Hog­warts and all

DANIEL RAD­CLIFFE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

THE well-trod­den path for child stars prov­ing they’re all grown up is to play some­thing shock­ing – a drug ad­dict, a vi­o­lent crim or a men­tal pa­tient.

‘‘ I think I, at one point, con­sid­ered play­ing a rent boy,’’ says Daniel Rad­cliffe ( pic­tured), who first cap­tured the world’s at­ten­tion as an 11-year-old play­ing a stu­dent wizard in Harry Pot­ter and The Philoso­pher’s Stone.

Goody-two-shoes Harry Pot­ter turned rent boy? Se­ri­ously?

‘‘ It was a good script, that was why,’’ Rad­cliffe says.

‘‘ But then the rea­son I didn’t was that I kinda went, peo­ple would just say, ‘ Oh you’re just try­ing too hard. This is just you do­ing this for the sake of it’. So, no, I didn’t want to do that.’’

The rent boy role dis­carded, Rad­cliffe, who turns 22 this month, had to find a dif­fer­ent path into life af­ter Pot­ter.

In the year and a bit since the fi­nal film The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 fin­ished shoot­ing, Rad­cliffe has not sat around count­ing his money, sur­vey­ing his art col­lec­tion or an­swer­ing fan emails ( he doesn’t even have an email ad­dress).

Nor did he cel­e­brate his grad­u­a­tion from Hog­warts in that time-hon­oured stu­dent tra­di­tion – back­pack­ing.

‘‘ Oh no, no, no, no, no. I don’t have that in me,’’ he says.

‘‘ You know how some peo­ple have just gotta get up and travel as soon as they hit 19? I’ve never had that. I get home­sick, I love Eng­land. Also, there’s pos­si­bly a slightly lazy attitude where it’s like, ‘ Oh I’ll go there on a job some day, it’ll be fine’.’’

No, rather than acting out the way many a young per­son does when given their first taste of free­dom, Rad­cliffe and his team de­cided it was best that he keep, well, acting out. So they lined up a film, the ghostly drama The

Woman In Black, which will be re­leased early next year.

And, af­ter his mid-Pot­ter break­out in the stage play Equus, they locked in an­other Broad­way role, this time the lead in a re­vival of the mu­si­cal com­edy How To Suc­ceed In Busi­ness With­out Re­ally Try­ing.

Even be­fore the mu­si­cal started, Rad­cliffe was putting in hours each week of singing and dancing in prepa­ra­tion.

‘‘ If I had spent these months idle, I would have gone ab­so­lutely mad,’’ Rad­cliffe says.

‘‘ It was al­ways our plan to have at least one film to go be­fore the end of the year, be­cause that would have been just crazy not to.

‘‘ So while that at­ten­tion is on us, we have to prove to the peo­ple that are giv­ing it to us that we’re se­ri­ous about it and we want to keep work­ing.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously Emma [ Wat­son] has been at univer­sity, so that’s dif­fer­ent, but me, Ru­pert [ Grint], Tom [ Fel­ton], Matt Lewis . . . all of us are very, very keen to get out there and start work­ing again.’’

While both the play and the movie were care­fully con­sid­ered choices for Team Rad­cliffe, they were far from the ‘‘ shock’’ op­tion. But once you’ve ap­peared nude on stage at age 17, as Rad­cliffe did in

Equus, you prob­a­bly don’t need to push it much fur­ther.

‘‘ What was good about Equus – and this is go­ing to sound so cal­cu­lated now; it wasn’t. I’ve only thought all this post of it – was that it was a mod­ern clas­sic. It had that se­ri­ous, le­git theatre thing be­hind it, so I don’t think any­one was sud­denly go­ing to start say­ing, ‘ Oh, he’s only do­ing this for shock value’,’’ he says.

Rad­cliffe’s main state of be­ing seems to be ex­cite­ment. His per­for­mance in How To Suc­ceed has been de­scribed as a ‘‘ coiled spring of en­ergy’’. Talk­ing about The Woman In

Black, ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one is ‘‘ bril­liant’’, ‘‘ ge­nius’’, ‘‘ lovely’’ and ‘‘ very, very ex­cit­ing’’.

He’s end­lessly pos­i­tive, even when asked if there are big­ger things than the globe-con­quer­ing Pot­ter in his fu­ture.

‘‘ Oh I think so, very dif­fer­ent things,’’ he says. Then he pauses. ‘‘ What do you mean big­ger things? I don’t know if there’s big­ger than Harry Pot­ter. I don’t think I could top it!

‘‘ The ca­reer path I love is Gary Old­man’s. His body of work is so di­verse that it be­comes, by na­ture of the amount of dif­fer­ence in it, re­ally ex­cit­ing and some­thing to be proud of. So that’s ex­actly what I want to do.

‘‘ I cer­tainly can’t see any­thing big­ger than Pot­ter hap­pen­ing but I can see lots of dif­fer­ent things.’’

There’s not an ounce of cyn­i­cism in this young man – an amaz­ing achieve­ment for some­one who has been in the pub­lic eye for half of his life.

‘‘ There is ab­so­lutely no one in this world that could do what Daniel has done,’’ says Tom Fel­ton, 23, who grew up along­side Rad­cliffe, play­ing Harry Pot­ter’s arch neme­sis Draco Mal­foy.

‘‘ That’s not only on an acting level, ‘ cos he’s gone from strength to strength ev­ery film, but the per­sonal stuff he has to have dealt with over the past 10 years, the press, ev­ery­one con­stantly watch­ing ev­ery move. That would be a task too much for me.

‘‘ The way he deals with the stuff be­hind the scenes is heroic, re­ally. Cer­tainly, if that level of fame was ever ac­com­plished by my­self or by any­one else, he’s a great role model of how to deal with it.’’

Rad­cliffe’s fame, while enor­mous, does seem dif­fer­ent. Rather than, say, be­ing reg­u­larly tar­geted by the pa­parazzi when out with his girl­friend, fame seems mostly to have brought him tremen­dous amounts of good­will.

‘‘ Go­ing through Cus­toms in Amer­ica is quite cool ‘ cos they go, ‘ My kids love you’. I say, ‘ Oh cheers mate, yeah yeah, yeah, nice to meet you man, cheers,’ and off I go,’’ Rad­cliffe laughs.

‘‘ It’s like be­ing Ir­ish. Ev­ery­one loves the Ir­ish. And Aus­tralians, to be fair. Some na­tions are al­most ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered to be liked.’’

De­spite his aver­sion to back­pack­ing, Rad­cliffe and some mates headed to Rus­sia last year to cel­e­brate his 21st birth­day – where he also felt the love.

‘‘ I’ve al­ways, al­ways, al­ways wanted to go to Rus­sia and on my next hol­i­day I’ll prob­a­bly go back, be­cause I only spent two days in St Peters­burg and that is not long enough,’’ he says.

Did he get some dou­ble-takes from Rus­sian Pot­ter fans?

‘‘ Yes I did! And in fact, it’s quite easy when there’s a lan­guage bar­rier, be­cause all you can do is sign [ an au­to­graph], so you don’t stop and chat. You just rush off and do your next thing.’’

HARRY POT­TER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2

Opens with mid­night screen­ings at Vil­lage Cin­e­mas on Wed­nes­day.

LOOK­ING FOR­WARD:

Daniel Rad­cliffe in Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly

Hallows with Ralph Fi­ennes as Volde­mort; be­low, in Equus.

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