Tom, Dick and… Daniel
By Evan Henerson for LA.com, 13th September 2007
There will be a life after Harry.
Admittedly, actor Daniel Radcliffe isn’t living that life quite yet – he is about to start filming “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” the sixth in the “Harry Potter” series – but there have been opportunities along the way to set the kid-friendly sorcery of Britain’s famed boy wizard aside and try on someone else’s clothes.
Such instances include a West End revival of Peter Schaffer’s play “Equus,” which may transfer to Broadway later this year. Radcliffe, who plays a troubled Alan Strang – and appears nude on stage – stars opposite his frequent “Potter” mate, Richard Griffiths.
Also upcoming is “My Boy Jack,” which casts Radcliffe playing the missing-in-action son of author Rudyard Kipling and airs on British television in November.
And finally, there is “December Boys,” based on the novel by Michael Noonan about four Australian orphans who are treated to a seaside holiday. Radcliffe plays Maps, the oldest and therefore the one with the slimmest chance of adoption in the Ron Hardy-directed film that opens Friday.
Q: If you keep this up, your epitaph is going to read, “Played Orphans.”
A: Yeah, I know. This is No. 3. It’s one of those things that’s just a coincidence. Somebody said to me the other day, “Are Harry and Maps really that different because they’re both orphans?” That, to me, was just ridiculous because that sort of implies that all orphans are the same. They are both orphans, but they’re sort of polar opposites in the way they interact with people.
Q: Weren’t the non-Harry aspects of the character a draw for you?
A: That was it. I was looking for something to do between “Harry Potter” 4 and 5 because I knew there would be a substantial enough break. This film came up, and I wanted to be involved. The character of Maps was very different from Harry. I think it comes down to how they deal with their vulnerability and their insecurity. Harry sort of shouts around about his and lets it affect other people, whereas Maps keeps it absolutely to himself and would never dream of burdening anybody else with it.
Q: Richard Griffiths tells a great story about berating a fan who asked Uncle Vernon for an autograph.
A: I’ve heard that story. About how playing Uncle Vernon sort of gives him license to be horrible to people, which I think he really enjoys.
Q: But you couldn’t do that?
A: No, not at all. I wouldn’t want to be horrible to kids anyway, because they’re kids and it would just totally ruin that experience for them. Then they wouldn’t enjoy watching the “Harry Potter” films so much, so that would be very much shooting yourself in the foot, I think.
Q: But aren’t there times when you don’t want all that attention?
A: It always depends on how people ask. There was this one moment on a plane journey. I had been signing autographs for the stewards and stewardesses and they were lovely and they had been looking after us really well, so that’s the least I could do. Then this other guy comes up, a passenger, who says, “Excuse me. I don’t know who you are, but it seems you’re famous, so could I have your autograph?” When someone introduces themselves to you with that kind of … it just seems so insincere and totally disingenuous. Moments like that are kind of irritating, but on the whole if people are nice and polite and don’t start screaming, then it’s fine.
Q: Now that “Deathly Hallows” mania is over, what’s your view of how the series wrapped up?
A: I’m very, very happy. I get sort of the best of both worlds, really. I had an inkling that would happen because I’d had a bit of a clue from Jo Rowling. I can’t wait to film it.
Q: Is there less pressure on the filmmakers now?
A: In a way, I think it might even be more. Before, everyone was focusing on the next book coming out. Now everyone’s saying, “How are they going to make that into a movie?” I don’t know the answer to that. There’s always been a certain amount of pressure around these films, none more so than the first film. I think Steve Kloves is adapting (“Deathly Hallows”), and I don’t envy him. In all the other books, there are generally things you can cut, subplots and such. In this one, everything is pretty vital.
Q: After Harry, what sorts of parts will you seek out?
A: I don’t know. People I look up to are people like Gary Oldman. Also Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp could so easily just have done romantic leads and he didn’t. He went off and did other things, weird, bizarre things, and that’s great. Also Christian Bale. They show so much versatility. Those are the kinds of things I want to do, things that stretch you and things that I haven’t done before. I’m quoted in interviews as saying I want to do something different and it’s always implied that I want to do something different from Harry exclusively. But I want to do something different from Harry, from Maps, from Alan Strang, from Jack Kipling. In an ideal world, every part should be totally different from everything I’d done before.