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Daniel Radcliffe new profile in New York Times, talks Harry Potter, 'Kill Your Darlings'
News - Newsflash
Written by Red   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 19:27

Daniel Radcliffe was recently profiled in the New York Times when he was at the Venice Film Festival last month, chronicling the highs and lows of the Harry Potter series and growing into an actor. A few highlights are here, and the full feature can be read here.

At times in his professional life, Radcliffe said, he has felt self-conscious about other idiosyncrasies of his face, particularly when he was acting in his first post-Potter movie, a horror film called the “The Woman in Black.” During filming, he said, “I was struggling in vain to not come close to making a face that would make people think of Harry.” And how would he characterize a Harry face? “There isn’t,” he said, exhaling smoke and shaking his head. “It’s just my face. I have to accept the fact that my face is going to remind people of Harry because I played that character. If I try to avoid being expressive in that same way, all I’ll do is stop being expressive, and I won’t be any farther away from that character.”

The range of roles reflects Radcliffe’s ambition and his desire to prove, as quickly as he can, that he can genuinely act. “I have a massive chip on my shoulder,” he told me. “When you fall into something at age 11 and get paid incredible amounts of money for your entire teenage years for doing a job anyone would want, there is a part of you that thinks everybody is just saying, ‘He got there because he fell into it; he’s not really an actor.’ ” The possibility that those people might be right plagued him as well. “I feel it less nowadays,” he said. “It has taken a long time to feel like I’ve earned the place that I’m at.”

About midway through the morning, a European reporter asked, “Your childhood — was it normal?” For some reason, the question, a familiar one to Radcliffe, seemed to throw him. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m missing. No, I’ve . . . I can’t sit around thinking of all the things I’ve. . . .” He drifted for a moment, then something seemed to kick into gear. “Because actually, no, it was an amazing childhood! People always ask if I missed out on childhood — actually, kids who are abused, that’s a missed childhood, those kids have stuff taken away.”

It was a nonanswer — a lot of anguish and ambivalence lies between a normal childhood and an abused one. In the last year of filming Harry Potter, Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, told Entertainment Weekly magazine that she was finding the experience “horrible” and complained bitterly about the tightly controlled routine on set: “I get told what time I get picked up, I get told what time I can eat, when I have time to go to the bathroom. Every single second of my day is not in my power.” Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, Harry Potter’s best friend, recently described the long, drawn-out experience of appearing in the films as “quite suffocating.”

As Radcliffe explained it: “The second you seem down, everyone’s very concerned. It affects the set.” Temporarily suppressing a mood was easier than bringing a crew of hundreds of people to a halt — it was just another skill he learned on the job, part of keeping the vast machinery around him moving smoothly. “If I ever was feeling ill,” he said, “it was: ‘Get a doctor on set!’ ‘No, I’m fine.’ . . . That feeling makes me not want to worry people.”

Radcliffe’s father, Alan Radcliffe, a former literary agent who left his job to chaperon his son on the set, had a phrase he used if Radcliffe ever did appear put upon: “You’re not down in the mines.” It was shorthand for: You are incredibly lucky, and you are being well compensated, and your worst day, in many ways, is better than most people’s best. After Potter was over and Radcliffe, then 21, went to shoot “The Woman in Black,” the first time he wouldn’t be accompanied by a parent, his father wrote him a letter. “On a film set there’s always going to be somebody who’s going to be causing a delay,” Radcliffe recalls the letter saying. “Try and make sure it’s never you.” For 11 years, Radcliffe had done just that, every day, by all accounts; why spell it out? “Constant vigilance,” Radcliffe said, “is kind of our motto.”

Looking back, he thinks he was too young to have been on his own. “Because when I was unhappy in any way, it made it too easy for me to hide it,” he told me one afternoon over lunch in the New York’s West Village. “I’d done ‘Equus,’ which had gone so well,” he said, “but I still couldn’t get rid of that committee of voices in my head saying that you’re going to fail.” He continued: “I think there was a part in the back of my head that was going: This is all going to end. And you’re going to be left in this nice apartment. Just living here. And being reminded of what you did in your teenage years for the rest of your life.” David Thewlis, who played Professor Lupin in the Potter films, once said that even when Radcliffe was young he would “joke that he’d be in rehab by the time he was 18, and by 27 he’d be hosting a game show called ‘It’s Wizards!’ ”

“I wanted to close the gap between the real me, what was going on in me, and the person that people perceived,” he told me. He talked to reporters about drunk-dialing old girlfriends, the strain drinking put on his relationship with his parents and even, most sensationally, the times he showed up, still drunk, on the set of “Harry Potter.” David Yates said he was not aware of Radcliffe’s drinking, which Radcliffe believes is true; he had carefully hidden his problem from colleagues and many close friends. “I’m not somebody who likes worrying people,” he told me. “So if I know I’m a worrying drinker, would I ever drink in front of people that I would worry?”