Sixteen year old Daniel Radcliffe first appeared on British television in December 1999 when he played the young David Copperfield in BBC television’s highly acclaimed production of “David Copperfield”. He followed that soon after with a small role in the Geoffrey Rush/Pierce Brosnan thriller “The Tailor of Panama”. It wasn’t until 2001 though that he came to many people’s attention when he won the role of a lifetime – that of Harry Potter. The part, which he has played four times now, has made him one of the richest and most well-known teenagers in the world and both he and his fellow castmates recently answered questions from reporters at a press conference in London:
Question: Can you talk about growing up and maturing alongside your character?
Radcliffe: It’s great because there is so much pressure on the films now to get better and better, especially after the third one which for me, was great. There was an awareness that we had to work really hard to go further with it and make it better. Otherwise, people would be very disappointed. It’s also loads of fun playing Harry as he’s getting older but it’s almost as if it was real life, not just in the story. People grow sort of extra emotions, which is partly to do with hormones and all the trouble that they cause and then partly just growing up. There are other assets to that and that’s part of the fun playing Harry.
Question: How was it balancing that act of humor and darkness in this movie, because this movie is probably the funniest of the four…
Radcliffe: It’s not so much hard for us as actors as it is for Steve Klores, who wrote the script. To adapt something that’s just as massive as the fourth book is something…I mean, I certainly wouldn’t envy that task. He did an amazing job on it. To me, the humor is essential to the darkness in a way because if you have that darkness running the whole way through the film, by the end, you’d be tired. It would be completely ineffective. What’s quite nice is that Mike lulls you. You got that dark opening with the snake and the caretaker being killed, but it then goes into this field that’s almost like the first film. It’s almost a shock when you go into that darker world. So the humor is essential to that.
Question: How was filming the underwater scenes?
Radcliffe: That was amazing. It was quite hard work actually. Those days, I feel I can call what I did work because normally, I’ve got this thing in my mind that work can’t be fun because I always associated it with being employed. So I’ve never associated “Harry Potter” with work. But on these days, it was tough. It was fun, but it was hard and I trained for about six months beforehand. I was sharing someone else’s air in the scuba diving tank so we both had regulators. They’d say “three-two-one” and on three, I would blow out all the air in my lungs. On one, I’d take a big gulp of air and that’s how much you can do with that amount of breath in your body. The hard thing was that I wasn’t actually allowed to let any air out because Harry’s supposed to become a fish with gills and there’s not supposed to be bubbles going around. But it was amazing and I had the most amazing stunt team.
Question: You and the others are part of this multi-million dollar phenomenon but individually, your names aren’t that famous. Are we going to see you become like Lindsay Lohan or something, and start attracting tabloid attention?
Radcliffe: I’m planning on buying 20 Porsches and crashing them all, just for the extravagance! I don’t think so. I think it’s a really good thing that we haven’t. Because the characters are so well-known and iconic, if we had been going out and going to every party we’ve been invited to, it would have been hard for people to divorce what they see in the films from what they see in the magazines. That would’ve been a mistake. I certainly like not having the high profile thing. I actually quite like that. I sort of feel like I’m fooling people. It’s this massive thing, but it’s actually quite a low-key thing.
Question: Do you still think you’re going to do acting for the rest of your life?
Radcliffe: I just love doing it and I was trying to work out the other day what’s the attraction. Why do I love it so much? I have no idea and I think the conclusion I reached was that it was something to do with – it’s like a power thing because you have a character, and in many ways, it’s up to you how your character is perceived by people watching the film. It’s not just you because of the script and direction as well. But I love doing it and I have a huge passion for acting.
Question: Are you attracting women at all in school because you’re an actor?
Radcliffe: Me and Harry: we’re not very good with women. I got better now. I think any man ever who says that he’s never had an awkward moment with a girl is a liar and if he says that, then he’s delusional. That’s what I like about Harry and Ron: they have the worst possible dates in the world! It’s great because you feel so sorry for them.
Question: What do you think is the one memory you’re going to carry away from this movie?
Radcliffe: Seeing it, probably. When you see eleven months of your life and you go in everyday and you do it, it’s very particular with Harry Potter because it’s a very gradual process. It’s so huge and you piece it together, day by day, and you refine and refine it and it goes through all these different stages. Thousands of people work on it and all of the work is as important as the last, and then it amounts to this massive thing at the end of it, which is just amazing. It’s a fantastic thing to see. I believe we made a great film, a really good film. Even if we didn’t, the sense of achievement would still be this amazing thing so I think that would probably be it for me for this film.
Question: What kind of gadgets do you like? Do you have an iPod or something?
Radcliffe: I find the iPod thing hard because I’m quite obsessive about CDs. So I’d like to have the CDs with the little sleeve notes in the back and the pictures, which some may call sad. So for me, it’s mainly CDs, books, and DVDs I suppose. That hasn’t changed much in the last five years so that’s not particular exciting.