Daniel Radcliffe Interview
By Christopher Whitmore for Nine MSN, 20th September 2007
Daniel Radcliffe is one of the world’s richest and most famous young stars – the “Harry Potter” films have earned the 18-year-old an estimated $40 million.
But the British actor is keen to prove himself beyond Hogwarts and used the short window of time available between the fourth and fifth “Harry Potter” instalments to shoot the low-budget Australian drama “December Boys”, a coming-of-age drama about four orphan boys.
yourMovies contributor Christopher Whitmore joined Radcliffe and “December Boys” director Rod Hardy in Sydney for a round-table interview.
Question: Is there a big difference between publicity overseas and when you come to Australia?
Daniel Radcliffe: People don’t ask about the [Australian] accent in America.
Rod Hardy: That’s true. We Australians can be really particular about the accent when people try it. Everyone remembers Meryl Streep and the “dingo took my baybee”.
DR: I haven’t seen that movie, is it not a good accent?
DR: Now I’m going to have to say that I got somebody [who] said that “Your accent is so much better than Meryl Streep”, and I thought, “Oh that’s a real compliment”. Now it could be a little bit backhanded.
Q: When Meryl Streep can’t come up with the accent, that tells you how hard it is.
RH: It’s true too. It really is true. “A dingo took my baby.”
Q: So Rod, you’ve had a lot of investment in this film, but Daniel, what was it that attracted you to this film? Why an Australian production?
DR: Now that is a question that has only been asked in Australia and I don’t know why that is but everyone in Australia thinks that it’s quite unlikely that I would do a film in Australia. Look, for me, it just happened that it was an Australian production. I wasn’t specifically looking for an Australian movie, it was just that by far and away, this was the best script I read. A good script and I’d go anywhere. It really didn’t make any difference where it comes from.
Q: I think part of the reason why people ask that question is because it is a very Australian movie. Are you going to promote it overseas in any particular way?
RH: No. That’s controlled by a whole bunch of other people, and they have their own way of thinking, and each country has its own way of promoting it. I mean, I am sure the title is going to be changed in certain countries, in fact I know it is.
DR: Is it?
RH: Yeah, I think in Portugal it’s called “The Summer for All Time”. So you can see, they just work to what the local market feels. And so it will become many things.
Q: Rod, did you send Daniel the script?
RH: His agent and I had been discussing other things, and she had the screenplay and had read it and said many times how much she had enjoyed the script. But not right up front was it “Should we give it to Daniel?” I had never thought of asking him. In fact I didn’t even know that Daniel was with this particular agent.
It was sometime down the track, and we were starting to have a relationship by telephone – business-wise I mean, got to be careful about these things – and suddenly she said one day, “What would you think about Daniel Radcliffe?” and I said “What for, what would he do?” and she said “Be in the film”. (laughs) Anyway. I was a bit uncertain of that. People like Daniel have schedules that are really tight and trying to fit it in with that, I didn’t know if it was ever going to work. And more importantly, I wanted to check Daniel out. As he wanted to check me out, because he was taking a step to come to Australia with a whole bunch of people he didn’t even know based on a screenplay, and people don’t do that. You’ve got to see the players involved. And I certainly wanted to see what Daniel’s attitude would be to the material. And I do that with every actor I work with, it wasn’t just specially because of Daniel.
DR: But also I understand how he felt. I mean, he had nothing to go on. I mean, I was Harry Potter, but t was a big risk for him as well as for me. Because neither of us knew what the other was capable of.
Q: So you weren’t just going to give him the job automatically when he got off the plane?
RH: Well truth be known, if that had happened and I didn’t give him the job then the producers might be looking for another director. (laughs) So of course I was going to love him!
Q: Rod, do you think that audiences will notice the other young stars, including Teresa Palmer and the young boys, with Daniel on screen? He is obviously the person everyone knows out there.
RH: Egotistically I’ll say that if I have done my job properly then they will because the story will – Marc Rosenberg did his job properly, he wrote a really good screenplay, and my job is to be the story teller, to move it onto the screen. If I did that then I think there is no question about it. I believe we’ve done that because audiences that have seen it so far that have either been the young fans that are really into Daniel or Harry Potter say, or will tell you – as soon as you see that he has hairy legs you tend to forget.
DR: In terms of doing the right job, my job as an actor in this film is to do my bit and fade into the background when I’m not driving the story forward and that’s what all the actors do.
RH: And because his character at the beginning really didn’t say very much, it was quite interesting watching Daniel as an actor. Because if you want to be the ‘Daniel Radcliffe Harry Potter’ watcher, your attention goes to him, but what Daniel delivered with no dialogue you could tell there was something churning over constantly. And that’s what to me what a good actor can do, they can get your attention and you can really understand their thinking.
Q: How did you come to cast Teresa Palmer?
RH: I just found her charming and wonderful and beautiful! I mean, as a male she had the most stunning sort of chemistry that draws you to her in an animal way – hold me down! But I mean, she is just fantastic and we really see it.
DR: Teresa has this most amazing quality on and off screen – she has a real youthfulness, which is not immaturity or naivety. It’s just a real warmth and something joyous about her which is sort of amazing. And I actually think, you know, that she is probably unfortunate to be as beautiful as she is because she is so talented. But because she is so beautiful people always talk about the talent second.
RH: (to Daniel) You saw the movie “2:37″.
DR: Oh, yeah. She makes the movie for me.
RH: She truly can… she is a chameleon to me too, she can really do both sides.
DR: She is not afraid to make herself ugly. It’s just that in this film she plays…
RH: No, not at all. Charlize Theron does that. She is to me like a Charlize Theron, she has that beauty about her but at the same time she can take on roles…
DR: Actually, I did get asked by one journalist today, “So, what was it like kissing Abbie Cornish?” (laughs)