Daniel Radcliffe And Why Harry Potter Is All Grown Up In “The Order Of The Phoenix”
By Emmanuel Itier for IF Magazine, 2nd July 2007
Things are getting dark for Harry Potter in the new film HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, and that’s just fine with actor Daniel Radcliffe the young man behind those famous (often broken) glasses. Lord Voldemort returned at the end of the last film, and a fellow student was slain, and yet there are few back in the wizarding world that believe the tale Harry Potter has to tell. Alone, more than ever before, Harry find out who his true friends are and bands together with them to form Dumbledore’s army to confront the growing darkness in their world. Radcliffe is no stranger to darkness, as he just finished a run as the tortured Alan Strang in a stage production of “Equus.” The young actor embraces the challenges his actor career has presented him, and iF MAGAZINE found out, he is prepared for Harry to die in the upcoming seventh and final installment of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series.
iF MAGAZINE: I would like to ask what is it like to initiate a new director?
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: What … like hazing? No, no … I don’t know … it’s great. I think that when a new director comes onboard there is a real sense of excitement because you know you’re aware that something new is going to be brought to the table, and that’s always … ahhh, I think that can only be an exciting prospect. So I don’t think we go through any particular rituals.
iF: Growing up with this character, have you found that its influenced you in real life, the way you are today?
RADCLIFFE: I mean it’s important to realize that when you commit to a ‘Potter’ film it is, you know, on the whole about a sort of a 10-month commitment. And so it’s never something– and especially if we were thinking about not only the sixth film or the seventh, that’s two years. So it’s never something that should be rushed into lightly, and a lot was made of it that was, you know, obviously generated by the media, I suppose. But in terms of growing up with the characters, that’s sort of a question that gets asked in different ways and, and it’s one that I think people would always want us to say, “Yes … we couldn’t live without them”, and while they have been amazing I don’t know if they’ve actually influenced us. I don’t– well, certainly for me it’s– I can only speak for myself or course, I don’t know that Harry– Harry’s, as a character, has influenced my character too much. And… I don’t how you guys feel about that. I had a hideous reaction at one point at a screening of HARRY POTTER 5. And there was a picture of me on screen from, unsurprisingly, and then there was a clip of me from the first film at one point is used in the fifth film. And I just heard loads of girls go, ‘Aaahhh’ (Laughs). That was just… soul destroying.
iF: The last book will be out in a few weeks. Did J.K. Rowling give you a little preview?
RADCLIFFE: No, none of us got a preview. Only JK Rowling’s husband has recently found out what happens.
iF: With your Potter paycheck, what, if anything, have you treated yourself to over the years?
RADCLIFFE: Nothing particularly exciting. I’m quite interested in artwork and things like that, but I’m not going to — I’ve never been into cars or anything like that. So I don’t think I’m going to splash out on a classic car collection, which I think people really expect me to. And ahh, yes, so I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything particularly exciting. Now I would like to point out at this moment in time that I have not bought and never plan to buy a Fiat Punto, as reported by, I think “London Lite”. And it’s completely untrue and the best of the article said that I was working with Fiat to provide — to get just the right shade of green. I would like to announce to date that that has never happened.
iF: Harry goes through a great deal of emotional stress and angst in this film, so does Alan Strang in “Equus”. I was just wondering if you leave these roles at the end of the day, or do you take them home with you?
RADCLIFFE: Yeah, it’s very important to leave Alan Strang in the theatre. (Laughs) Yeah, I know what you mean, it sometimes, I suppose, could be hard to detach yourself from a certain character. I mean having done the show for sixteen weeks, you know you do get very attached to him, and in a way you do miss him. And in a way you do miss doing it and going out night after night, but at the same time it is essential that you leave it behind and move on. And now it’s time, you know, that I am doing another film in August and then on to HARRY POTTER. So it’s just time to keep moving on to other things now.
iF: And your stage experience?
RADCLIFFE: The stage experience was phenomenal; I think it came at exactly the right time for me, and it was just, you know, at that stage it was exactly what I needed to do. And it was great fun, it was fantastic. I met some brilliant people and got to work with Richard Griffiths in a totally different capacity, because as Uncle Vernon it’s great and we always have a laugh, but he’ll only act for a week, a week and a half. And so to spend sixteen weeks or more because of rehearsals with him, this kind of character was fantastic.
iF: What message do you want people to take both from the movie as a whole and from your performance?
RADCLIFFE: I also think it is about Harry’s character, yes, it’s about sticking to your guns. And you know, if you know something is the truth and is right, and then you can’t let yourself be compromised by other people and outside forces. And that’s what Harry and Dumbledore go through in this film, and that for me is another essential message of the film. Of course individually, I don’t really know. I think we’re a lot better as well. (Laughs) We have all grown and developed, and I think that it does add something to the film. So you know, I think, yeah.
iF: There is so much speculation about the book. So how would you feel if your character doesn’t make it?
RADCLIFFE: A couple of years ago I said that I would like Harry to die — because I think that is, as you say, a completed ending, and but so I’m going to stay away from that now because the next day it said in the headlines: “Radcliffe wants Harry Dead”! That was awful. So I do think it would be fitting, in a way, because I think that when you consider the prophecy that’s been made about him and Voldemort, I think that one of them has got to go. Well, I don’t know. There’s nothing I can really say. I think he might — but that’s based on absolutely nothing.
iF: How easy did you find it to become a leader and teacher of Dumbledore’s Army?
RADCLIFFE: Those scenes were great for me. I mean, I was thinking that as a sort of, you know– he starts off as this sort of very reluctant leader/teacher, and by the end he’s Henry V. And to the point where, you know, David Yates, the director, did actually give me notes and said, “Dan, could you rein it in a bit!” So, you know, it was great. The only problem with those scenes that the set we filmed them on had under-floor lighting and that whole place was mirrors. So in every shot you found like there were lights all around and there were reflected in all the mirrors, which meant that set seemed to be like a degree hotter than the sun.