Actor Josh Herdman is hardly recognizable as the teenager who played Goyle in the Harry Potter films over a decade ago. Herdman just returned to the spotlight in a major way by appearing on the British competition series The Games, and many fans can hardly believe he's the same person. He told an interviewer from The Mirror that he takes fans' surprise in stride.
Herdman auditioned for Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone at the age of 13, originally seeking the role of Dudley Dursley but landing the role of Gregory Goyle instead. He stayed on for all 8 films He said that he hit a low point when the movies were over – partying too much, neglecting his career and damaging his health. However, he soon bounced back by focusing on his fitness and developing a passion for martial arts. He hopes these skills will serve him well on The Games.
The Games is a British reality show airing on ITV where 12 celebrities compete in various fitness challenges. They generally relate to the style of the Olympics and are comprised of events like weightlifting, gymnastics and diving. It originally aired from 2003 to 2006 and was just revived this spring for a new season.
Herdman will be one of the first contestants on this reboot. Some fans haven't seen him since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011, and they have been shocked by his transformation over the last decade. Others have followed his journey on Instagram and are proud to see how far he has come.
"It's great looking good and the transformation is really cool. You don't do it just for that, that's like an added bonus. It's more for your mental well-being," Herdman said. He added that his fitness journey was more about a lifestyle change than anything as he stopped partying so much and quit smoking cigarettes. He feels like his training has given him "discipline" and "tenacity" as well as stamina, the latter of which may be his biggest edge in the competition.
Herdman began his training with Japanese jujitsu and moved onto MMA. He now competes in MMA cage matches, and he admits he has a lot to learn going into The Games. He said: "I love a challenge and I'm really competitive. I always want to learn new stuff and we are being taught by the best coaches and teachers. It will be a fantastic life experience, learning new things, having a challenge and competition, so it ticks all the boxes for me."
"The event I'm most looking forward to is the canoe slalom. I've never done it and it's so alien to me. I imagine it will be like riding a motorbike, but I don't know how accurate that will be, we'll see," Herdman continued. "I'm least confident in the diving. I don't like jumping off things. I'm not scared of heights, I like flying, as long as I know I'm safe. But I don't like throwing myself off things, I'm not great with that. So that's what I'm least looking forward to. And the swimming. I've never been a strong swimmer."
The Games premiered on Monday, May 9 on ITV in the U.K. It will air every night for a week straight. In the U.S. you can stream the series via Britbox.