staying at the same hotel in Italy.

Lewis said there’s an understanding among the cast that just can’t be matched by anyone outside of their group.

“I said with Tom at Christmas and we were discussing [that] it’s nice to have other people because — it sounds so pretentious but — it’s like most people just don’t get it and won’t get it because it is a very unique thing, even people in our private lives,” he explained. “To have someone there who just gets it and you can discuss things with it, it’s kind of like most people who are in this stupid industry have to do it by themselves, and we’re very lucky that we all kind of got to and get to do it together in a weird way.”

More surprising than his lasting friendships is the enduring Pottermania. Though Lewis has had much success since defeating Voldemort in the final 2011 movie (with roles in Me Before You, Terminal and on the upcoming comedy series Touché), It always comes back to The Boy Who Lived. The New York City store — exclusively selling Wizarding World merchandise from keychains and wands to full-size broomsticks and Swarovski crystal replicas of the Hogwarts Express — is celebrating its third anniversary this fall.

“As the years go on, I guess I kind of thought that [the interest] would peter out a little bit, but here we are at Harry Potter New York’s flagship store, and it’s clearly not,” Lewis said.

Matt Lewis Reflects on the Friendships and Magical Pull of 'Harry Potter'
Matthew Lewis enjoys the Butterbeer Bar at Harry Potter New York. Courtesy of Harry Potter New York

He even found himself having to avoid spoilers when he met TikTok sensation Kierra Lewis. “She does these TikToks where she’s watching it and reading it for the first time,” he explained. “She was asking me what my favorite experience was and I almost spoiled the ending for her. Someone jumped in and was like, no, she’s not read it. And I was like, ‘What?’ But I thought that was so amazing. There’s someone who had not been part of that first wave, had kind of discovered it lately, and that is incredible to still have that longevity after all this time.”

Fans can enjoy the magical green screen broomstick flying experience as well as new props from the movies (including the Philosopher’s Stone, Hermione’s Time-Turner and a Nimbus 2001 broomstick) starting Thursday, June 20. They can get up close and personal with the new props on free tours spotlighting the items, which will be available through Sunday, June 23, at the top of every hour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting at the Butterbeer Bar (which is celebrating with a new broomstick-inspired cupcake for a limited time). Harry Potter New York will also offer free personalization on any product through Sunday.

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