Daniel Radcliffe Talks about the Changes in Harry’s Life
By Marie Morreale for Scholastic Publishing, May 2004.
It’s been almost three years since we first met Daniel Radcliffe. Introduced to us as a young Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Daniel took on a role that has since made him a famous face.
When asked what it’s like to be recognized, this is what he said: “It doesn’t affect me at all because people are always so positive about the films. If they were nasty then I’d have a problem with that.”
Following is an interview with Daniel by our Entertainment Editor, Marie Morreale.
Q: Prisoner of Azkaban is a much darker book than the first two, and it deals with serious issues like bullying and self-doubt. Do you consider it a turning point in the series and if so, why?
Dan: I very much think that it is, whereas the first two focus on Harry overcoming physical challenges like the basilisk, the devil’s snare and things like that in the first one; the third book is focused a lot more on the emotional contents. It’s a more emotionally intense journey in terms of Harry’s character. So that’s what I think separates it from the first two books in a very major way. Also, what I love about this book in particular is that it does go into such great detail about emotion and, like you said, self-doubt, while still being able speak to all kinds of different age groups of readers.
Q: So it’s sort of a beginning for the audience to see a part of Harry that hasn’t been seen before?
Dan: Oh, definitely. Absolutely.
Q: There are lots of new characters introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban, like Sirius and Lupin. Why do you think Sirius is such an important character in this book and in the rest of the series?
Dan: Well, what I’ve always said about Sirius is that, if there was any other character I could play it would be Sirius, because I think he’s such an interesting character because of his relationship and the same with Lupin—his relationship with Harry’s father. They knew Harry’s dad very well; they were his best friends. Now they’ve just met his son for the first time really, and that’s what I think makes it interesting. Their relationship with Harry, they spent so much time with Harry’s dad, and he’s treating them as kind of new fathers in a way.
Q: Again, Harry learns a lot more about his real father in this book. How do you think this information changes him?
Dan: One thing that’s interesting about the third book is that when we first see him, he thinks that he knows everything that there was to know about the past and his father, and basically in this book that’s all completely shaken around and turned upside down. That’s where all the self-doubt comes in. He thinks, oh, if he doesn’t know certain things, he doesn’t know about his dad. Well, what else doesn’t he know? And if he’s finding these things out, maybe there are other things as well. So I think that’s what really makes it an interesting book, because it does deal so much with self-consciousness, worry, and self-doubt.
Q: Do you relate to all those issues of soul-searching and questioning in your own personal experiences growing up and discovering who you are?
Dan: Well I think everybody does, really. Everybody at some point or another in their life will not want to find out about their past, or who they are. I think normally that happens slightly later on in life, but because Harry’s grown up when he has, without a father, and is finding out new things about his father, I think that’s why it happens this early in the book.
Q: Obviously you’re recognized a lot. What do you like to do to relax, and does being recognized affect that?
Dan: It doesn’t affect it at all because people are always so positive about the films. I mean, they’re never nasty. If they were nasty then I’d have a problem with that. What do I do to relax? I watch a lot of other films, I listen to music, I read, I see my friends. Stuff like that.
Q: About music. . . you’re into a lot of alternative punk and stuff like that.
Dan: I’m into guitar music, really.
Q: In other words, the guitar is the central thing. Do you play guitar?
Dan: I play bass.
Q: Have you ever considered going into a band?
Dan: Oh, I’d love to play in a band.
Q: Harry’s considered a hero. Who have your heroes been in your life?
Dan: Honestly, I have absolutely infinite respect for my mom and dad and my best friend, Will, whom I’ve known since I was 12. They’re sort of my main influences in my life really.