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'Harry Potter' alum Tom Felton stars in YouTube space thriller 'Origin'

By Karen Butler
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'Harry Potter' alum Tom Felton stars in YouTube space thriller 'Origin'
Tom Felton (L) and Philipp Christopher's new show "Origin" is to premiere Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of YouTube Premium

Nov. 14(UPI) -- Tom Felton said working on his new sci-fi series, Origin, forced him to consider how he would respond if offered the chance to start a new life on a different planet.

"I'd be tempted, but, no, I do enjoy this planet quite a lot," Felton told UPI with a laugh. "I love the idea of questioning whether you would do it or not. Right now, it's not a reality, but it probably will be at some point. Maybe not in our lifetime. Maybe in our children's children's (lifetimes.)"

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Created by writer-producer Mika Watkins and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the 10-episode, futuristic thriller is set to debut on YouTube Premium Wednesday.

Best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, Felton was cast in Origin as the abrasive Logan, one of the few passengers on a spaceship abandoned by its crew after an attack by something deadly that remains onboard.

The strangers -- who are all overcoming past traumas -- must build trust among one another and figure out how to steer their craft to their intended destination, a faraway planet where they can reinvent themselves. Individual episodes spotlight in flashback the lives the international passengers have chosen to leave behind.

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The project offered Felton, 31, the opportunity to finally share the screen for the first time with Natalia Tena. Although the 34-year-old actress played Nymphadora Tonks in the final four Harry Potter blockbusters, her heroine character and Felton's Draco never crossed paths.

Tena now plays Logan's fellow passenger, Lana.

"Nat and I joke because we never saw each other for a single day on set on Harry Potter. We just know each other from doing these sorts of things with the press, so it was nice to actually get a chance to finally work with her," Felton said.

"I always found him really fun and I liked the way he dealt with all the fans," Tena said of Felton's behavior at media events and Harry Potter conventions. "So, it was like: 'Oh, my God, you're on this show? Brilliant!'"

While the complete backstory for Logan was not revealed in the first six episodes made available for previewing, Lana's chapter divulged she is a former government agent overwhelmed with guilt after the people she was charged to protect were killed.

The character allowed Tena to develop Lana as a complicated woman who is physically capable and courageous, but also emotionally vulnerable.

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"I liked the fact there was a big, strong female presence in an ensemble piece," said Tena, who is also known for her portrayal of Osha on Game of Thrones.

The Origin actors said their jobs were made easier because the production team built enormous sets to look like the spaceship they were inhabiting and there was very little computer-generated animation involved.

"These were completely immersive," Felton said. "It felt very real. It's moving very slowly and subtly. You could very easily trick your mind into believing that you were in deep space."

Tena said a scene where she had to ascend the rungs along the side of a very tall shaft "genuinely scared" her.

"Those bits when I have to climb? I was like, 'I'm going to die.' That helps when you have to act," she said. "Fear is a great motivator."

The show co-stars Sen Mitsuji, Nora Arnezeder, Fraser James, Philipp Christopher, Madalyn Horcher and Siobhán Cullen.

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