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Benedict Oliver Dudley "Ben" Clarke (b. 5 December, 1996)[1][3][2] is a former British child actor who portrayed young Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Career

Clarke made his film debut in the commercially successful Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 when it was announced in late 2010 that he had been cast as the younger version of Severus Snape, played by fellow late British veteran Alan Rickman as an adult in all eight films and Alec Hopkins as a teenager in 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, respectively.[9] To date, this was his first and only professional acting role.[5]

Young Snape DH2

Ben playing Severus Snape

Then 13-years-old, a casting director visited Latymer Upper School in which Clarke was in attendance at the time, and invited a selection of students a chance to attend an open casting call. Clarke auditioned for the parts of either young James Potter or young Snape sometime in late 2009 to early 2010. On 25 January 2010, he was called back at Pinewood Studios where he met director David Yates and worked with a number of other potentials for the parts of young James Potter, Sirius Black, Severus Snape and Lily Evans. During the process, the children were asked to improvise short conversations. Another recall took place and he subsequently received a screen test with then 10-year-old Ellie Darcey-Alden (who would be cast as young Lily Evans) at Leavesden Studios "as well as an associated costume, hair and makeup meeting." In February, he and Ellie were notified they had received their respective parts.[10][11][12][13][14] When asked by a fan of how he might have received the role, Clarke honestly admitted:[15]

"I guess [the filmmakers] just liked my awkwardness. (laughs) At the first audition, I was going for either young Snape or young James. It wasn't until I was recalled to audition in front of David Yates at Leavesden that I was told I'd be auditioning for the role of young Snape. And being a Harry Potter nerd, my description of Snape's character was pretty good. My acting on the other hand... (laughs)"
—Benedict on why he may have been chosen for the part

Filming his scenes along with Darcey-Alden (young Lily), Ariella Paradise (young Petunia Dursley), Alfie McIlwain (young James Potter) and Rohan Gotobed (young Sirius Black) took place in April 2010.[16] Shooting only lasted four days where one scene was shot per day[17] while re-shoots and pick-ups were completed in early 2011.[18]

To achieve the look required for his character, he had his naturally dark brown hair dyed black, had hair extensions glued on and wore dark contact lenses.[19]

According to Darcey-Alden and Clarke at a 2013 LeakyCon cast junket in London, production alternated between sets at Leavesden Studios and on location shooting by the River Lea in the gardens of Hatfield Park near Hatfield House—both set in Hertfordshire, respectively. Of the river scene in particular, Clarke elaborated by saying:[20]

"[W]e did so many ludicrous camera angles, we had a camera up on a crane looking down at Ellie and I. And we had a camera crew coming across the river on a boat for one of those, and then they could play around [...] decide what they wanted, how they wanted to pan across the river and take a look at us. I thought it was really outstanding how they had such a ridiculous extent of angles to play with."
—Benedict on filming The Prince's Tale

Darcey-Alden added:

"We only did half-and-half at Leavesden. [...] There was the actual Hatfield House there and we got to have a look around and it was really beautiful."
—Ellie on filming The Prince's Tale

Clarke further cited the river sequence as his favourite to shoot, saying:[21]

"It was a really beautiful location and such a special moment in terms of Severus and Lily's relationship."
—Benedict on the river scene in The Prince's Tale

Once location shoots were completed, Darcey-Alden and Clarke joined McIlwain and Gotobed at Leavesden on the set of the Great Hall where the set was divided with one section of the Entrance Hall in ruins for the Battle of Hogwarts sequences; two days of shooting were completed from morning until evening, scheduled a week apart where three hours of school tutoring was provided.[22] A week later, a final day of shooting commenced in the Hogwarts corridor where multiple takes had the four child actors walk and run up the corridor numerous times. The original cut had McIlwain and Gotobed chase a first year Slytherin student, though this detail was eventually omitted. "Though originally the scene was without dialogue," Gotobed revealed in a blog post, "I suggested to [David Yates] that I say 'Snivellus' as we pushed through Snape and Lily. David agreed that was a good idea, and even gave me a second line later on in the day, where I was supposed to say 'come on James' at the end of the brief scene. As you already know, both lines were cut for release in favour of [Radcliffe]'s voiceover [sic], which makes more sense in terms of the entire montage."[22]

Clarke later mentioned that he was lucky enough to have briefly said hello to Rickman whilst filming, though admitted he "didn't talk to him as such." He and his mother later had a chance second meeting with the actor at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 world premiere after party in Trafalgar Square, London on 7 July 2011 where he described him as "a classy guy," despite being "kind of scared of him" initially.[23][24][25]

When Rickman tragically passed away, aged 69 from a secret battle with pancreatic cancer on 14 January 2016, Clarke went into further detail on his meeting with him in a special televised tribute at both Rickman and Clarke's former school, Latymer Upper:[26][27][28]

"I told him I was terrified that my nose was far too small for the part and he said, 'Don't worry. My nose was exactly the same size as yours when I was your age.' I'm not sure if it's true, but at the moment, at that time, that was very important to hear!"
—Benedict on meeting Alan Rickman

Clarke has also been relatively open in discussing his views on Severus and Lily's relationship, commenting:[29]

"Bear in mind I'm the most contradictory person ever. I once tweeted, 'Snape deserved Lily.' And maybe he did. But I don't ship them, not really. Their friendship is lovely, but Sev decided to get involved in the Dark Arts, and called Lily a 'Mudblood' - he brought an end to it."
—Benedict on The Prince's Tale
Ben Clarke 1

Benedict c. December 2010

Since completing Potter, he has appeared in many amateur short films,[5] including lead parts in In the Wake of Sirens–a modern interpretation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies set within the confines of a locked car and was completed in late 2012[30]–and Andys. The latter was loosely based on Philip K. Dick's 1968 science fiction novel, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? and was directed by fellow Harry Potter alum Alec Hopkins, best known for playing the teenage incarnation of Snape in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The film is a little over 10 minutes in length and while it was shot in March 2012, before Sirens,[31] it wasn't released online via Hopkins' official Vimeo until early 2014.[32]

In August 2017, he joined the cast of Cambridge University American Stage Tour's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the supporting role of Oberon, King of the Fairies and will be performed from 28 August until 7 October at multiple touring locations.[33]

Personal life

Clarke was born in Hammersmith, west London, the son of Annabel Devas and Keith Clarke. He has one older sister, Sophie (b. 1993).[1][3][2][8][7] For his secondary education, he attended Latymer Upper School until 2014.[3][10][11][15] He enrolled at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in August 2016, majoring in English literature and is expected to graduate in June 2019.[34][35]

Filmography

Film

Year Format Title Role Notes
2011 Film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Young Severus Snape
2011 Short Film Cunningham Road Christopher Dir. Daniel James Gower
London South Bank University
2011 Short Film Awkward Façades David Thoreau Dir. Ali Jardine
Central School of Speech and Drama
2012 Short Film Mind Reader Zion Dir. Ali Jardine
2012 Short Film In the Wake of Sirens Kyle Dir. Nathan Coetzee
This was shot after Andys but was released before.
2012-14 Short Film Andys Andrew Dir. Alec Hopkins
This was shot before In the Wake of Sirens but was released after.
2017 Short film Cambridge Shorts[36] Cambridge University
ADC Theatre

Theatre

Year Format Title Role Notes
2016 Play Comedy Weakly[37][38] Television Host Dir. Josh Cleary
Cambridge University
ADC Theatre
2016 Play Lily[39][40] Gary Cambridge University
Corpus Playroom
2017 Musical Comedy BAND: Footlights' Harry Porter Prize Nominee[41] Dir. Olivia Gillman[42]
Cambridge University
The Marlowe Society
ADC Theatre
2017 Play Fen[43] Arch Dir. Louis Rogers
Cambridge University
ADC Theatre
2017 Play A Festival of New Writing[44] Jeremy Thorpe Cambridge University
Howard Theatre
2017 Play Mojo[45] Mickey Cambridge University
ADC Theatre
2017 Play Rom.Com[46] Dir. Lily Lindon
Cambridge University
ADC Theatre
2017 Play A Midsummer Night's Dream Oberon, King of the Fairies Dir. Lucy Moss[47]
Cambridge University American Stage Tour
ADC Theatre
Ely Cathedral
Indian River Charter High School, Florida
Sebastian River High School, Florida
The Theatre at Little Washington, Virgina
Harrisburg Academy, Pennsylvania
Frostburg State University, Maryland
St John Fisher College, Rochester, New York
Shakespeare Academy at Stratford, Connecticut
The Prospect Playhouse, Grand Cayman

Behind the scenes

Tumblr lo0ks61RKW1qdw1bro1 500

Ben and Ellie Darcey-Alden at the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 world premiere in July 2011

Benedict Clarke by Angela Donnithorne 2011

Benedict c. 2011

  • He attended school with fellow Harry Potter alum Alfie McIlwain (young James Potter) at Latymer Upper.[3][15]
  • He and late co-star Alan Rickman were not only born in the same district of Hammersmith, but both also attended the same secondary school, Latymer Upper.[26][27][28]
  • To further the Rickman connection, his father's first name is the same as the middle name of Rickman's younger brother, Michael: "Keith."

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 England & Wales births 1837-2006. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Noonan, Barry, comp. London, England, Births and Christening Notices from The Times, 1983-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: The Times. London, England: The Times, 1983-2003.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter Film Series Cast: Benedict Clarke. MuggleNet. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  4. Clarke, Benedict. "How tall are you?" Tumblr. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Benedict Clarke Résumé. KidsCastingCallPro.com/uk. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  6. Benedict Clarke Résumé. StarNow. Retreived 4 December 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Clarke, Sophie. "Sophie Clarke Official Instagram." Instagram. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005. General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Registration no. 22A. District & sub. 2311A. Entry no. 089. Print.
  9. Young Severus Snape & Scorpius Malfoy actors in Deathly Hallows: Part II revealed. SnitchSeeker.com. 23 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Video: New Potter Kid Actors at LeakyCon 2011. YouTube. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2013. Event occurs at 4:33.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "How did you come across the (role) for Harry Potter?" Tumblr. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  12. Clarke, Benedict. "How old were you in DH pt 2"? Tumblr. 22 January 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  13. Gotobed, Rohan. Harry Potter and Me. Wordpress. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  14. Darcey-Alden, Ellie. Ellie Darcey-Alden Biography. IMDb. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Clarke, Benedict. "How did they pick you?" Tumblr. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  16. Clarke, Benedict. "When exactly did you film the scenes in DH2? (like, month/year)." Tumblr. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  17. Clarke, Benedict. "How long did it take to film your scenes in Harry Potter?" Tumblr. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  18. Video: Live From 205 News Interview with Ellie Darcey-Alden. YouTube. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  19. Clarke, Benedict. "Did you have to dye your hair for the role of young Snape?" Tumblr. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  20. Video: Harry Potter Cast Junket @ LeakyCon – Evanna Lynch, Scarlett Byrne and More. YouTube. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013. Event occurs at 29:16.
  21. Clarke, Benedict. "What was your favorite part of filming HP?" Tumblr. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Gotobed, Rohan. Harry Potter and I. Wordpress. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  23. Clarke, Benedict. "Did you get to meet Alan Rickman?" Tumblr. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  24. Clarke, Benedict. "Did you ever get to meet Alan Rickman?" Tumblr. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  25. Clarke, Benedict. "While filming DH2 did you get to speak to Alan Rickman?" Tumblr. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Video: Benedict Clarke Interview on Alan Rickman. Getty Images. (Archived from the original on Oh No They Didn't!) 14 January 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Video: Alan Rickman Latymer Upper School. YouTube. 17 January 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Video: Sky News Tribute Alan Rickman. YouTube. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  29. Clarke, Benedict. "What do YOU think about (Severus and Lily)?" Tumblr. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  30. Coetzee, Nathan. Video: In the Wake of Sirens (Full Film). Vimeo. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  31. Hopkins, Alec. "me and @benedictclarke on the set of my short film." Twitter. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  32. Hopkins, Alec. Video: Andys (Full Film). Vimeo. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  33. Clarke, Benedict. "very excited to continue carving my cambridge theatre niche of dubious club bouncer. please come and see!!!" Facebook. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  34. Clarke, Benedict. "About." Facebook. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  35. Clarke, Benedict. "Started School at St Catharine's College Cambridge." Facebook. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  36. Clarke, Benedict. "come and see me making out with joe sefton whilst deploying a somewhat dubious american accent." Facebook. 15 May 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  37. Booker, Ned. Preview: Comedy Weakly. Varsity. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  38. Clarke, Benedict. "I play an erratic 105-year-old television personality kept alive on a cocktail of drugs." Facebook. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  39. Clarke, Benedict. "Lily is dead. Where were you?" Facebook. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  40. Video: Lily Trailer. YouTube. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  41. Bradshaw, Sian. Introducing: BAND A. Varsity. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  42. The Marlow Society: Previous Productions. The Marlowe Society. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  43. Aitchison, Rosie. Review: Fen. Varsity. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  44. Clarke, Benedict. "Come and see me play Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party between 1967 and '76, drinking whisky and plotting a murder." Facebook. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  45. Cavenagh, Clare. "Mojo Review." Cambridge Theatre Review. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  46. Clarke, Benedict. "THE NEW RPG ROMANTIC COMEDY By Lily Lindon." Facebook. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  47. A Midsummer Night's Dream: Cast & Creative. ADC Theatre. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  48. World premiere for 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2' set for July 7. Los Angeles Times. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  49. Video: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Premiere London – Magical Omnibus. YouTube. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2013. Event occurs at 3:52.
  50. Meet the Deathly Hallows actors at LeakyCon 2011! The Leaky Cauldron. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  51. MuggleNet's Kat Miller moderates the Harry Potter actor panel at LeakyCon London. MuggleNet. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  52. Alohomora! Episode 43: 'Live at LeakyCon London!' – Now Available! MuggleNet. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2014.

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