The other day I was able to participate in a roundtable interview with one of the biggest movie stars on the planet – Daniel Radcliffe. And while that’s his real name, he’s also known as someone else… Harry Potter.
He was in
If you don’t know about “December Boys” yet, I’d advise you to go
As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the entire interview as an MP3 by clicking here.
“December Boys” opens up on September 14th in limited release, and later this month it’ll go wide.
Question: You know with the Harry Potter movies Catholics and Protestants said with all the wizarding it was heretic, but with this movie it has like a strong Catholic myth. I don’t know if you are from
DR: I’m not religious at all.
Q: How do you feel about the fact that the movie with the Virgin Mary it seemed to have a strong Catholic intention…
DR: To be honest, I play a Catholic boy who grows up in a Catholic orphanage so there are obviously going to be a lot of Catholic themes. I mean, if I’m playing a Jewish boy now we would be celebrating New Year. So it just varies to what the part is. It didn’t really make any particular difference to me. Even though I’m not religious I didn’t object to it.
Q: Are you agnostic.
DR: I’m sort of along those lines I think yeah definitely. I’m sort of confused I suppose. The person who has been my tutor for about seven or eight years has been amazing for me. She’s Catholic so it was really, really good to talk to her. She comes from a very Catholic upbringing. It was really good to talk to her actually about Catholicism and about how it can, if you’re faith is shaken or you do something that feels natural it might contradict what your faith says you do. She was just telling me about how Maps would feel about what he’s doing based on his background, which was very helpful.
Q: They seem to make some fun of the nuns …
DR: I think it is just, I wouldn’t read this film as being about a Catholic message. If this film has a message it’s very much that family doesn’t necessarily mean blood relations and it is who you trust and love. They make up your family. That for me is the message. It is not particularly Catholic.
Q: Are you surprised that people are surprised to see you in this because why wouldn’t you be able to do other types of roles?
DR: I know what you mean, but I’m not surprised by it. I don’t understand it, but it is sort of to be expected I suppose. It was like with Equus when I got to take my clothes off everybody was a bit like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe he’s doing that.” Now to me that was ridiculous, but I sort of expected it would happen so it is sort of the same thing as here. It is only natural that I should go out and do other things. I don’t know if people are surprised that I’m doing it. They are just possibly more interested than they would be if I hadn’t been involved in the Harry Potter franchise.
Q: Did you feel like you had to be strategic in what you were going to do with this one because, obviously you were sent a lot of scripts while you were making Harry Potter so did you have to think strategically like “Okay, I’m not going to make some other really, really big movie. I want to make this little small movie just to kind of demonstrate another side of my acting.”
DR: If the big movie had presented me with loads of challenges and other experiences then I would have done it, I wasn’t just saying “I have to do an indie movie next because that will show …”
Q: That you have street cred?
DR: Yeah, exactly. But it just so happened that this was the best script I read and it was for an indie movie so I wanted to do something, but then again if I hadn’t believed in this script I wouldn’t have done anything. I really wanted to do something in between Harry Potter four and five, but if a script hadn’t come along it was very important that I didn’t just do something for the sake of doing it, you know?
Q: Are you rebellious like Maps?
DR: That is what’s interesting. I don’t see maps as being rebellious. I see him as being bored and having nothing else to do. People were saying “Who do you think is more rebellious, Harry or Maps?” I absolutely think Harry is, because Harry rails against things more where Maps really has nothing to rail against except his own … (interrupted mid sentence)
Q: What about you?
DR: Maybe I’m rebelling against what people think I would be doing, but it is not a conscious thing. I’m making my own choices and if some people feel that is slightly unorthodox that’s their issue more than mine really, it doesn’t bother me.
Q: You are not the guy who would be drinking a beer and stealing a cig and stealing a beer?
DR: I don’t know. I’ve never been in a situation where I had to steal a beer. [laughs]. Maybe I would. I don’t know.
Q: Rod told us that you listened to certain types of music to try and get in to this character. Can you tell us what bands you chose?
DR: Oh God, um actually I still have it on my iPod on my playlist. It was stuff, I recall there was a lot of Elliot Smith on there, a lot of William Mason, it was troubled guitar wielding men mainly. And a lot of Nirvana, Radio Head, Black
Q: Is this the opposite of what you would normally listen to?
DR: No, not at all. I would often listen to stuff like that. Radiohead particularly, but this CD was exclusively bands like that. I listen to a lot of um well it is all mainly guitar music, but it is not all quite that furious.
Q: What attracted you to this character so much, specifically where did you take your inspiration?
DR: It think everyone can sort of associate with Maps in some way, male or female all the heart break things, and things like that. And also the thing I didn’t necessarily connect with so much, but that moved me, when I say I didn’t connect with I mean it doesn’t apply to me quite so much, but with Maps I was really moved by the overwhelming desire to be needed by somebody, which he just doesn’t have. These boys need him for the first half of the film, but then suddenly they meet this guy Fearless who is tougher, older and rides a motorbike and they are suddenly enamored by him. Can anyone tell me is it enamored by someone or enamored with someone? [laughter] So they all leave him and go to Fearless and again Maps is left once more with no one needing him. I think he feels he needs to be needed.
Q: Rod told us that the last day of shooting was Christmas morning and you shot your first love scene and everybody was quite nervous. How did you feel? It was late and this was your first love scene?
DR: We started filming up there at 11 o’clock in the morning of December 23rd and we finished at 4:15 a.m. on Christmas Eve. So it was a very long day and we filmed the sex scene at about 8 o’clock that night so I wasn’t too tired yet [laughs] luckily, but I was nervous. Definitely. Being the first love scene that I had ever done it was not exactly imposing but you were aware and going “Oh God what do I do, what don’t I do.” So just stuff like that really and luckily Theresa was very, very good at helping me to just chill out and just have a love for it, that’s what it is about.
Q: We don’t really know what happened with the parents of Maps so maybe you needed to get inspiration from Harry Potter?
DR: I totally left Harry out of the equation when I was playing Maps, because they are both orphans, but they are totally different people. If you said that if you can play one orphan you can play another one that would mean that both orphans would have to be the same character and that’s not the case so it wasn’t about using what I know of Harry to portray Maps at all. And in terms of what you were saying about Maps background, I have always assumed that Maps was or at least Maps had been told he was left. I always assumed that his parents were alive and had not wanted him or at least that that is what he’d been told.
Q: How did you get the three kids that were so in awe of you being Harry Potter to forget that and relate to you as the character in the show? And also did you go straight to the epilogue when you read the last Harry Potter book?
DR: I did indeed. No, I didn’t go straight to the epilogue, that’s what my grandmother does.
Q: I was wondering what you thought because we interviewed you for Harry Potter and at that time you didn’t know what the end was and I wondered what your reaction was to him actually living?
DR: Okay, I’m going to deal with you first.
Q: It doesn’t matter.
DR: In terms of the kids they were almost totally unphased by me or if they were intimidated they hid it bloody well. That was never really an issue they were a really good bunch of kids and I really, really loved working with him they are very cool people James Frasier who plays Spit is essentially me age 12 so I am very fond of James. By the way in terms of me age 12 is James rather than his character just to clarify.
Q: What did you think of the final Harry Potter book?
DR: In terms of the ending of the book, I was thrilled. Has anybody not read the seventh book – okay, cool, I was very, very pleased because I basically get the best of both worlds, because I get the scene of my demise and also I get to live on after that, which is any actors’ dream, you get to die and then you get more screen time, it’s fantastic.
Q: Are you filming now?
DR: I start ‘6’ in 10 days.
Q: Any special preparations, special iTunes list?
DR: Not yet, but I’m sure I will before we start filming.
Q: Can you talk about where you were reading the book and what you were experiencing as you were reading it?
DR: Totally. There’s a quote, I’m not going to take this interview down too pretentious a route though this next bit… but there’s a quote from Chekhov when he wrote to the woman who was the final love of his life, who he later married and I think died with, not that she died but he was with her when he died, and he addresses a letter to her and he says, ‘Hello, the last page of my life.’ Which seemed very appropriate to me reading this book, because he has been such a part of my life now, I’ve been with him through all my teen years, and you were suddenly aware that – I started reading it, it was wow, this is the last time I will take a journey with this character, and it was quite a special moment, and actually while reading the final chapters I was listening to Sigur Ros which was very, very appropriate actually, it really, really was, God I’d love them to do a song for one of the films, they’d be absolutely fantastic.
Q: Were you thinking about it as you were reading it, oh my God this book is amazing, it’s going to be such a good movie?
DR: I was thinking, how are we going to make it into a movie? It’s going to be tough, but that’s why someone cleverer than me adapts them. I think if we get it right, which I’m confident we will, it should be amazing.
Q: Have you read the script for Half-Blood Prince yet?
DR: Yeah, yeah, yeah
Q: Have they adapted that book well, they have to cut them down so much.
DR: They have to. Obviously things have taken out, but everything that drives the story forward is very much in place.
Q: And you’re doing a play right after you finish Half-Blood Prince?
DR: There’s a little gap and hopefully if I can find another film to make than that would be really cool, but if not, yeah I might actually rest.
Q: A lot of people read the book in one or two days, did you feel you needed to read it quickly so someone didn’t spoil it for you
DR: Weirdly I didn’t. I was at a cricket match when it came out, so I didn’t really start reading it properly. I read the first 30 pages one night, and then said, ‘Right, I’m not going to pick it up again until I’ve got proper time to really have a go at this book.’ And actually no one spoiled the ending for me, I thought they would. I thought someone was going to shout it out what happened. But the brilliant thing about it actually – she sort of made it spoiler proof, because even though if someone does say what state Harry ends up in, you don’t know the half of it which is pretty impressive. When I finally did get to read it I did read it in about a day and a half just because I didn’t put it down.
Q: Was that really you mooning the camera in December Boys or was it a double?
DR: That’s me, that’s the genuine Radcliffe ass.
Q: A lot of people thought Alfonso Cuaron did such an amazing job of three, and he’s talked about he’d be willing to come back to the franchise, would you like to have him back for book seven.
DR: It’s a very interesting question. I loved working with Alfonso, so I don’t want this to be misinterpreted in the slightest, but I really love working with David Yates. Who knows if he’ll do book seven. But also I think to be honest it’s really nice to have new directors come on board. Who know, it’s a long way off, book seven, it depends if David is willing to do it, I don’t know if he will be, it’s a long way off so I don’t know at the moment. But I would love to work with him (Alfonso) again in the future, I don’t know if Potter will be the place where that happens.
Q: You’re okay with Yates coming back for book seven.
DR: If he wanted to, yeah totally.
Q: Did you have a good 18th birthday party?
DR: I had fabulous 18th birthday party, thank you very much.
Q: We didn’t hear anything about it.
Q: Do you have any great summer memories?
DR: This summer was pretty good, because I got to go to Lords for my birthday.