Daniel Radcliffe recently spoke to the Wall Street Journal about his involvement in 'The Cripple of Inishmaan' and playing Billy, a disabled Irish boy. Highlights of that interview can be read here.
How did you get involved in "The Cripple of Inishmaan"?
I met Michael Grandage for the first time when I was 14, when my agent was first starting to get me to meet a few people. I met him and talked about theater and the fact that I wanted to do it. Then years go by, I worked with Rob Ashford on "How to Succeed," and of course Rob is a child of the Donmar theatre in London as well. He was brought up through there, has directed loads there, and worked with Michael a lot. I guess Michael got good reports from Rob, and then Michael came and started talking to me and saying, "I'm putting together this season." He said that he wanted me to be in the third play of the season, and then he gave me five plays to read and we talked about them. To be honest, as soon as I read "Cripple," already being a big Martin McDonagh fan as I was, I was like "it's going to be hard to beat this one."
You will play "Billy" as a young man with cerebral palsy. How did you prepare?
I've got to learn a potentially tricky accent, and, obviously, the physicality of the role. I'm having classes at home with a lady called Janis Price, who's a vocal coach but she also has a very, very, very mild cerebral palsy. It's very slight so we're working on basically timesing what she has to the power of 10. In the play it's never specific, they don't ever mention what is wrong with him. They just say, one bad arm, one bad leg, and he's shuffling. So then it was a matter of really going through the play and extracting what information we could. After we identified it as cerebral palsy, that's when we got in contact with Janis. She told me about the condition, the mechanics of it, what it is and what you can and cannot do with your leg or with your arm. It's really been a matter of working out how brilliant you become with your right side. Learning about the disability has been really interesting, and my mission for it is that I hope that people who have the specific type of cerebral palsy that I have—because there's a term, it's hemiplegia—I hope they come and see the show and go, that's authentic.