Frank Dillane’s first big film role saw him take on the role of JK Rowling’s terrible dark lord. Aged just 16, he played Tom Riddle, the troubled school boy who would become Harry Potter’s nemesis Voldemort. “Getting a role in the film franchise was amazing. I’d read all of the books,” he recalls, now 24-years-old and the star of sci-fi series Fear the Walking Dead.
“Leavesen Studios are amazing, like a museum. The whole thing was quite magical,” he says.
Frank doesn’t really get noticed by Harry Potter fans – “I had blue contacts in and a wig on” – but he recognises the legacy of being part of JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: “It’s funny. Whatever I do, I’ll always be remembered for Tom Riddle!”
“It was great to play such an incredible part, but it was a very short scene. I wasn’t in the film for that long.”
As well as being a genuine Potter fan, London-born Dillane’s into good sci-fi. “I’ve always liked Doctor Who. That’s like the godfather of sci-fi!”
But he’s missed out on a couple of current big hitters. Most notably Game of Thrones, which stars his father, actor Stephen Dillane, as Stannis Baratheon – “I’ve never actually watched it.” And The Walking Dead, the show which inspired his current role. That was “a little bit on purpose,” he says.
In Fear, Dillane plays Nick, a troubled teenager with a drug problem who finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. “Nick is, essentially, at the start of the show, already living in his own apocalypse. When you are already living on the outskirts of society in anyway, when society falls, you are the closest to understanding how to cope,” he says.
Getting under Nick’s skin “wasn’t an easy process,” admits Dillane. “You have to find similarities between yourself and the character you are playing. At least, I do. There are a lot, but ultimately he is a far better person than I am.”
“Now we’re into our second season I’m able to take my foot off the gas a bit and not control him so much. You create this character and then you have to let go and not be so precious about who you think he is.”
Fear the Walking Dead’s second season will see Nick, alongside his dysfunctional family, take to the sea to escape the undead. But Dillane says, for Nick, the season is more about what the collapse of society actually means.
“Nick has a different idea of what it is to be dead, who these people are that are walking and haunting us, and what it means, spiritually as much as anything else. I don’t know the bible too intimately but it was very strong similarities. It says that before the end the dead will rise and walk the earth and the damned will stay there with them. In season two, Nick is more inquisitive about what is going on.”
When it comes to what’s next for Dillane, a role alongside his dad could be on the cards. “I would love to, and we will,” he says.
His first ever role was in 1997’s Welcome to Sarajevo alongside his father, who he is quick to admit was a big influence on his burgeoning acting career: “It’s very difficult to distinguish my father’s decisions from my own. I’ve always been around acting. My mother is an actor as well. My house is like a drama school – it’s always been there.”
Fear the Walking Dead premieres simultaneously with the US, at 2am on 11th April on AMC UK, exclusive to BT