Daniel Radcliffe on his new role in the Joe Hill adap.
“I’ve always been embarrassed that I haven’t learned to ride a bike”
Some star performers at school have trouble graduating to the real world. Not Daniel Radcliffe ( Hogwarts, 2001- 2011). He’s embraced the transition from JK Rowling’s epic fantasy world by making some daring and dark career choices. Following The Woman In Black two years ago, his latest foray into horror is Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja ( Piranha) and based on Joe Hill’s cult novel of the same name about a man who grows a pair of devil horns when he is accused of murdering his girlfriend. Featuring a predominantly British cast ( as well as Radcliffe, it stars Juno Temple, Max Minghella and Joe Anderson) Horns fuses horror with romance and comedy. In contrast to the torment he undergoes in Horns, Radcliffe is cheery and energetic when SFX meets him in a midtown Manhattan hotel suite. “I seem to be drawn towards the macabre and the dark,” he declares.
Horns is a horror movie with fantasy elements but there’s also plenty of romance and comedy in there. Were you consciously mixing up the genres?
One of the things I was most drawn to about the film was it was impossible to pin down. As well as being a slasher horror movie and a revenge thriller, it’s also funny and has a beautiful tragic love story. That genre- hopping quality is one of the fun things about it. As well as the chance to play this character – I don’t think anyone has seen me play someone like this before, which is something I want.
It’s very different to your last horror movie, The Woman In Black.
The Woman In Black is about as traditional as you can get for a horror movie; Horns is as unorthodox as you can get. Horns is a much funnier film than The Woman In Black and it’s more twisted in its approach to the horror genre. It’s this very emotionally truthful film but we allow ourselves to go into slasher horror movie [ territory].
Are you much of a fan of the slasher horror movie genre?
I am a fan of big beast movie horror. I do like a slasher horror sometimes but I wouldn’t say it would be my favourite genre. I got freaked out by them as a kid. I could never watch Scream. You know when you were about ten or 11 with your friends and someone would put Scream on and say, “It’s really funny.” I was that kid that got freaked out and couldn’t sleep for weeks! I don’t think I was ever drawn to it myself but I appreciate the genre.
You work a lot with prosthetics in this movie, beginning with the horns. What was that like?
I’ve never done a full body prosthetic. I’ve seen people in them before and gone, “God I don’t think I could ever do that”. I got incredibly lucky on this one because I got two brilliant people who were the fastest prosthetic make- up artists. They were called Mike and Mike – Big Mike and Little Mike. It was like they were brothers. The horns by the end only took 20 minutes to put on. The full body for the end of the movie took two hours. On a film with this much money, we didn’t have the time to spend all morning in a trailer.
How was it working with Alexandre Aja?
I think this is an interesting film for Alex, it’s so different to anything he has done before. One of the things I love about Piranha was all the different ways he found for people to die involving piranhas. Alex brought that same creativity to Horns. He’s a master of tone.
This cast really flies the flag for UK acting talent with you, Juno, Joe and Max. How much of a British blast did you have on set?
The five main characters in Horns are American and four of us who play them are English. I don’t know if that’s because we have a French director! I can’t say enough nice things about all of them and it was great fun. But the one downside of hiring me, Juno and Max was they filmed a flashback scene with our younger selves where the three of us were riding bikes through the woods. They wanted to recreate that with the adult versions of us three riding a bike. But me, Juno and Max, not one of us can ride a bike. I’ve always been so embarrassed that I had never learned to ride a bike but here it wasn’t just me having to say, “No you can’t do that shot because of me”.
What can you tell us about your next film Frankenstein?
We finished filming in April. It’s a totally mad retelling of Frankenstein. If anybody thinks they know what the story is they really don’t. I can’t wait to see it myself because I have so little idea of how it’s going to be. It’s the first big film that I’ve done since Potter so who knows how it will be? I’ll be excited but I’ll definitely be nervous to see it as well.
Horns is released on Friday 31 October.