December Boys Presscall with Daniel Radcliffe for HP Fansites
Transcribed by allo.
An audio clip of this phone conference for Harry Potter-related fansites, in which DanRadcliffe.com participated, is available here: December Boys Presscall
Q (DanRadcliffe.com): Is there one particular aspect of the film that you’re most proud of or one recollection of the filming you’re going to take back with you forever?
Daniel Radcliffe: I think one thing is that I’ve made a lot of really, really great friends out there. I’ve made one friend in particular who I’m still very much in contact with and is a really, really close friend, and so that’s the thing I’ll probably take away from the film most is that friendship. In terms of aspects of the film I’m the most proud of, I’d say that a) it’s beautiful, it’s… visually it’s wonderful and beautiful and terrific and all those things, but also I’m really pleased with the relationship and chemistry between all the four boys, myself included in that. I’m really pleased with what we achieved there. We were four people who’d never met each other before and we were all thrown together and there was a good chance we might not get on but luckily we did. So I think that’s one of the things we were very, very lucky with and one of the things I’m proudest of in the film.
Q: In the film, can you explain the meaning or the symbolism of the old man and the fish?
DR: I think that was mainly to do with the… What you have to remember when you watch the film is it a reminiscence. It is somebody’s memory of what actually happened and so certain things are exaggerated or have been made more magical by the imagination, and I think that, and also the horse, are the two very firm examples of that and also I think it was the writer’s and Rod Hardy’s homage to “Old Man and the Sea”.
Q: Was working on a tighter schedule than on a Harry Potter film better for you? Do you think that brought a better performance?
DR: I don’t know if it brought a better performance necessarily. I did this and I’ve also just finished a film called My Boy Jack which was an even tighter schedule … and you were doing seven scenes a day. And I think what it does teach you is it teaches you even more about the absolute vitality of knowing everything you have to do when you get on set that day. You can’t just learn the first scene and then learn the others. You have to learn six scenes more absolutely, make sure they’re totally prepared. So it taught me a lot about focus and professionalism and things like that. But I don’t know if it necessarily brought out a better performance, although possibly the chaos of filming in those situations does have quite an energizing effect.
Q: If J.K. Rowling told you early on that Harry was getting a death scene, she revealed, and you carried this secret around with you for ages and then close to the release of the book you said that you thought that Harry was going to die any more, what was it like carrying this around and what kind of release did you feel upon getting to the end of this saga?
DR: It was actually really fun, the all-consuming sense of smugness that I was carrying around with me was just joyous! To be honest, I wasn’t even tempted to reveal the secret or anything like that so there was nothing that I was ever even once tempted to say.
Q: Other than your hopes of doing Equus on Broadway, are there any other projects you’d like to do after Half-Blood Prince is done filming?
DR: It’s a good question. I don’t actually know. We’re always being sent scripts and I’m always reading lots of different things, different projects, and there’s a couple of things that are very, very interesting but nothing has been even close to confirmed about anything. It’s still early stages in those processes, I’ve not really got anything to say at the moment. Certainly I am looking to do something between Half-Blood Prince and anything and Equus, but if nothing comes along that I think’s right then obviously I won’t. I’m not going to do something just for the sake of it.
Q: Has Harry Potter in any way prepared you to play the part of yet another unloved orphan?
DR: I don’t think you can, to be honest, compare the two because they are so different. To say that playing one orphan means you could play another is sort of to imply that all orphans are the same and, of course, that’s obviously not the case. I tried not to involve any of the processes that I’d gone through while playing Harry to play Maps because I wanted Maps to be a standalone character and not to have been influenced by anything else I had done.
Q: Since you’ve already been fully nude on stage, did that prepare you for the intimate scene in December Boys?
DR: Actually, I did December Boys about a year and a couple months before I did Equus, so it was really that the scene in December Boys was probably almost a warm-up for going nude on stage, so it was rather the other way around on that occasion.
Q: I’m also Australian and I’d be very interested to know what special things you did to work on your Aussie accent.
DR: It was mainly a matter of I had a dialect coach that I worked with for about six months before shooting, just to make sure, because you’ve probably heard the Aussie accent caricatured very badly and it’s very easy to caricature, but it’s not very easy to get the subtleties of and that’s what I was very very keen to do, and whenever anybody says to me things like, “You missed a vowel there or here,” I’m always tempted to say, “Well, yeah, you know I was doing an Adelaide accent.” That sounds slightly more English, apparently.
Q: I did hear you mention a little bit about not having a lot of time to do research, specifically with orphans and/or adoptive parents. As an adoptive parent of three American foster children, I’m curious if you had one question to sit down and ask an orphan, what would it be?
DR: The things I would’ve been asking about were like growing up in an orphanage, and what that would be like and that experience would’ve been like. The situation that these orphans find themselves in is pretty unique because it’s a Catholic orphanage in the Australian outback, so those are the kinds of questions I would have been asking. In particular, there was one guy who was a consultant on the film who had been through very similar experiences. And I suppose also I would have been asking about, “Do you feel, when you’re growing up, are you constantly aware that you’re missing something or is it something that slips into the background very much?”
Q: You also had worked for about six months on an Australian accent. I’m curious if you ever accidentally slip into it every once in a while?
DR: Not really. It was one of those things where you try and do it as much as you can and so I’d read aloud in it, I’d try and talk to my parents in it just around the house, which became probably really, really irritating for them. It was mainly about just doing it as often as you can, so if I did slip into it by accident, it was probably quite a good thing.
Q: If you had a mentor, who would be your biggest mentor, either in acting or just in life in general?
DR: In terms of acting, certainly it’s Gary Oldman, definitely. I’ve learned a lot from him, I’ve got huge amount of admiration and respect for him and he’s a lovely bloke. And I suppose in terms of life, it would obviously be my parents and also my best friend Will is somebody I look up to hugely and is a great guy and has been amazing with me on these films [the HP films] because he’s been there from the very beginning.
Q: What message do you want to send through this film?
DR: The main message of this film is that family need not be about blood connections. The family is who you love and who you trust and who you are protected by and who you protect. And I think that’s the main thing of the film. The December Boys’ family, as in those four boys, is just as valid in their relationship as any “mother, father and son” setup.
Q: In the past you’ve done extensive research to get in the mind and spirit of your characters. Was there anything in particular you did to prepare for December Boys?
DR: For me it was mainly a case of shaking off the natural enthusiasm I have for life because Maps really does not have that. So for me, mainly, it was just a case of trying to lose that and trying to be as reserved and restrained as I could in my own life as well as when I was on set.
Q: I was wondering if you could describe a little bit about the role that Maps has. Could you discuss briefly the roles of the children as the competition for the affection of the adoptive couple increases in the storyline?
DR: Maps is really very much the older brother/father figure to these boys and that’s very much the role he’s assigned himself and he wants to protect them. I think the other boys, as you say, they are all very, very distinct personalities and are all essentially competing for the affections of this potential family. So I think what’s brilliant about the film is that they don’t just… well, that is a brilliant part of the story… they each have their own story outside of that bit about the boys’ discovery and realization in the book.