Radcliffe Considers Life After Potter
By Lisa Whitehead for ABC.net.au, 11th September 2007
Even though actor Daniel Radcliffe had only been in the country six hours and was feeling a little jetlagged, he was the consummate professional at the red carpet premiere of December Boys in Melbourne on Monday night.
“Nothing can really prepare you for it, because every time you step out of the car that first wave of screaming is always pretty overwhelming,” Radcliffe said.
He has walked the walk and talked the talk dozens of times as the star of the blockbuster Harry Potter films.
There is no doubt he was the star attraction for teenage fans and the media pack at the premier of his new film December Boys, even though he shares the billing with some veteran local actors and a cast of newcomers to Australian cinema.
“People might come because they see my name on the poster, they might come for that, but within the first 10, 15 minutes they’ll realise that it’s not about me,” Radcliffe told ABC TV’s The 7:30 Report.
Story of friendship
Based on the novel by Michael Noonan, December Boys is set in Australia in the 1960s.
It is a story of friendship, a tale about four orphan boys spending a summer holiday by the beach, all vying for the chance to be adopted by a young couple they meet at the seaside.
The film is a first for Radcliffe, stepping out of the world of Harry Potter and into a feature film without his spectacles and that scar on his forehead.
He has made five back-to-back Harry Potter movies.
It all began with the original tale of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Radcliffe was just 12.
Since then, it has been an amazing ride. Those five Harry Potter films have made Radcliffe, 18, a multi-millionaire, which can be a risky predicament.
But Radcliffe says having honest friends and family around him keeps him grounded.
“If you don’t have those people, then, yeah, maybe you will start falling out of clubs drunk and stuff,” he said.
“And you know, hey, maybe I will do that one day, but hopefully I won’t make a regular thing of it.
“I think it’s desperately desired by certain media, you know, certain papers in England, I’m sure they’d love it. But hopefully I won’t give it to them.”
Radcliffe has been searching for the right platform to take him from the magical Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry to a place more grounded in reality and hopefully a new audience.
He says he found it in December Boys, a small, low budget Australian production.
Director Rod Hardy said he knew there was more to Radcliffe than Harry Potter.
“Would the audience just only accept him as Harry Potter? We wouldn’t know until we finished the film,” he said.
Radcliffe says acting outside the realm of Hogwarts gave him a lot of confidence.
“I think it certainly could be viewed as a coming of age in some ways, certainly, yeah,” he said.
And he did it for a fraction of his normal fee.
“You don’t have to do it for the money or anything like that, you do it because you believe in it, which is a lovely, lovely luxury to have in your life,” he said.
Pushing the boundaries
Radcliffe has not been shy trying to push the boundaries. Stripping on the West End in the stage play Equis and parodying himself in the British comedy Extras.
“It’s always nice to totally just totally do something unexpected. I mean, I always like wrong-footing people in life,” Radcliffe said.
But he hopes December Boys is the right step towards a career beyond the boy wizard. The real test will be at the box office. Can Radcliffe in love break out of the Harry Potter mould?
Either way, December Boys has cemented his Australian connection. His family have bought a house in Melbourne.
“It’s easy to make connections with people here, I find. I mean I just love it, yeah,” he said.