Many actors have a quality that defines them, to a certain extent. Selected randomly: George Clooney is old-school charming. John Cho has a kind of quiet, kind affability. Meryl Streep is the honest chameleon, while Regina King projects a frank vulnerability. Alex Baldwin is smug. Mary-Louise Parker is smart. RuPaul Charles is RuPaul Charles.
Tom Felton, the once and former Draco Malfoy, is game.
In the projects he’s selected since his time in the Harry Potter universe, Felton has always found a way to dive in without hesitation. Tasked with playing a dick-with-a-heart-of-gold for a season of The Flash, he leaned into the first part hard, unafraid to make a sympathetic character also kind of the worst. In YouTube Premium’s engrossing new sci-fi series Origin, he created a portrait of someone so intensely vulnerable that he can’t help but resent his own fragility, and turn that resentment outward. In films like Belle, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Meagan Leavey, and A United Kingdom, he never pulled punches. He just goes for it.
Presumably that’s a skill he fine-tuned on the set of all eight Potter films. As Harry’s arch-enemy at school, he spat the word “Potter” like he was hoping he’d get spit on other people in the process; when Draco became more complicated, forced into terrible act after terrible act by a force of evil far surpassing that of Hogwarts most notable asshole, he didn’t hesitate to embrace those complexities. As a result, his is one of the Potter franchise’s most memorable characterizations.
He was equally as game when it came to answering this very silly question. Bonus: When asking him if a hot dog is a sandwich, this writer kept imagining that he’d say the word “Potter” after all of his answers. Try it yourself at home.
The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Tom Felton: Instinctive answer? Absolutely not. [Potter!]
TO: Definitely not a sandwich?
TF: No, a sandwich—technically, to me, a burger’s not really a sandwich, but it is, because you’ve got bread on top, bread on the bottom.
TO: So it’s because it’s sideways?
TF: Yeah, sideways. If anything, it’s more of a wrap. Like a bread wrap. [Potter.]
TO: So, is a pita a sandwich?
TF: Well, now you’re getting into—I’m saying that something that’s called a sandwich is called a sandwich, and if it’s called something else, then it’s not a sandwich.
TO: So, lobster roll: Not a sandwich.
TF: It’s a roll, it’s called a roll! [Potter!]
TO: Fair enough.
TF: But I’ve never had a lobster roll, so I can’t really say.
TO: Oh, they’re so good.
TF: Lobster rolls, delicious, are they? [Potter?]
TF: Is it a sandwich?
TO: I would call it a sandwich, yeah. Hot dogs, not so sure.
TF: We’ll draw the line at hot dogs. [And we’ll see what my father has to say about that, Potter.]