Alfred Enoch has swapped London for LA, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Shondaland. The 26-year-old stars alongside Viola Davis in glossy US legal drama How To Get Away With Murder but he hasn’t forgotten his days as Harry Potter’s classmate Dean Thomas.
“I’m grateful for [Harry Potter] in a whole lot of ways,” he tells RadioTimes.com, admitting that he still gets recognised most for his part in JK Rowling’s franchise. “It was such a huge thing. It’s something that people really still love and feel strongly about.
“People love those movies and I get it,” he continues. “I have a different experience of the movies. My fond memories of it are to do with making the films as opposed to seeing them. But I loved the books. I loved those stories and grew up with them as most of my friends at school, most people around my age did.
“The book came out, and that was it,” he remembers. “That was all anyone was doing. We had school trip to Ben Nevis when the fifth book came out and no one was doing anything. All of the optional activities were just abandoned. People were just there reading Harry Potter in a sort of frenzied race so no one could spoil it for you. It was crazy!”
Nowadays Enoch, who has also starred in Broadchurch and Sherlock, is a million miles away from Dean Thomas, playing legal intern Wes Gibbins in How To Get Away With Murder – something which can’t be compared to his first big break, according to Enoch.
“It’s chalk and cheese. I remember we did a scene on that second movie which took about three weeks to film. [On HTGAWM] we’d have done a feature film in that time – we’d be moving onto the third episode!”
“You turn up, you read it, you block it. They see it, you go away for half an hour and then you come back and that’s it. The pace of it is challenging but really satisfying, actually, when it’s all completed,” he says, adding: “You’re in good hands.”
His character Wes had a dramatic end to season one, but “it’s about to get a whole lot worse” in the show’s second run, Enoch teases.
“It deflates me a bit thinking about it!” he says. “He’s taken so many knocks… it’s great because all the characters are put in such extreme, drastic, dramatic situations that test them and change them and allow you to find different sides of them that you wouldn’t in a more ordinary sort of experience. But it is exhausting!
“It just sort of gets more and more and more through the first season. So a little bit of me is like, I need to get myself ready for whatever they’re going to put us through because it’s draining.”
It probably didn’t help that the cast were kept in the dark. The murder mystery the entire first season revolved around was only revealed to the cast when they read it in their scripts.
It was “a mind bending sort of challenge,” Enoch says, adding: “We came up with an analogy. If you were shooting Hamlet as a TV series and you were shooting it out of sequence and, you know, the scripts are coming as it is and the last thing you shoot is the ghost telling Hamlet, ‘By the way, it was Claudius.’
“You’d probably be like, ‘Arggh, I would have planned everything differently!’ So, erm, yeah, that was nuts.”
How To Get Away With Murder returns on Wednesday 28th October at 9pm on Universal Channel.
Season one is available on Netflix from 22nd October. It’s also available on blinkbox, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.