He’s Harry Shocker
By Kevin Bourke for Manchester Evening News, 5th September 2007
DANIEL Radcliffe was hiding a naughty secret when the world got all hot under the collar about Harry Potter’s first screen kiss.
Because while Harry’s brief snog in The Order Of The Phoenix earlier this year was considered a landmark moment in the maturity of the boy wizard, Daniel had already lost his virginity on film!
Even before he began shooting Order Of The Phoenix, Radcliffe had actually completed a film, December Boys, set in sixties’ Australia, in which his character, an orphan called Maps, gets hot and steamy with a girl while on holiday with a group of his fellow orphans, who’ve all grown up behind the closed doors of a Catholic convent in the outback.
Added to his controversial, full-frontal, performance on the West End stage in Equus last year and the young Radcliffe is going all out to shed his image as a child actor.
“Yeah, it was pretty bizarre, having to keep quiet about a sex scene that I’d done a couple of years before,” laughs Radcliffe, who despite the worldwide success of the Potter films, is a level-headed and likeable 18-year old.
“Am I embarrassed when my mum and dad see me in something like Equus or that particular scene? No, there are no issues with me kissing a girl on-screen.
“To be honest, on the first night of Equus I had more things to worry about than what my mum and dad might think about seeing me without my clothes on.
“And the scene in December Boys, which I suppose I’d thought would be sort of cool and sexy, was quite clinical. My definition of a good kiss wouldn’t include the word clinical.”
Certainly, he was well aware that his first non-Potter film (although he did appear in The Tailor Of Panama before the first one) was something he needed to think about carefully.
“December Boys is a very simple, coming of age story.
“My character, Maps, is very, very different to Harry although I do feel as if personally I’ve got more in common with Harry because I’ve spent more time with him.
“Maps holds his cards very close to his chest, whereas Harry wears his heart on his sleeve and is very vocal about what he feels.
“With Maps you’ve got the same amount of information to communicate, in terms of both the plot and his emotions, but you’ve got fewer words with which to do it. Maps barely speaks for the first quarter of the film.
“The other attraction was that I spoke to a director a little while ago, not someone I’d worked with, and he gave me a very good piece of advice which was ‘make sure the next thing you do is an ensemble thing rather than it resting on you in any way’.
“That was what was very good about this and Equus.
“Although my face might be the one that’s recognised, it’s not really Maps’ story.”
Radcliffe, who was just 11 when he starred in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, has now turned 18. But does he feel more like an adult?
“No, but it’s interesting you should ask,” he says. “The day after I turned 18 I looked in the mirror and thought ‘right, now it’s time to start growing up and stuff.’
“However, I couldn’t figure out any way of doing it, so I’m still wondering about that and waiting for something to change.”
Casually, he mentions one of his closest friends is 41-years-old. So does he think his enviable maturity has anything to do with his line of work, where he is surrounded by adults for most of the time?
“I don’t know, to be honest. Because I haven’t known it any other way. When you’re young, the only relationships you have with adults, normally, are with either parents or teachers.
“Being in the Harry Potter films for such a long time, as I have, you have that relationship of working together and so you learn to communicate with them as peers.”
Away from the movies, Radcliffe is soon to be seen on the small screen in My Boy Jack, which is based on a play by David Haig, of a true story involving Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling used his influence to get his 17-year-old son Jack, played by Radcliffe, into the British army during World War I, even though Jack had poor eyesight. Jack was killed in battle and Kipling and his wife spent several years searching for his body.
“For many people my age,” Radcliffe observes, “the First World War is just a topic in a history book. However, I’ve always been fascinated by the subject and think it’s as relevant today as it ever was, with young men still sacrificing their lives in the name of war.”
December Boys opens on September 14. My Boy Jack is scheduled to be screened on ITV in November.