By Humphrey Carter

TOM Felton, alias Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series of films, is currently enjoying a few days off on the island before heading out to Vancouver next week to begin filming Rise of the Apes, a 20th Century Fox prequel to Planet of the Apes.

Later this year, the first of the final Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released with part two, the end of the eight-film saga, due to be released in July next year and Felton admitted to the Bulletin yesterday that being one of the main characters in the Potter saga has not only been a fantastic experience, but a unique one which no actors will probably experience again. “I very much doubt a series of films like this will ever be produced again and, yes, this is the end of Harry Potter, unless JK Rowling starts writing again and I would love to return to the part,” he said. “It's also been a great stepping stone and a wonderful chance to work with the cream of British film and stage. “It has been a truly inspirational cast and for us, being so young when we started out on the first film, we've learnt so much from these legendary actors and actresses as well as producers and directors,” he added. “I guess it's a mixed emotion now it's all over. On the one hand it was a wonderful experience and great fun , but on the other it is kind of sad,” he said.

However, Felton is a man of many talents. He had a cameo part playing himself in the hit comedy Get Him To The Greek and will soon be seen in The Apparition which he described as a sci fi/horror/thriller which was shot on location in Berlin mostly and then Los Angles. “It's based on a true story actually. It is inspired about a supernatural attendance unleashed by a college experiment called the Phillips Experiment,” he explained. “I play the scientist responsible for unleashing an apparition which does not quite turn out as we expected and then have to try and contain it some two years later.” And now, he is off to Canada for a four week shoot on the 90 million dollar The Rise of the Apes in which he plays an expert at a primate facility for young apes.

He is not going to be playing an ape! “It's got a great script and cast John Lithgow, Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), James Franco, Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) and the larger than life Brian Cox and I'm, really excited about getting on set,” he said yesterday.

But, Tom is also branching out into the world of music. “Nothing's been signed, sealed and delivered,” he was quick to stress yesterday but he may well be swapping magic for music. “Music has always been one of my big passions and I'm in talks with various people about getting involved in Six Strings Productions which is an independent record label. “Primarily, my desire is to help young, talented musicians, of which there are so many, who are scared of signing up with the big labels and getting turned over. “The project is still up in the air but I hope we can make it work because I really want to help young musicians,” he explained.
He admitted that he is also a singer/song writer, “nothing too serious”, but he has recorded a few tracks and there may be room for some form of “coalition” within the new project that he gets to record some music as well.

So, after what will have been eight Harry Potter films - he auditioned when he was 12 and is now 23 - by the time the final part is released next summer, Felton is neither short of work nor ideas.

He has not seen the final Potter films yet but he knows they are going to be the best. “The whole production company (which includes his girlfriend Jade who is the assistant stunt coordinator) and cast really wanted to end the series on a major high and obviously, they are both more adult than the previous ones as they have had to grow with the characters. “But I know the director David Yates whose directed these last four put everything he could into, his heart and soul - we all did I guess. “They are both more violent and darker than the others, there are more battles and of course - deaths. We're nearing the end so it's all going to be very exciting and we all wanted these two last chapters, in particular the final, to be the piece de resistance and, from what I have seen, Potter fans and movie goers in general are in for a real treat,” he said. “But, I can't give too much away,” he added.
Tom was also at the opening of the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando and said it is an amazing place. “They used most of the film's set and costume designers and crew to build and design it so it really is authentic, it is hugely impressive,” he stressed.

After having been one of the stars of the greatest series of films to have been made to date, Felton has plenty of options and open doors but he appears to be quite relaxed about what the future will bring. He admits he may spend some time “across the pond”.

That is providing JK Rowling does not start writing again though.