Quint and Daniel Radcliffe have a little chat about everything HARRY POTTER!!!
By Quint for Ain’t It Cool, 7th July 2007
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Now this is kind of a Frankenstein interview. I first talked to Daniel Radcliffe in a one on one situation over the phone earlier this year. I wasn’t allowed to post the interview until around the time my set visit hit.
We had 10 minutes then and I had an in-person one-on-one interview while attending the junket. It’s another 10 minutes. So, we’ll end up with a decent sized interview when all is said and done.
If you find any inconsistencies, please forgive them as a byproduct of melding two different interviews. I think I caught them all (most notably that he hadn’t signed on to the final 2 movies when I conducted the first interview, so there were a few references of “if the 7th movie happens” that I had to remove), but if any squeaked by don’t be too harsh.
Here’s the chat! Enjoy!
Quint: I was at that big press day for ORDER OF THE PHOENIX a while back…
Daniel Radcliffe: That was mad, wasn’t it? All those days when there’s hundreds of journalists are very, very strange because literally you’re flittering between interviews and scenes. It can be a bit odd.
Quint: We don’t do many of these junkets at AICN… I actually like to watch the filming more than anything else and we got to spend maybe 10 minutes doing that, but that was 10 minutes of getting to watch Gary Oldman work, so that right there was worth it for me.
Daniel Radcliffe: He’s just a joy to watch, isn’t he?
Quint: He was awesome. I was geeking out pretty hard. I’m a huge LEON and ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD fan.
Daniel Radcliffe: Ah! He’s fantastic. Watching him go through rehearsals and things… he’s constantly, constantly refining his performances and it just gets better all the time. It’s amazing to watch. ‘Cause you work with some (people) and they know what they’re going to do and they get in there and they do it. But Gary comes in with an idea at what he wants to do, but then (he takes) everything around him… It’s what he does. He will adapt to any situation and it’s brilliant. It’s great to watch.
Quint: Let’s talk about David Yates a little bit. One of the things I really like about the Potter movies so far is the fact that different directors come in now for each movies and I think it has really kept the series fresh.
Daniel Radcliffe: You’re absolutely right.
Quint: What do you think David’s bringing to this movie and the series?
Daniel Radcliffe: David has a real, quiet intensity about him and he’s a real nice guy. You won’t find a bad word said about him from any member of the crew or any member of the cast on the set. He’s a real joy to work with as a director and as a person. He’s one of the reasons that caused this film to be my favorite to work on.
Quint: Now that I’ve gotten a chance to see the movie I like the sense of reality to it. And not just reality, it’s still a fantastic story…
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah.
Quint: But just that opening sequence… it reminds you that this wizarding world is still just right next door to the world that we all recognize.
Daniel Radcliffe: Yes, exactly. There was actually a moment on the third film where Alfonso (Cuaron) thought it would be amazing if we had a plane going by in the background. But, of course, we can’t really orchestrate that, but it almost happened at one point and we thought it would have been amazing to show that they are linked up with one another.
Quint: I think having that reality accentuates the magic, gives it a context.
Daniel Radcliffe: And also it makes it more real because it’s like when you suddenly see something like a Dementor arriving in a situation you recognize, ie not just seeing them about in some very strange, spooky houses, but actually seeing them in underpasses… that’s when it starts to hit home slightly more.
Quint: I think you guys have been giving better and better performances throughout the series, but it really seemed like Yates stressed naturalism on this film.
Daniel Radcliffe: We take a big leap forward in this one, I think. There’s no question the performances got better from all of us. I think David did great things working with me and I think he really pushed me to an extent that I hadn’t been before. That I hadn’t been able to be pushed before because I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t good enough. But now that I am getting better he saw that and really wanted to make my performance really good. I’m really grateful to him for getting me going.
Quint: I just talked to David and he was really the coolest guy…
Daniel Radcliffe: He’s lovely, isn’t he? He’s so nice.
Quint: It’s funny because he’s so soft spoken, but at the same time he’s got just as much geek energy about the series and books.
Daniel Radcliffe: (laughs) Yes, absolutely. And it’s essential. Everybody needs a lot of energy on this film. I have to say, David’s done a remarkable job at looking the same now at the end as he did at the beginning. And he’s managed to somehow, and God, I don’t know how ‘cause boy does he work hard… He works late, long hours, he starts in pre-production months before, he’s been in post-production for months and he’s now in pre-production for Six. He’s working seriously hard and he’s still got as much enthusiasm for doing it as when he started, which is remarkable.
Quint: Do you find that now that you’re over the middle point of the entire series… I mean, the last book is on the verge of being released and you only have two more films to go, do you find yourself looking at life after Potter and career after Potter?
Daniel Radcliffe: When we’re doing Harry Potter 6 I’ll let it start to… I’ll be looking for stuff to do afterwards… And after Harry Potter 7 I’d be pretty freed up to do whatever I liked after that, which is a very exciting feeling.
Quint: But you definitely want to keep acting, though?
Daniel Radcliffe: Oh yeah, definitely. I want to write as well, but I do want to act first. That’s my main thing, yeah.
Quint: Now, something I’m curious about… because I can’t help doing this as a fan of the movies and a fan of the books, but when I read the new books I find I tend to visualize the story in the movie universe. When you read the books do you look at them almost like a rough draft of a screenplay?
Daniel Radcliffe: (laughs) I tend to… when I read the book the first time I read it just as everybody else reads it; as a fan. I have to say I do visualize myself doing it, but I read it just as anyone else. The second time I read it, which is normally much closer to filming, I would have to say that I read it with a sort of what-are-they-going-to-cut attitude. Because, you know, there’s so much in all of them now and they’re all so massive that you do find yourself reading it going, “Right. What can go?”
Generally the answer to that is any story line that is peripheral to the main action. In this film the main action is Harry’s mind being corrupted by Voldemort, his relationship with Sirius and everything that goes towards the final battle with Voldemort and Dumbledore. Anything else outside that…
It’s like the thing with the second book where the Death Day party got cut, which I know out of everything that’s been cut from the books, that’s probably the thing most people were most aggrieved about. But, while it is a great moment and would have made a fantastic scene in the film, it doesn’t actually push the story forward and that’s what you need to do all the time. You need to absolutely be constantly furthering the story.
Quint: HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is one of my favorite books in the series…
Daniel Radcliffe: Okay.
Quint: I think the reason why I love it so much… two of my favorite characters in both the books and the movies are Dumbledore and Snape. And I love that they’re both so much on the forefront in the next book. And Yates said he’s definitely giving them the attention the story needs from them in the next book. What are your feelings about that more ensemble aspect?
Daniel Radcliffe: I think that’s great. I think that’s the way it should be. The fifth film and the fifth book are quite unique, in a way, in the series because that’s the one that focuses probably the most on Harry, more than any of the others. The other ones are very much about a group of people.
David said, “I want to make a film that’s almost entirely about Harry’s state of mind.” That sort of set the tone for me. I think absolutely, as you say, the sixth is very, very different. It is about trust and distrust. The whole Snape thing is like… what’s that great movie? That great old Clint Eastwood movie? WHERE EAGLES DARE… where nobody can really be trusted. That’s the sort of thing that the sixth is like because you’re constantly doing summersaults with Snape. Is he good? Is he bad?
I love what happened! JK Rowling was fantastic in an answer to a question. Somebody said to her, “Go on… tell us. Is Snape good or bad?” And she said, “All the evidence you need is in the sixth book.” And he was like, “What does that mean!?!?” (laughs) Because as soon as someone said, “Well, that obviously means he’s bad,” someone else said, “No, he might have been a double agent.” Oh, Jesus! And we’ll finally find out about this time… Actually, it’s exactly a month, isn’t it? It’s the 21st today, isn’t it? Twenty-second today. Under a month ‘til the next book comes out. Ahhh….
Quint: I’m convinced… absolutely convinced that Snape is the tragic hero of the series.
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah? Oh, that’s good… yeah.
Quint: Well, I hope. I mean, obviously she can do whatever she wants.
Daniel Radcliffe: (laughs) She can do whatever she wants, yeah. I’ve asked her things and I’ve asked her questions, obviously, but she never gives an answer away.
The great thing about these books is that everyone has their own theories and the brilliant thing about Jo is she never confirms or denies any of them.
What’s interesting, actually, is that we haven’t had, so far, a huge amount a build up yet, have we? It’s sort of quiet. Considering how much they are, it’s quite quiet. I mean, you just know that in a couple of weeks time it’s just going to explode, isn’t it?
Quint: I know the pre-orders are going crazy, but yeah… it hasn’t really been plastered everywhere. I know that it was really an event when the fifth book came out. There were posters up everywhere and news stories every night about it…
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah… when did they… They really took off after the fourth, didn’t they? The fourth came out when the first film was being made and it was around that time that they started to get really big and I remember the build up to the fifth book coming out being massive.
Quint: I just can’t wait to see Alan Rickman finally get to sink his teeth into a good chunk of the movie. So far he’s been great, but Snape has been truncated a bit from the books.
Daniel Radcliffe: They’re getting progressively bigger. I suppose his biggest part so far would be the first, third and fifth and he’s got a really good part, I think.
Quint: What are you looking forward to doing the most in the next movie… if they don’t cut it?
Daniel Radcliffe: I would say the scenes with Horace Slughorn. I’ve got no idea who’s playing him. I’ve got one person in particular who I’d love to play him… All the stuff with Ginny and all the stuff towards the end in the caves… all of that…
Quint: Yeah, with all the dead under the water and everything…
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah, it’s really dramatic. I don’t know, it just reminds me of all those great myths where people cross the River Styx and the lake of souls… yeah, it’s all very, very disturbing imagery, but it’s stuff that’ll be great to film.
Quint: You are doing a movie before HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, about Rudyard Kipling, right?
Daniel Radcliffe: Yes, it’s about Rudyard Kipling and his son.
Quint: What’s it called?
Daniel Radcliffe: MY BOY JACK. Kipling was a ferociously outspoken supporter of World War One and he wanted his son to go and his son wanted to go. His son had failed a navy medical and then an army medical because his eye-sight was terrible, he was myopic. As his sister in the film says, “He can’t see five yards without his specs.”
He goes to war and he gets killed. It’s a tragic story, but it’s beautifully written. The man who is playing Kipling, David Haig, ùhas also written it and he’s been living with this script for about 13 years. It started off as a stage play and now the film. It’s a labor of love for everyone that’s involved in it.
Quint: I only have one more question, but it’s something I’ve asked nearly everybody I’ve interviewed. What’s your favorite dirty joke?
Daniel Radcliffe: My favorite dirty joke? Um…
Quint: I know you must have one. I’ve seen EXTRAS, so…
Daniel Radcliffe: (laughs) Um… okay. I think I’m okay to tell this… Vanessa of publicity is looking vaguely worried across from me, I must say.
A guy goes into his doctor and he says, “Doctor, doctor! I think I’m going deaf.”
The doctor says, “Well, please… I think you should stop masturbating.”
The guys says, “Why? Would that help?”
He says, “No, but it’s affecting the other patients.”
I’d say that was one of my favorites. I heard it the other day and I thought it was rather good! (laughs)
The flick hits next week and you’ll get my full opinion on that very, very soon. You can pilfer the interviews I’ve done for the flick to get a basic grasp on my opinion if you’re impatient.
Hope you guys dug this final interview from the big London shebang. I have to say that Radcliffe came across as possibly the nicest kid in the universe. I walked into this interview and he stood right up, rushed to greet me. “How are you? Do you want a coke or something?” I was like, “Um, no thanks, man…” “How about a diet coke? Water?” “Thanks, man, but I’m fully hydrated.” “Really, we’re not paying for it, so you can have one if you want.”
I like the choices he’s making outside of the Potter universe. He’s pretty tied to the character of Harry Potter and will have a steep road to climb to prove himself beyond this series. But he has the drive, obviously, and the desire to further his craft. Add into that a genuinely humble and kind personality and he stands a good chance to have a life after Potter.
Thanks for reading. I’m starting to set up some really badass things for Comic-Con in a couple weeks. Should have some amazing stuff for you folks soon.