Radcliffe Revels In Challenges Of Dark Goblet Of Fire
By Tim Lammers for Boston Channel, 14th November 2005
Anybody who has read “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” already knows that they can expect dark times ahead for their hero Harry, magically embodied again by Daniel Radcliffe in the hotly-anticipated film version of J.K. Rowling’s international best-seller.
But people familiar with “Goblet” also well-know that its cup doesn’t runneth over with complete doom and gloom — well, at least from an adult’s perspective.
Taking a big step into the teen years, Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) face the dreadful prospect of getting dates to Hogwarts’ traditional Yule Ball dance. Harry has a date in mind, but getting her to go is something that all the wizard’s powers in the world can’t help him with.
Harry’s so pathetic with girls,” Radcliffe told me with a laugh during a recent @ The Movies interview. “It was great fun for me for me to play that in him — that really awkward nature of the first crush. It’s awkward, awful and horrible, but it’s completely wonderful. That’s what we were trying to capture — the fact that it’s so horrible and excruciating, but also, he’s never been happier than when he’s in those excruciating moments.”
But while he had to play angst on-screen, Radcliffe in reality was having the time of his life on the dance floor.
“I loved doing the dance sequence,” Radcliffe gushed. “My parents were competition-winning dancers when they were young. They were very good.”
The only thing that could have made it better, Radcliffe added, was if he were allowed more time to do it.
“I actually had a lot less rehearsal time — I had about two or three days and everybody else had about three weeks,” he said.
There’s no question that Radcliffe’s dance card was full with work on other aspects of the film, which opens in theaters and on IMAX screens Friday nationwide. At the heart of “Goblet of Fire,” Harry is mysteriously entered into the prestigious, yet death-defying Triwizard Tournament, where he takes on the older and more experienced Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson), as well as two students from other European wizard schools — Beauxbatons’ Fleur Delacour (Clemence Poesy) and Durmstrang’s Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski). But as Harry eventually comes to discover, the tournament is only a prelude to yet another terrifying encounter with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
The climactic scene is especially riveting because it involves Harry experiencing the death of one of his colleagues firsthand — territory that Radcliffe had not examined in first three Harry Potter films. Needless to say, it was a difficult challenge for the actor, but one he wholeheartedly embraced.
“That was really hard work,” Radcliffe told me. “In the Voldemort scene, I don’t say much. I have a few lines, but it’s not extensive at all. So, it was about getting a massive range of feelings across to the audience without saying anything. People often say, ‘Is the hardest part of acting learning the lines?’ Oddly enough that’s the easiest part. It’s when you don’t have lines, but have to communicate the same emotions, that’s its actually very difficult. So doing those scenes was incredibly hard work, but I can’t tell you how much I loved doing them.”
The Voldemort encounter is not the only test put before Harry this time around: “The Goblet of Fire” also tests the strength of his seemingly unbreakable bond of his friendship with Ron and Hermione.
“The first films, particularly the first two, the story is about the strength of everything — the strength of friendship and the strength of loyalty,” Radcliffe observed. “The fourth film is about the weaknesses in relationships. It’s about the flaws in Ron’s and Harry’s relationship, that Ron obviously feels resentful towards Harry for certain reasons. (There’s also) the weakness in Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) — seeing for the first time that he’s not this all-powerful being who knows everything, but no matter what he says, he’s turning into a frail old man.”
Shaping Harry Potter
If there’s one thing the Harry Potter film productions don’t have to worry about, are script details leaking on the Internet. But since the Harry Potter books are known everywhere, it adds big pressure for the film versions to deliver something just as magical and memorable to the audience.
“It’s like ‘Apollo 13′ — we know what happens in the end,” said Radcliffe, 15. “It’s about how you present it. With my job portraying Harry, my job is to create interesting and accurate portrayal of him that I possibly can from the information I have on him in the books. I would never add anything like my own ideas into him, because he’s such of a clearly defined character. He such of an icon that, if I started changing things, there would be an uproar.”
As faithful as the films are to the books, Radcliffe noted that Rowling is very hands-off when it comes to bringing her creation to life on the big screen.
“She’s never sat me down and tutored as to the way Harry should be played,” Radcliffe said. “She’s always been very supportive of the films, and rightly, has treated them as separate things from the books. They are very different and she completely appreciates that we cannot fit everything into the movies.”
And while it seems reasonable that he would have Rowling’s cell number to call on short notice for guidance or advice, Radcliffe said that’s a no-go, too.
“She’s not so readily available nor do I think I would want her to be. Even if I did have her cell phone I wouldn’t be calling her because it would be a dangerous thing — I’d just want to call her to talk with her anyway because she’s really nice,” Radcliffe enthused.