With The Woman in Black out on home release next week, the British star discusses his post-Potter coming-of-age.
Daniel Radcliffe, 22 and worth an estimated £54 million, has spent the last year working out life beyond Harry Potter. He starred in James Watkins' The Woman in Black, which opened to mixed reviews before grossing $126 million worldwide. He’s just wrapped on John Krokidas' Kill Your Darlings – in which he plays Beat poet Allen Ginsberg – and is rumoured to be in the running to head up Guillermo del Toro’s dark retelling of Pinocchio. Radcliffe sat down with LWLies recently to discuss how he protects his privacy, how he is changing as an actor, and how, one day, he hopes to be Daniel Radcliffe, Director.
LWLies: Harry Potter drew to a close last July. Is there a different kind of pressure now it’s over?
Radcliffe: I feel a hurdle was cleared by working on The Woman in Black. There was so much speculation after Harry Potter. I feel people were ready for Woman in Black not to be a success, or to be a small enough success for them to say it was a failure. The film was a huge learning curve in terms of the importance of publicity. I’ve always known it’s important to promote films, but it showed what an affect it has when you go out and really sell a film. You have to think of promotion as on behalf of the crew.
How steep a learning curve do you feel you’re still on?
Very steep. I’m not out of my depth but I’m out of my comfort zone. But that’s when I’m most excited and get the most out of my job. I still have a lot to learn, but so does everyone, and what was amazing about working with Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman and every one else on Harry Potter is they still want to learn. They have never stopped learning from every single person they’ve worked with.
How are you changing as an actor and performer?
I really feel with Kill Your Darlings – which we’ve just finished – that I made some strides in a direction I really wanted to go. It was a very different way of working that involved a lot of improvisation and emotional work that I’d ever done before. There are ways of working that I didn’t even know existed that I used on Kill Your Darlings, and it was amazing.
Steve McQueen says the reason Michael Fassbender is so good is he’s capable of providing something different every take. Is that something you try and do?
It’s one of the best ways I’ve found of working. We used it very well on Kill Your Darlings. The director [John Krokidas] invested a lot of time with me throughout the course of the shoot. Sometimes I’d say a line three of four times, imagining a different need or a different verb behind every line.
You have a massive profile for a young actor. How do you protect your privacy?
I suppose you just do the best you can. You avoid going to places where you know there’ll be paparazzi, and you keep a low profile when you are out. As a rule, I don’t go to other premieres. I’ve never been to a premiere of a film I’m not in. As an actor, and especially an actor that's been in a franchise, when you promote a film you invade people’s lives. You’re everywhere. So I think it’s good, when you don’t have anything to promote, to step away as much as you can.
You don’t have a Facebook or Twitter feed. Was avoiding social media an active decision?
As soon as you start that dialogue with the world, you can never really stop. I know a lot of people who have a really personal relationship with their fans through Twitter, and that’s really sweet, but one day they’re going to get older and have kids and not have time to tweet. And then their fans are going to get angry. You are in danger of waiving your right to privacy if you tell everyone what you’re doing every two minutes of every day.
Do you want to direct?
Yes, absolutely. Very much so, but I don’t know when.
Any ideas yet?
Ideas yeah, tonnes of them. But they’re crap ones. But I would love to direct. I don’t have as great an understanding of the technical side of things as you might think. I’ve always asked a lot of questions on set, but I’d need a very good Director of Photography to tell me where to point the camera. But I feel I could run a set very effectively, and I enjoy working with actors.
What do you love about movies?
Movies can be anything. They can be escape or they can be confrontation. It’s an incredibly malleable art form, which takes the best out of every other art form – writing, music, performance, visual imagery. It’s such a complete art at its best. In terms of being on film sets, what I love about it is for anywhere between 20 and 260 days a band of complete strangers will come together and form a family, and will bring something beautiful and ordered out of that chaos.
The Woman in Black is out on DVD and Blu Ray on June 18.