Actor Daniel Radcliffe, who spent a large part of his childhood playing the bespectacled wizard Harry Potter, is all grown up now. In fact, come July, he’ll be 30.
In an exclusive phone interview with StarLifestyle, Radcliffe reflects on his journey so far, beginning with the moment he landed the role that changed his life when he was 11.
“I remember having a really lovely time; I remember loving being on set and making the films. And the press (tours) we would do, we would go to America or Japan when we were very young, and it was overwhelming and exciting,” says Radcliffe, who was calling from Los Angeles, about his Harry Potter days.
Radcliffe starred in all eight Harry Potter films in the span of 10 years, catapulting the teen actor to global fame.
He talks about staying grounded in the midst of such immense success at such a young age: “I had good people around me letting me know that the work is the important part and the fame, whether you feel good or bad about it, should never be the focus of your ambitions. Your ambitions should be to work hard and achieve good things in the work you do.”
Post-Harry Potter, Radcliffe’s career has been filled with diverse, unexpected choices, from playing a guy waking up with horns on his head one day in 2013’s Horns to a farting corpse – yes, you read that right – in 2016’s Swiss Army Man.
The British actor talks about his decision to star in these smaller-scale independent films instead of the blockbuster franchises that gave him his start.
“It’s not a deliberate decision (to stay away from blockbuster films). I go where the scripts are. It’s hard to get anyone to spend money on (scripts that are) too big of a risk.
“A lot of the big studios, I find the scripts are not as challenging or weird or interesting as the stuff they make in the indie world or even in the TV world.
“So the things that I gravitate to, so far they just happen to be in the indie world. But if there’s something happening in the studios and I love the script, I would love to be a part of some crazy big movie. It’s just about waiting for the right script,” he explains.
Asked the most challenging role he has ever played so far, Radcliffe responds: “I did a Broadway musical for 11 months once and honestly, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on. Doing a musical eight times a week, that was a real physical challenge.
“In terms of acting and the performance side of things, Swiss Army Man (where he played a talking, and rather flatulent corpse, Manny) is probably up there just because there’s nothing you can base that on.
“Every role I’ve ever done, I could prepare for it. That one I didn’t know what to do for preparation, so I went out there and just trusted the directors knew what they wanted, and they did.”
As for his latest project, Radcliffe finds himself on the small screen. The seven-episode comedy Miracle Workers sees the actor playing an overworked, low-level angel Craig in charge of answering prayers in Heaven. But when God decides to give up on Earth, Craig and his colleague Eliza jump through hoops to convince God that humankind is worth saving.
Radcliffe says although the show is set in Heaven, he sees it more as a workplace comedy than a religious show.
“In our world, Heaven is a corporation that governs the Earth and God is our CEO who has become kind of lazy and disillusioned. It’s kind of about what it means to work in an office in a big company that has kind of got out of control.
“I also think there’s also a huge amount of love for humanity and I love that about it,” he notes.
Besides starring in it, Radcliffe also got the chance to work behind the scenes as a casting director.
“I think being on the other side made me feel an even bigger sense of respect for actors. I love acting and I love what we do. Seeing so many people come in and audition and do something so brilliant was really inspiring and wonderful,” he talks about the experience.
Looking at the road ahead, Radcliffe, who turns 30 on July 23, envisions how he’d like his 30s to be.
“I would like to start directing in my 30s and try to get at least one film made before I turn 40.
“And at some point, not immediately, but in a few years from now, I’ll probably be thinking about starting a family.”
“So to get to my 40s and be a dad and have directed one film, I think I’d be very happy.”
Radcliffe also shares he hopes to introduce his future kids to the Harry Potter films.
“I’ll make sure they read the book first before they start watching their dad in the films. I’d like to think they’ll watch the films when I’m older. Or there’s a chance that somebody would’ve remade the films by then and there’s a whole new Harry Potter to watch.”
Miracle Workers airs every Wednesday at 10.05pm on Warner TV (Astro Ch 719/unifi TV Ch 451).
Listen to a snippet of our phone interview with Daniel Radcliffe here: