Daniel Radcliffe: Bullish Over ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’
Source: Manila Times, Apr 29th, 2004.
HOODED figures who prowl the night. A mysterious purple, London double-decker bus. An escaped killer. And a boy wizard looking for answers while running for his life. This could only be Warner Bros.’ new fantasy adventure Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban starring Daniel Radcliffe who’s playing Harry, the bespectacled young wizard, for the third time. Get to know Radcliffe’s thoughts on making the third Harry Potter installment in the following interview.
QUESTION: Has it been a different experience working with a new director?
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: Chris Columbus had a very high-energy approach to the whole thing. Alfonso Cuarón is much more laid back, yet with an intensity that is suited to the third film. Alfonso was such a logical and perfect choice because Y Tu Mama Tambien was a film about teenagers becoming men and Harry Potter 3 is about children becoming teenagers. He understands and gets teenagers.
Q: Has Alfonso Cuaron given you a new perspective on the character?
Daniel: Definitely. The leap from the second book to the third book in terms of Harry’s character is the biggest out of the whole series because Harry is basically becoming a teenager now and that brings so many things with it. He’s got angst and is completely unsure of himself and generally really confused throughout the entire film.
Q: How did you approach this?
Daniel: It’s actually quite good because Harry and I are roughly about the same age at this point. We are going through pretty much the same things. And Alfonso really helped because the first time I actually met him, he asked us to write an essay on the character at the beginning of the third film, what he is feeling and putting him in the situation of being locked up at the Dursleys. Mine was a page long and Emma had written about 16 pages. Rupert and I were slightly intimidated by that. She has really neat writing whereas I have the writing of a five-year-old.
Q: Do you feel the same as Harry?
Daniel: In certain things I do. I can’t say I feel isolated from people. I’m surrounded by huge amounts of people every day. I do feel that confusion that every adolescent goes through. It’s a universal thing. When you are a teen, you question the world a lot more than you do when you are nine or ten. When you first see him, he’s 11. When he turns 13 in this book, it opens up a whole new world—he’s starting to notice girls, which brings a huge amount of other stuff into it.
Q: Between making the movies, is it easy to stop thinking as Harry?
Daniel: Personally, it is easy. But then you get people coming up all the time and asking about it. So you are always reminded about it. I don’t take Harry with me when I stop filming.
Q: Do you see acting as your career?
Daniel: I really like doing it. I was working with Gary Oldman today. That was unbelievable. And the actual work is fantastic. In a way, I don’t really think about a career because it is too much fun, everyone says jobs aren’t supposed to be fun. Some people call this a job. Whatever happens, happens—I don’t think about it that much.
Q: Do you think the movie version of Harry has deviated from the original book in any way?
Daniel: Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that is completely different from the book. One thing that has happened is Alfonso has been very accurate in predicting in how one aspect of his character will turn out. He felt that he was quite an arrogant person even before the fourth and fifth books came out. He knew. I don’t know if he talked to J.K. Rowling about it, but his instinct with Harry—as was Chris Columbus’—is very accurate.
Q: There seems to be a more modern look for Harry and friends?
Daniel: We still have the uniforms, but everything is a lot more broken down, as you can see (gestures to the jeans and top he is wearing), this is particularly broken because a huge dog has dragged me. Another thing that Alfonso said at the beginning was that he asked what kind of things Harry would wear and we went through it.
Q: What are you into at home?
Daniel: I’m watching The Deer Hunter at the moment, which is fantastic. I love Christopher Walken. I’ve watched Donnie Darko and the other day I watched Double Indemnity which was really cool. I also watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, because I am reading the book. It was awesome. I love Johnny Depp.
Q: Can you tell us about your friendship with Emma and Rupert?
Daniel: The bond just keeps getting stronger and stronger. We do have arguments—err, heated discussions—I mean. We never argue! Okay, we do argue sometimes, about stuff like making a crazy golf course out of card-board. There is a circular saw in Rupert’s room at the moment which I got. I’m like the scrounger, I can get you anything.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene from the new film?
Daniel: I love the scenes with—they are always really emotional—with David Thewlis and Gary Oldman. A) Because they are fantastic scenes and B) because I am working with David Thewlis and Gary Oldman, these two unbelievable geniuses. I’m just doing a scene at the moment with Gary where the Dementors are sucking both of our souls which I love doing because I just get to completely spaz out. It’s like having a fit in a way. There’s going to be some special effect. You’ll see. We saw the rough visual effect the other day, and even through them, you could see it was really sad, but terrifying at the same time.
Q: Is there a sense of loss not having Richard Harris around?
Daniel: There is that. I do miss Richard because he was Richard, I loved him. But Michael Gambon, I can’t think of anyone better to stand in. Like on his first day, he came out with the costume and beard and the way he walked and talked in an Irish accent was a tribute to Richard, really good. He is going to be great.