‘Harry Potter’ Star Daniel Radcliffe Is ‘My Boy Jack’
By Rebecca Louie for Daily News, 19th April 2008
About a year ago, Daniel Radcliffe text-messaged a friend:
“Just got out of 2-foot muddy water filled with rats. In Ireland. Bucketing down. Two have gone off with hypothermia. It’s brilliant!”
With nearly half his life and career spent portraying boy wizard Harry Potter, it’s no shocker that Radcliffe has found magic in more mature parts. This fall, he reprises his hit London stage role as a troubled (and naked!) stable boy when “Equus” hits Broadway.
Sunday at 9, he plays Rudyard Kipling’s son in “My Boy Jack,” the rain-soaked war drama on PBS (Ch. 13) he giddily described in his text.
Despite severe myopia and being underage, Jack is pressed by his patriotic father to fight in World War I. Radcliffe says tapping the emotional and political themes of the time wasn’t difficult.
“We live in pretty turbulent times and the feel of the period wasn’t a massive mental stretch,” he says. “Much harder were the grueling physical demands of shooting. There was mud everywhere, and I’d have to shower twice to get it all off.
“It was so much fun. At first, the fact that I played Harry Potter was a novelty and the lads were having a bit of a laugh about it. But after two hours, when everyone was really feeling the cold, it didn’t matter. We just kept each other’s spirits up.”
On the flip side, concluding his stint as J.K. Rowling’s young hero brings Radcliffe a dash of heartache. This November, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” the sixth installment of the movie franchise, hits theaters.
He’s currently filming the series’ grand finale, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” – which is being made as two separate films.
“It’ll be quite sad and interesting to say goodbye to people who have become my best friends,” says Radcliffe. “But the exciting part is now I’ll be out in the big, wide world and doing different things.”
Some of them will be quite ordinary. Radcliffe describes himself as “boring,” a bit “old-fashioned” and one who “gets vast amounts of pleasure out of very simple things.” A big fan of cricket, he also enjoys reading literature and writing poems with strict rhyme and meter.
“I don’t need to go to a massive party to have a great time,” says Radcliffe, who speaks quickly and has a droll sense of humor. “I would much rather hang out with friends and watch a movie. Compared to how a lot of the younger actors in America have chosen to live, I lead a very, very dull life.”
Although he’s moving to Manhattan for his “Equus” stint (Radcliffe has already purchased two apartments: a $4.3 million loft on Mercer St. and a $4.9 million, three-bedroom on Morton), he insists he won’t party; he’s too dedicated to performing each night. His father, former ICM literary agent Alan Radcliffe, will join him in New York.
“My dad gave up his job to chaperone me on set,” says Radcliffe, who still lives with his parents in Fulham, West London.
“My dad has been with me every single day and I think it strengthened the relationship. I learned to talk to my dad in a situation that most teenagers wouldn’t find themselves in. I remember it shocking me when I was around at some of my friend’s houses, the way they would talk to their parents.”
“Equus” opens in September. Joining Radcliffe is “Potter” co-star Richard Griffiths, who won Tony and Olivier Awards in 2006 for his portrayal of a teacher in “The History Boys.”
During “Equus,” Radcliffe strips down for a sex scene, a climax that had many fans and theatergoers hot and literally bothered when he debuted in London’s West End last year.
“I think it’s rather funny that some people are rather overexcited about it,” says Radcliffe. “There was a sense of moral outrage in America, a little bit in England when it was announced I would be naked. I didn’t understand it because it’s just a character. No one actually minded that he blinds six horses. It’s a bit of a dose of double standard which aggravated me slightly.”
Though his privates soon won’t be, Radcliffe says he doesn’t have much else to hide; he’s not currently dating. “I am very busy with ‘Potter’ and all those things,” he says.
“I do love girls, love talking to girls. But at this point, [I'm] just very, very busy and I think relationships would not be the best idea.”