Daniel Radcliffe could easily be a diva. After all, Radcliffe is twenty-one, a multi-millionaire, and he’s famous in every corner of the globe because director Chris Columbus cast him as Harry Potter almost ten years ago.
But he’s not a diva. In fact, he’s as far from that label as possible. Here’s an example of who Radcliffe is: While on the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows earlier this year outside London, I was waiting with a few other online reporters for Radcliffe to arrive for an interview. He was running a bit late (he is in almost every shot of the movie!) and when he finally showed up, he had run to meet us and after catching his breath, he apologized because he felt bad for making us wait. I’ve done a lot of set visits when someone is running late, but I’ve never seen the main star run to do an interview and then apologize. But that’s who Radcliffe is.
During the interview, Radcliffe talked about the final installment and what it meant to him, is he comfortable being known as Harry Potter for the rest of his life, what was his reaction to reading The Deathly Hallows for the first time, and so much more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to what he had to say:
Since many of you like to listen to an interview, you can click here for the audio. Or you can read the transcript below. And for the two people that haven’t seen it, here’s the amazing trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 which gets released November 19, 2010:
Question: I’ve been asking all the cast this and I’ll ask you because it’s a key question for us. You’re coming to the end of the journey now and we’ve basically watched you and some of the other actors grow up on-screen. And they’ve become kind of like a family to you I’m sure. And sort of, I know it’s hard to encapsulate what that means to you but How do you feel about it? Has it sunk in or do you not think about it yet?
Daniel Radcliffe: I’m not thinking about it that much at the moment. It’s very occasionally I’m being sort of my memories being kind of jogged and I’m suddenly thinking oh God I am only here for another 3 months, you know? 3 or 4 months. And so that’s very odd and it will be very upsetting when it does come to an end because I’ve spent so much time here and made some fantastic friends who I hope will stay with me for the rest of my life. And so yeah, it’ll be very sad but equally it is an exciting time. I suppose whenever you go through periods of transition or in a way it’s a very definite closing of a certain chapter of your life. I suppose those times are always going to be both very upsetting and also very exciting by the very nature because things are changing and you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Could you talk about when you got the 7th book? Your experience of reading it for the first time and just your emotions of reading it and also the epilogue, stuff like that?
Radcliffe: Yeah, I obviously loved the 7th book kind of as much as everybody else did. I was reading actually at a cricket match because it came out 2 days before my 18th birthday. And I was going to a match for my birthday. So I was going ‘round for 2 days without having read it where everybody else was reading it. And so it was a 2-day-long struggle to beg not get told the ending. And I did actually manage to do that and then yeah, I remember finishing it on the plane and just becoming very emotional. I found it’s a very moving book. The epilogue was something that I liked. I know not everybody did at all, but it was actually something I didn’t have a problem with. And it’s tying together all those loose ends. Because the thing is, what people don’t realize about the epilogue is I think that if Jo Rowling hadn’t written that epilogue can you imagine being her for the rest of her life and having to cope with questions about what did Harry go on to do? What did…? She has to give something to just I think to shut people up aside from everything else, you know, to give some conclusion.
And can we talk about the process of this film, it requires of you a great deal. Not only the physical action and a lot of the…but there’s some great emotional arcs that Harry has to go through.
Radcliffe: Well, I mean the one that I think probably is the most important and the one that is most featured particularly in the first part is Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore despite the fact that Dumbledore is dead so that you would think it would make it a lot harder for a relationship to change, but because Harry’s constantly finding out new information about Dumbledore in the first film, information which pertains to both the very specific situation that Harry is in and what Harry’s mission is, but also information that pertains to Dumbledore—the man—which suddenly casts a lot of doubt on his integrity as a human being and an idealist and all those things that Harry’s always looked up to him for suddenly coming under scrutiny and under questioning by Harry. I mean that’s one of the…that arc is can Harry keep faith with Dumbledore? That’s what it’s about. It’s about how far can he be pushed before his faith gives out. I mean it’s I supposed like…is it Job? I can never remember. I think it is.
That sounds right.
Radcliffe: Yeah. And well historically it’s never been a good thing to compare yourself to biblical characters. But yes, that will be one of them. I mean the whole series for me is about loss of innocence and about Harry going from this kind of wide-eyed child and turning into this slightly grizzled young man by the end of it. Although as I was saying to people the other day, it is essential that he does not turn into a man necessarily in the film because what makes all that fight stuff at the end so powerful and so kind of horrible to watch is the fact that you’re seeing a kid get beaten up by a very strong, very angry man.
Radcliffe: Yeah. See that was interesting because that was like one of my favorite…that and one other scene which is the King’s Cross in the afterlife which is limbo with Dumbledore, yeah those were the two things I was most looking forward to filming. And as with everything that you place great significance on, one tends to put so much pressure on yourself that you actually end up…I think pressure is a good thing and it’s good to be able to feel it and use it and experience the feeling of it and especially if you can get past it, but for some reason on that scene on that day I was really…I so wanted it to be good. I was probably trying almost too much too many different things. But yeah, it was good. It was a really good scene and it’s lovely having Gary [Oldman] back because there was some really, really nice moments in it but it was hard. It was really, really hard work but I suppose simply because of the expectations I placed on myself.
Can you talk about the overall pride that you have for the series and what you and everyone have been able to accomplish because it’s very amazing?
Radcliffe: Thank you very much. I think it is too. These are films that are not…that are some of the biggest grossing films ever. Not that that’s …that’s a measure rather than a goal. But they’re made by 1,000 people not in some amazing decked out studio. They’re made by 1,000 people just outside Watford and they go everywhere. And I think that is amazing and I think it’s to have maintain the level of enthusiasm and energy and the attention for detail that we have over these films and I think the people responsible for that and one of them is very, very much [production designer] Stuart Craig because he sets the tone. His sets…if you walk onto one of those sets and you see not only the grandeur of it but also what makes him amazing is the detail of the sets that you probably would never see in the film. But I think the fact that we walk onto those sets every day and think well, if these sets are here, we have to be good enough to use them. You know, because they are amazing. He never falters—Stuart Craig. Every set that he has done for these films has been kind of amazing. And I think that sets the tone for a lot of the rest of us because it’s that attention to detail and that excitement and that enthusiasm and that energy and that imagination that we all have to try and bring in every day. And I think on the most part we do. And yeah, I would attribute…I do think that people like Stuart and Janet and people have to do with the visual side who’ve always got that incredible kind of…the attitude has never been, “Oh, that’ll be good enough.” The attitude is always absolutely not only must the job be done, it must be done excellently. And that’s the point I suppose about these films and I think everybody’s achieved that and I think that the way that we’ve managed to navigate through these years so far quite well in terms of the cast and the young cast given what a lot of people might have expected of us at the very beginning. I think we can…I think if we’re going to be proud of just one thing, we should be prouder of that than even the films themselves because that’s something that a lot of people would never have thought could happen. And the fact that we’ve all come through and remained who we are and not become horrible nightmares, I think says a lot about our parents and about the crew here and everyone.
Radcliffe: I think it’s very important that no matter where…Harry Potter’s one thing and I will, every opportunity I will get for the rest of my life, I would not have got if it wasn’t for Harry Potter. And it would be height of ingratitude if I was ever anything but proud to be associated with these films.
When you were preparing for the death scene, did it make you consider perhaps your own mortality and sort of take you down that road as well?
Radcliffe: I don’t know. I’m possibly a very morbid person but I think about death a lot. I mean I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s maybe from being on films that’s often playing Harry or…I just think it’s a natural thing that I have, I guess. It’s something that I think about just because it’s fascinating in a very alien kind of way because I’ve never…I had one relative who passed away but fortunately none others. So my sort of experience of it is quite limited, thankfully. But yeah, I’ve been in that scene yes, absolutely for that scene because you have to…because when you’re faced with death presumably that’s all you can think about I suppose.
Can you reflect on the relationship you have with Rupert and Emma and how it’s evolved, you know looking back on it now? When you started you were very young children.
Radcliffe: I mean when we…yeah. I mean it’s great. It’s been very odd on this film in a way because Emma’s not been here for the past bit because she’s been studying. So it’s been slightly disrupted on this film so it’s been peculiar. But yeah, we have gotten on very, very well. We’ve got other friends as well, I think it’s important to say. We don’t just hang around with each other all the time. But yeah, no we get on very, very well and we also have the knowledge that no matter what happens in the rest of our lives, no one will have had this particular experience other than the 3 of us. And I think that is something that will never, never leave us.
It’s like being a Beatle.
Radcliffe: Ah yes, that is not for me to say.
What are your thoughts on 3D for the 2 films going 3D?
Radcliffe: Nothing to do with me. I mean I’ve seen 3D films so far and I think it’s a long way to go before they replace actors. It’s a funny thing with 3D, I haven’t quite got it yet. Yet.
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