Harry Melling, who starred as the titular character’s cousin Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise, has expressed his opinion of J. K. Rowling’s transgender comments. Rowling, who authored the books the franchise is based on, has become a controversial figure in recent years due to her stance on trans people.
The actor stated his thoughts during a recent interview with the British online newspaper, The Independent, where he discussed his experience with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including his relationship with his co-stars and the media’s flippancy with his weight loss. He also discussed starring in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and acting with Christian Bale in the film The Pale Blue Eye, among other things.
When quizzed about his thoughts on Rowling’s comments that have made her the center of controversy in recent years, the 33-year-old stated that he is not the correct spokesperson for the subject. He, however, expressed his belief that everybody should have the right to choose who they are.
In his words, "I can only speak for myself, and what I feel, to me, is very simple, which is that transgender women are women and transgender men are men. Every single person has the right to choose who they are and to identify themselves as what’s true to themselves. I don’t want to join the debate of pointing fingers and saying, ‘That’s right, that’s wrong,’ because I don’t think I’m the correct spokesperson for that. But I do believe that everybody has the right to choose."
Melling is not the first Wizarding World actor to oppose Rowling’s views. Following the author’s comments on transwomen in 2020, Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as the titular character in the Harry Potter series, penned an essay in response to the author’s views. In the letter, he apologized to fans of the series and affirmed his belief that "transwomen are women".
While she didn’t directly address Rowling’s statements, probably because of a rumored feud between her and the author, Radcliffe’s co-star Emma Watson also released a series of tweets that reaffirmed her belief that transpeople have a right to choose their identity. Apart from Radcliffe and Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Rupert Glint are two other Wizarding World stars that have publicly opposed Rowling’s views.
Nevertheless, Rowling hasn’t entirely been without support from Harry Potter stars. Voldemort actor Ralph Fiennes and Bellatrix Lestrange actress Helena Bonham Carter have, at different times, condemned the backlash the author has faced.
In other news, Warner Bros. Discovery is charting a new course for the Wizarding World following the release of Fantastic Beasts 3. While there are rumors that a Harry Potter reboot is one of the plans for the franchise going forward, there is no official confirmation just yet. Nevertheless, the company is expanding the franchise to include games and the first release, Hogwarts Legacy, is already the best selling game on Steam despite being weeks away.
As for Melling, he recently starred as Edgar Allan Poe in Netflix’s gothic mystery The Pale Blue Eye. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Christian Bale as the protagonist Augustus Landor, as well as Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boyton, Toby Jones, Robert Duvall, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Harry Lawtey, Simon McBurney, and Timothy Spall.