Interview with Prisoner of Azkaban’s Charlie Weasley (Alex Crockford)

After Richard Fish came Alex Crockford. Unlike Richard, his name was discovered before the release of the movie and everyone was dying to know what he looked like. A headshot was leaked to the internet and a movie face was placed on Charlie Weasley. I was luckily enough to be granted a chance to speak to him about his Harry Potter experience. Printed below is the original interview published on

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Alex Crockford
Fellow webmasters, please do not re-post this interview on your website. Feel free to link to it.

For the purpose of completing the family photo, two extras were hired to fill the roles of Bill and Charlie. The face behind Charlie (Alex Crockford) was lifted from Call sheets early on and he responded by sending a headshot. Now we’re pleased to offer you an interview with him.

Q & A with Alex Crockford (Prisoner of Azkaban‘s Charlie Weasley):

Alex, tell us about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you? And are you a natural red-head? Have you been acting a long time? What other (if any) work have you done (on stage or screen)?

I am indeed a natural redhead, more so than most in fact. I’m twenty years old and I live in Sevenoaks, Kent, although I currently spend half my time studying Law at Cambridge, I’ve just finished my first year there and it’s more fun than it probably sounds. I haven’t been acting for long in a professional capacity but I’ve been doing school plays and stuff like that all my life, I usually got cast in the pantomime dame roles, possibly because my drama teacher had a grudge against me, I don’t know but it was all good clean fun. I’ve just realised that it’s my first public interview and I’ve already admitted to dressing in women’s clothing, that can’t be a good start! I did a bit at secondary school too, including Shakespeare, I played Gonzalo in the Tempest to great critical acclaim (i.e. no-one threw anything at me), but I haven’t yet got in on the acting scene at Cambridge, mostly through sheer laziness, although there were a couple of things I was thinking of auditioning for, but unfortunately I got ill at the time of the audition so unless there was a part for someone dying of plague I thought I probably wouldn’t get it. But I’m determined to do more of that stuff next year. I decided to sign up to 2020 casting agency during my gap year last year, as I thought doing some film extra work would be something a bit different from anything I’d done before, but as it happens I was travelling and doing other jobs for most of the year, so I haven’t appeared in much apart from Harry Potter. I was in “Dunkirk”, playing “Soldier with nosebleed”, but in the finished product the nosebleed didn’t even show up, so I was just “indistinguishable soldier walking down some stairs.” I was offered an acting part that might have been a bit meatier (i.e. with lines) in November but it was when I was just starting out at Cambridge, so I told my agent I didn’t know how busy I would be, and she more or less talked herself out of offering me the part before I had a chance to protest that I might be available, I just didn’t know! I never even found out what the part was, although I don’t suppose it was an offer to be the next James Bond or anything like that!

How did you get the part of Charlie Weasley?

It’s the first job I ever got based solely on my looks rather than talent, as it happens! I think I was virtually the only redhead of about the right age on their books (actually I’m technically a couple of years too young but I’m reliably informed that I can pass for older, someone once told me that I was born with a mental age of 45, which means my brain is just coming up to retirement, it certainly stopped working effectively some time ago.) But they got a load of other auditionees from Casting Collective (another agency) as well, there were about 8 of us, all red-haired, and they took some photos of us, then lined us up against a wall (it was a bit like one of those prison line-ups, only with ginger people) and got Rupert Grint to come in so they could see which of us looked the most like potential older brothers.

Have you spoken with Richard (Fish) since shooting the Egypt scenes for ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’?

No, but he’s a nice bloke, gave me a lift back to the station after filming, and I proved extremely unhelpful with directions, despite the fact that by that stage I’d taken the route (mostly in taxis) at least half a dozen times. To my intense shame, I am still not all that familiar with the streets of Watford, and I’m also the world’s worst navigator. Richard was picked after me, he came in with the second wave of redheaded extras, so we only met each other for two days, and I haven’t seen him since, but I probably would have done if I’d had a chance to do more extra work, as you do tend to bump into the same people over and over again in different productions. But he was far more experienced than me, I’m told that his legs feature on the DVD of “About a Boy”, and if that isn’t a claim to fame I don’t know what is.

How much time did you spend with the other Weasley actors and what do you think of them?

I didn’t get a chance to spend much time with them at all, but they were all extremely nice and welcoming. Of course I felt extremely privileged to be working with the likes of Julie Walters (who was very maternal) and Mark Williams (who was also very entertaining), plus I got to share a make up room with Fiona Shaw! They had to give me some sunburn, which in retrospect I don’t understand as you can’t see it in the finished film, but I suppose it’s all about authenticity! Apparently Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman were on the set the day after me, and they’re two of my favourite actors of all time so if I’d known I would probably have tried to repeatedly mess up the takes so I could come back the next day, although the flaws in that plan are a) they probably would have sacked me, and b) there’s only so much you can do wrong with a wave. But it’s frustrating, as I kept going into cinemas before the film was released and seeing the big poster of Sirius Black saying “Have you seen this wizard?” and of course I had to say no, but if I’d been on the set a day later I would have done! The actors playing my brothers (and sister) were all charming. I wish I had more juicy gossip, that they acted like prima donnas or were constantly demanding more money, but unfortunately they really were all nice. Probably the biggest honour for me, however, was meeting the animatronic rat that played Scabbers, I think the filmmakers paid about six times as much for him as they paid for me, and it was at the centre of the photo so Alfonso was giving it all the attention, and I was amused to hear Mark Williams behind me muttering “Anyone would think the bloody rat was the most important thing in the film!” It was a grotesque thing, I wasn’t allowed to touch it, sadly.

What are your chances of returning for ‘Goblet of Fire’?

Minimal, I’m afraid. I got a letter from one of the director’s assistants telling me that Charlie isn’t featured in the current shooting script, but that he would let me know if he appears in a later draft or in Order of the Phoenix, although I don’t think Charlie’s actually in the book of OotP except possibly in another moving photograph (the one Percy walks out of.) So I suspect that my total screentime in the Harry Potter franchise at this rate will probably amount to roughly five seconds! There was talk that they might need Richard and myself again for the fourth film when I was on the set, but the book’s so long that they had to cut something out, so I think it’s extremely probable that my part will end up on the cutting room floor, if you excuse the _expression! I don’t know about Bill, though.

Most of the actors playing the ‘family’ have been together a few years now, do you feel you blend well with the established ‘family’?

As much as one can having only known them for two days, obviously they’ve all known each other for longer, but I didn’t feel excluded from their conversations or anything like that. The whole cast and crew was one big happy family anyway, I was just one of the obscure cousins who nobody really sees very often, but always welcome with open arms when they do!

Had you seen the Harry Potter movies before appearing in them? Have you read the Harry Potter books? If not, do you plan too?

Well, I actually auditioned for the part of Percy in the first film, and overacted shamelessly as I recall, although I did meet Chris Columbus twice so I can’t have done that badly. Of course my resemblance to Chris Rankin has been noted before, and I always said that they must have lined up photos of all the auditionees and picked the wrong one! But in retrospect I’m glad Chris got it as my resemblance to him was possibly instrumental in getting me the part of Charlie later on. And of course he’s a very nice bloke who deserves his success, so I wasn’t bitter or resentful or anything like that, but I did go to see the first two films just out of interest, and by then of course I had read the books as well.

Do you have any family/friends who are Harry Potter fans? How do they feel about your cameo in the current film (Prisoner of Azkaban) and possible return for the fourth film?

Yes, my sister’s a huge fan (huge in a metaphorical sense that is), and a few of my friends are too (the founder of the new Cambridge Harry Potter society is at my college.) But even the ones who aren’t fans at all were quite impressed by the fact that I was going to be in such a massive blockbuster film, although they were perhaps less impressed by the extent of my role, as all the people who I went to see it with missed my moment of glory completely (I guess they must all have blinked at the wrong instant), but I can’t blame them as I almost missed it myself! But people who went to see it at other times spotted me, and I believe there was much excited squealing going on in Cambridge cinemas about that time (and that was just the men.)

In ‘Goblet of Fire’ Charlie is described as being a muscled Dragon Wrangler. Is this a job you think you would enjoy if you were a wizard? Do you think it would suit your personality?

It’s difficult to say, having as far as I can recall never actually wrangled a dragon! It’s probably a great job if you’re good at it, but it’s probably not something you can get away with doing badly for very long! But I suppose I could have a natural aptitude for it, so the next time I see a dragon I’ll give it a good hearty wrangle and let you know how I get on.

On the Quidditch team, Charlie played seeker for Gryffindor (just like Harry Potter) and is remembered as one of the teams more talented athletes. Did you play any sports in school? Are you an athletic type in real life?

Well, I was in the “D” rugby team at secondary school, if that counts! No, I’m not athletic at all, there are sloths who have had both their legs broken and lead weights tied to their feet that can move faster than I can. But I’m sure I could fake it if called upon to do so, maybe they could speed the film up or something to make me look more agile.

If you were a Quidditch player, do you think the ‘seeker’ position would suit your talents, or would you prefer scoring (as a chaser), guarding the goal hoops (as a keeper) or defense (as a beater)?

Well considering I have a morbid fear of heights, I suspect that Quidditch would probably not really be my sport, but if I had to pick one position it would probably be keeper, as if you stay in the same position for most of the time it’s probably easier to keep steady, I feel that if I had to move around a lot at a height of fifty feet with nothing but a small wooden stick between my legs I would probably be violently ill, and as Quidditch is a spectator sport this would probably be undesirable. And I’m quite proud of myself for managing to answer that question without resorting to sarcasm.

Did you really expect people to pay so much attention to your short cameo in ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’?

Well, I’m not quite on the A list yet you know! But it is quite amusing that I get mentioned on more websites thanks to five days work (mostly spent sleeping in my trailer while they sorted themselves out) than my dad does after thirty years as a solicitor in London! It was just a glorified extra role, really, and not even that glorified as I didn’t get mentioned in the credits, or invited to the premiere, which was irritating as I had promised about fifty different people that they could accompany me to it, in an attempt to get them to buy me drinks! As a result I’m very unpopular. But it wasn’t bad at all considering it was the first extra role I ever got, playing a named character in a Harry Potter film, so I’m certainly not complaining, although anyone who wants to start an online petition demanding that Charlie be put back in the GOF script has my blessing! Although now they’ll probably think I’m a troublemaker and replace me with a proper actor. Never mind!

Q&A copyright – 2004.

Bonus: After my Interview, RGN also interviewed Crockford. In the interest of keeping information about him online, I’ve included a page 2 with their interview.

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