Jim Spellman/WireImage; Gustavo Caballero/Getty
Michelle Tauber
June 24, 2014 01:40 PM

Never underestimate the underdog.

Matthew Lewis, who played awkward but ultimately heroic Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, says he is “incredibly flattered” by the attention he’s received for his striking transformation over the years.

“It kind of leaves me at a loss for words,” he told PEOPLE at the VIP and media preview for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios in Orlando last week. “I don’t know what to make of it.”

The English actor, 24, admits that he has a tough time watching himself onscreen in the early Potter films.

“I cringe, I really do,” he says. “I don’t watch the films at all. It’s like home movies. When your parents get your home movies out, no kid wants to watch that!”

Still, he embraces his character’s impact on fans.

“To be able to portray that journey of underdog to hero was amazing,” he says. “If that inspires anyone who does poor at school, or isn’t particularly as good at stuff as they should be – if that helps people, that’s the most amazing feeling ever.”

The Stars Hit the Red Carpet at the Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

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