Tom Felton, who plays Hogwart’s dastardly teen wizard-in-training Draco Malfoy, is all sunny smiles while meeting press in a Toronto hotel.

It’s surprising after the busy week he has had promoting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — the newest addition to the Potter movie franchise.

There was the London premiere on Tuesday night, a full day of media in Toronto, and then a quick flight to New York for an international press junket.

“Sunday, I get my roots done in England and Monday we film Deathly Hallows,” says Felton.

At 21, he’s an old hand at the Potter game. He was ten when he first played Malfoy and now — in the sixth Harry Potter outing — he has his most dramatic moments yet as his character takes on more of a key role in the series.

“I was very nervous when I first read the script,” he says. “I thought it might be beyond my capabilities. But I was absolutely thrilled to turn this slightly two-dimensional character into a real bundle of emotion.”

Even though he has played Malfoy in five previous films, Felton says he had a revelation about his character while shooting The Half-Blood Prince.

“You assume Draco’s this confident, cool, solid person when in reality he’s just a complete coward. He’s terrified of the world around and that’s why he attempts to bully people around him. I try to do the opposite really.

“It only came to me now. It’s nothing to do with his personal self, he’s not bad. The people have raised him to be the way he is. I think he’s desperate to be nice, but he just can’t be. He doesn’t have an option, he’s never been taught how to.”

With two more films to be made, Felton says he is still grappling with the legacy and meaning of the Potter phenomenon.

“It’s crazy to think about it, but it won’t sink in until later. I keep thinking about showing my (future) kids my DVDs and saying, ‘Look, there’s daddy when he was ten years old.’

“I’m very proud we have something hard that will always be there, proof of our existence in the world. Years later on we’ll think, bloody hell, that was truly something epic.”

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– Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theatres next week