Christian Coulson

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Interviewed by Jamie Russell

Are you a fan of the "Harry Potter" books?

I hadn't read them until I was told that I was going to audition. I had a few days to prepare so I got the first two books and read them. After auditioning I read the next two because I got involved with the whole Harry thing and enjoyed the first two so much.

What was the reaction of your friends and family when you got the part?

By the time I was given the role I'd been auditioning for about six months, so at that point I think it was a relief for everyone since they'd been watching me slowly go mad waiting to see if I'd got the chance to play it or not. They've been very supportive.

What was it like working with Kenneth Branagh?

I only met him for the first time at the premiere. The way the movie was filmed - especially the bits I'm in - meant that my scenes were either 50 years in the past or in a space where people don't really go. I didn't really come into contact with many other people on set. While I was shooting, Kenneth Branagh was actually playing Richard III up in Sheffield.

Was it strange seeing yourself on-screen?

I'd been filming for about a year and a half before this and I still find it difficult - I can't watch stuff I'm in without cringing all the way through. What's nice about "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is that I don't come in for the first 90 minutes, so I get to enjoy all that stuff and then sit through the bits where I appear. But I do find it really difficult. I'm told that I'll get used to it when I get older. It's like when you hear yourself on a tape recorder and you hate the sound of your voice. Only you also hate all the things that you do as well as your voice.

Has your life changed since "Harry Potter"?

It hasn't really changed anything about my day-to-day life, to be honest. People don't recognise me at all. I walked past a group of people who had just watched the film the other day. They were discussing the scene at the end and they clocked me but they had actually no idea that they were talking about me. Which is kind of nice - I can't imagine what life would be like if you couldn't travel on the Tube and stuff.

How scary do you think the spiders were?

Quite scary, but I don't mind spiders too much. A couple of friends of mine who have spider phobias came along and they had to sit through those scenes with their hands over their eyes - and they're adults! But most of the children I know who have seen it don't mind the spiders. Adults have a thing about spiders. I think you develop a phobia of spiders when you get older.

What would be your next role ideally be?

It's such a lame answer, but I love doing Shakespeare - I've just finished playing Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet" [at the Liverpool Playhouse]. I'd really like to play Richard II, so if someone wants to give me a job doing that, I'd be very happy - I think Richard should be played young!