An interview with THE WOMAN IN BLACK star, Daniel Radcliffe
At this point in my career, I’ve interviewed a fair amount of famous filmmaker types. Still, there was something, dare I say magical, about meeting Daniel Radcliffe - the man, now 22, who played the most famous young wizard the movies have ever seen and spearheaded the biggest film franchise in history. And what did I say to him first thing after congratulating him on his first post HARRY POTTER outing?
“I have to be honest with you; I probably wouldn’t have seen THE WOMAN IN BLACK if I weren’t interviewing you. I just tend to avoid horror films whenever possible really.” I couldn’t believe these words had just come out of my mouth.
Radcliffe’s response: “Honestly, if I weren’t in this film, I’m not sure I would have seen it either.”
Don’t take that out of context. Like me, Radcliffe tries to avoid horror films whenever possible because they “terrify” him. (He cites Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING as a personal favourite though.) In fact, it only takes a few moments with him to absorb just how excited he is about THE WOMAN IN BLACK, directed by James Watkins, even though he does not believe in ghosts himself.
“I have never seen a ghost nor do I expect to,” Radcliffe states. “There always seems to be a co-relation between those who have seen ghosts and those who believe in them. As I don’t believe in them, I find it highly unlikely that I will ever see one.” The young man’s sharp sense of sarcasm is unexpected but welcome.
As Arthur Kipps in The Woman in Black
Of course, there is another reason Radcliffe wants to share this new film with his fans. It is an opportunity for the world to see him like they never have before, without the spectacles and sans scar.
“I am under no illusion that people are going to see this film and think, ‘Oh my God, he isn’t Harry Potter anymore. This is a total fucking transformation!’” he says, rather astutely. This is when I lose my train of thought though because suddenly I can’t seem to focus on anything other than how "Harry Potter" just said “fuck”. He does elaborate on his point though. “I can’t focus too much on how I am being perceived at any one time. It’s not constructive for me to think that way. Once people are used to me popping up in other things, it won’t be so much of a difficult stretch.”
Smiling for the cameras at The Woman in Black premiere
One might also think it something of a stretch to go from working on a huge franchise like HARRY POTTER to a film that reportedly cost under $20 million to produce. “People always say to me, if I do a smaller film, ‘Bet it wasn’t like this on Potter!’ and my reaction is ‘No, it was worse.’ People assume that because we had so much money and time, that it must have been a really smooth operation. It wasn’t; it was chaos. All film sets are chaos. Organized chaos, but chaos.”
Still, it was his first time away from the film home he had spent years growing up in. Fortunately, there was a fair amount of familiarity for Radcliffe to draw from. “It’s very hard to work on Potter and then do another British film without knowing anybody.”
On The Woman in Black set
Radcliffe read the script for THE WOMAN IN BLACK on the last day of shooting HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 and started work on the film six weeks later, with four weeks of intense dance training in between for his successful Broadway run in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. I would’ve taken a year off personally but Radcliffe is clearly not the kind of guy who likes to sit still for too long. He could barely even sit still during the fifteen minutes we spoke.
“My thing is rather than getting back on the horse, why not just stay on it?” he quips like the cheeky, little Brit he is. Having met him now, I can see Radcliffe eventually riding that metaphorical horse right into the ground. That is, unless he doesn’t get the sudden urge to get off the horse and stand next to it naked first.