Daniel Radcliffe: Wrapping up Harry
As the Harry Potter films wrap up, their young stars are moving on; Emma to college and Dan and Rupert to more acting challenges but all three actors admit that the last two Potter films were the most emotional for them. As Part 1 of “Deathly Hallows” opens, we’re asking Daniel Radcliffe to tell you all about his last moments as Harry and what great and varied new projects he is already involved in. He’s going to star in his first Broadway musical and yes, he “Googles” himself! Heeeere’s Harry!
TeenHollywood: This is one of the most emotional of the films. You really show your acting skills. Was it more of a challenge than the others?
Daniel: I think, because we're growing up the whole time, that it didn't seem like too much of a challenge. I mean there were challenging moments but it felt like this was a natural progression. It didn't feel like we were being asked to make a massive leap. It felt like we were certainly being allowed to do what we'd been ready to do for the last two or three years in terms of where we'd been at in our performances.
TeenHollywood: So, you were ready. The Harry character is really explored in depth this time. There is more time given to character overall. Did you feel that?
Daniel: Yeah and, on this film, because had we tried to condense the book into one movie, which I think would've been disastrous, a lot of the stuff that would've been cut would've been a lot of the stuff in this film, probably. All that on the road section would've suffered dramatically. So for us to have all that time to explore the characters was great, and what's great about it is that it's character exploration but it's actually really interesting as well. It never crosses that line into being indulgent because there's always something going on. You're never more than five scenes away from a massive fight or something.
TeenHollywood: The camping scenes with Harry, Hermione and Ron stand out since it’s just the three of you. How was working on the camping stuff?
Daniel: It’s interesting because we didn't film it in sequence. We'd film a scene with just the two of us for maybe two days and then we'd be doing a wedding scene with loads of people or something. So it was broken up in such a way that we never really felt as isolated as the characters did. But yeah, I think it gives it a much more interesting feel [when compared with] the first film because we've never seen these characters without Hogwarts and without all these sort of familiar and standard characters that you always see around them. So it gave it I think a much fresher feel and made it a bit more interesting.
TeenHollywood: Have you ever “Googled” yourself and were you surprised by what you found?
Daniel: When I was fourteen or fifteen I did and there's a line in 'The Thick of It' which is one of my favorite programs and they said, 'Googling yourself is like opening a door to a room full of people telling you how s**t you are.' So it comes from a place of sadomasochistic, egomania where you go, 'Okay, I'll write my name in and see what comes up.' All you're going online for is to hear nice things about yourself and all you find are terrible things, generally speaking. It doesn't matter if there's a list of twenty comments where nineteen of them are fantastic and the one that's bad just eats you up. So since then I sort of stopped Googling myself.
TeenHollywood: These films are so huge and international. They are everywhere. What do you think now about that massive kind of fandom.
Daniel: I think it is amazing and, in a way, that's one of the things that keeps me grounded and sane. It's the fact that you have to remember that it's not because of me that people are screaming at the premieres. Anybody who got this part would've had that level of mania surrounding them a few weeks a year. I think that's very important to remember. I just got very, very lucky with the part that I fell into, but because it becomes such a part of your life, and a job in the most positive sense. I love my job, but it is a job. You get up and you do your job and you go to work and you see the crew and you see everyone you know. You don't really have a sense of how big it is when you're right in the center of it. It's sort of a case of not being to see the wood for the trees.
TeenHollywood: “Harry” also started out with a huge fan base of readers first.
Daniel: Yeah. Even though there are films now, still at the heart of it, is a literary phenomenon. When you compare the fans of this to something like, say, Star Trek or Star Wars all of which have that same incredibly devoted fan base, because it started off as a literary thing, it’s kind of inspired a generation of really, really literate, interesting fans and not just sort of geeks who watch episodes over and over and over. People having been so inspired by the 'Harry Potter' books have then gone off and expanded their reading into other areas. I think that's what's the most remarkable thing about it. I don't think there are any other kinds of fans like 'Harry Potter' who are so interested in everything and not just the thing that is the focus of their fandom.
TeenHollywood: I don’t think we’ve ever asked you about your first exposure to the books.
Daniel: It was my parents. They read the first two to me when I was eight or nine I think because I just didn't read at all then. It's something that I like to think that I've made up for in the years since. Then, I found it boring and I enjoyed having the book read to me. It was great.
My dad did a fantastic Basilisk voice. When I met Chris Columbus, I said, 'Chris, you should really hear my dad's Basilisk voice.' I think Chris, 'Yeah, that's great, Dan. I think we'll get an actor to do it.' But then after they read the second to me I then drifted away from 'Harry Potter' and didn't really read them so much or at all so when I got the part I thought, 'Oh, I should probably read these.'
TeenHollywood: So when you did read them did you think. ‘Oh, I’d love to be Harry Potter’?
Daniel: No, not particularly. His life sounded like a nightmare! I thought, 'God. This poor kid.' But I think after I got the part I then went back and I read all four. I read them all back to back and just became obsessed and, despite having been filmed as Harry during the day, I would charge around my hotel room in Newcastle where we were filming the scenes with a broom, the shot where it leaps up into my hand. I would be going back to my hotel room at night and having wand fights with nobody. It's a pity I didn't have a brother, yeah.
TeenHollywood: That’s pretty adorable. In this film there are clips of you much younger in the earlier Potter movies. How did you feel seeing yourself at all those different ages?
Daniel: It was strange seeing it all again and seeing those clips, and as I recall there is even more of that in part two. It’s always odd seeing that stuff. But I think when you see it in the context of the film, it's not so embarrassing. It fits more into it. It is always strange watching yourself, but there's a slight moment of pride as well with that sort of nostalgia and thinking, 'Wow. I did all of that. Well done me, yes.' [we laugh].
TeenHollywood: You are always asked how playing Harry for so long has changed you but how has Daniel remained the same?
Daniel: I'm still very hyperactive. I've still got quite a lot of energy. I think the one thing that's different is that I have worked out a way in which I can sort of pace that energy more sensibly throughout the day so that I don't just go nuts for four hours and then crash and burn.
I'm probably still as curious now as I was then. I think curiosity is probably the greatest thing that anybody can have. I think I'm still quite respectful of a film set, as I was then.
When I was eleven it was out of a sort of awe that I had respect for film sets. Now it's because I'm so involved in them and I realize how wonderful they are to work on. It's a very communal experience when you're working with a group of people for eleven to eighteen months on a 'Harry Potter' film. You're all striving towards the same thing. There might be times when you feel that you're pulling in different directions, but ultimately you are all going the same way and trying to make a good film together. I have a healthy respect for the workings of a film set. I think that has not changed.
TeenHollywood: You and Emma really look sweet in your dance sequence. What’s your take on that?
Daniel: It was good! It was a very sweet scene. It was funny though because when I watched the film for the first time, I watched it with a friend of mine and when the Nick Cave song came on I went, 'That is the coolest Harry Potter will ever be.' Then she said, 'Yeah, but that's not,' when I started doing disco dancing. It's a sweet scene, I think. It was one that David [Yates] sort of made up on the spot, pretty much, and then Emma is quite an actually good dancer. So it was for me to sort of muddle through but Harry shouldn't be a good dancer. He should be kind of crap which I was. But next year on Broadway I hope to see a large improvement in that.
TeenHollywood: You’re doing “How to Succeed in Business”, right? Are you excited about that?
Daniel: I'm very excited. Hopefully I should be able to honor it. In terms of the singing I'm not particularly too worried. I love singing and I've been doing it for a long time, but dancing is something that I've never done before, before taking lessons for this. But generally speaking I've been doing about nine hours a week of training and so if I screw up it's not through lack of trying. We start rehearsals in January. I think we start previewing in February and then open in March.
TeenHollywood: How did this singing/dancing role on Broadway come to you?
Daniel: It's bizarre. When I did 'Equus' Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producers of 'How To Succeed' came backstage after 'Equus' and they said, 'You can sing?' I said, 'Well, I can sing the Milky Bar theme to you.' That's what I had to sing in 'Equus' and they went, 'Oh, no, great. Well, we have to find a musical.’ They sent us a script and then gradually, just through their persistence, we started falling in love with it and now I can't imagine myself doing any other thing as my first musical. Also, it's never really been played by somebody my age before.
TeenHollywood: Shooting the last scene in the Potter series, how emotional for you?
Daniel: There was lots of crying by Emma, Rupert and I and the crew because a lot of them have been there for ten years as well. So there were lots of tears from everybody really. It was very sad and I remember at the time being quite sort of inconsolable for like two hours. And then four hours later I was on a plane and I was reading a script for The Woman in Black which I'm now filming. So we move on.
TeenHollywood: What is that about?
Daniel: It's an adaptation of Susan Hill novel and it's a gothic horror movie. I play a twenty-four year old father of one whose wife has died and I’m a lawyer who gets sent to the house of a woman who has recently died to go through all her documents and sort of collate them all. The house that he goes to is haunted; not to give too much away.
TeenHollywood: Word is you look pretty hot in that film.
Daniel: Well, we did take a leap out of their book in terms of that sort of sexed up Victoriana kind of look in terms of the costumes. I have an amazing costume in the film. I love it. It's a very simple grey suit but it's very well fitted and it's a nice waistcoat and I've got a fob watch and I've got little sideburns as well. I'm really enjoying this look. It's how I would dress all the time if that wouldn't get me beaten up in London.
TeenHollywood: Emma is at Brown University. Is college in your future?
Daniel: I don't think so. I'm going to try to make a career for myself. Emma is the most academic out of the three of us by quite a long way. So I don't think university would've been in the cards for myself and Rupert. To be honest, I found school very, very hard. I got good results most of the time, but then I dropped out a year early because I was going through rehearsals for 'Equus', and to be honest, I think that I found something that I have some aptitude with. I hesitate to say that I'm good at it because I'm so far away from being finished at school and I've still got a lot to learn but I certainly think that I'm better at this than I would be at anything else. So I'm going to try to just focus on that and try to make as long a career for myself as possible.
TeenHollywood: Are you still getting mobbed in the streets?
Daniel: Around my area, they're quite used to me, like, 'Oh, there he is again.' But also I think the advantage of being fight foot five is that sort of no one really looks twice. If you're just a skinny guy in a crowd, that doesn't really attract too much attention but, in Japan, it went wild when I was over there. It's amazing because they manage to be both aggressive and incredibly restrained at the same time in that they will charge towards you, but it's like there is an invisible barricade two feet from you and they will not go past that. It's really incredible. It’s like having some sort of force field protecting you.
TeenHollywood: Any particularly memorable experiences in Japan?
Daniel: Well, when I arrived in Japan when I was thirteen there were five thousand people waiting in the airport screaming. It was pretty intense. I am a Beatle in Japan. There's a program in Japan called 'Let’s Go To School' and these two girls wrote off and said, 'We would like Daniel Radcliffe to come to our school’. [I was told] ‘these people don't you're coming. So it's going to be a really big surprise.' There were hundreds of girls leaning out of the windows to a dangerous degree. There was actually a moment where I sort of bumped into a girl and I said, 'Oh, sorry,' and she just fainted. It's bizarre.