LONDON – To say that Daniel Radcliffe doesn’t have much of an ego is something of an understatement. Considering he’s been known as the iconic hero Harry Potter, a.k.a. “the chosen one,” since he was 10-years-old, starred in seven of the biggest films in history and seemingly adored by millions, you might think it’s all gone to his head. Perhaps it’s his natural demeanor or possibly just good upbringing, but Radcliffe would be aghast if anyone treated him as more than just a regular Joe.
Speaking to the press in support of his second to last “Potter” film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1,” Radcliffe made it clear he thinks any fandom he has received is more about the love for J.K. Rowling’s young wizard than his own charming personality. Radcliffe says he always realizes that “whoever had been cast as Harry would have been receiving [all this] attention. It’s not you. It’s an iconic role.”
Radcliffe offered up an interesting comparison surrounding another fanatic franchise, “The Twilight Saga.” A series that just happens to star “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’s” Robert Pattinson. It turns out Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first film, visited the “Deathly Hallows” set and cemented the actor’s theory on how it’s Potter who is adored, not Radcliffe.
“We had a really interesting conversation and I was asking, ‘How is Rob doing?’ And all that and she was saying before Robert had even been cast she went to a reading of the book with Stephanie Meyer,” Radcliffe recalls. “And when Meyer said the name, ‘Edward Cullen,’ the audience went nuts and were screaming and people were so obsessed with that character. So, whoever was going to step into that role was going to have a pretty crazy life for the next few years and I think it’s the same with Harry. It doesn’t really matter in a way who it is. If you are filling those shoes you are going to get a pretty wild reception.”
Fans of Pattinson may disagree, but there is some truth to what the 21-year-old Brit believes. He says screaming fans accost him once or twice a year, but he knows you’d have to “have some mad ego” if you don’t realize “this is all a bit weird and crazy.”
“I know me and I know I’m not somebody who particularly merits screaming and shouting,” Radcliffe says. “There is nothing special about me as opposed to hundreds of thousands of other people out there. So, the fact that people are shouting and screaming at me, the logical thing is that it must be because of the franchise.”
Because Radcliffe has dealt with the attention since he was so young he says “It’s just something you get used to.” Still, he knows he’s luckier than some other “celebrities.”
“It’s interesting, me and Rupert [Grint] were at [the Redding Music Festival] one year. We were getting a lot of people coming up to us being really, really nice,” Radcliffe says. “And then I saw, like ten rows in front of us, there was a person with a reality show who was not particular well-liked by the audience and was getting a lot of grief from the people around him. And that’s different from being in a pretty globally beloved franchise. It means you have quite a nice place in the minds of most people. I’m certainly lucky to have gotten so famous for something so well liked.”
As evidenced by his run on Broadway in “Equus” and his recently wrapped role in the new indie thriller “The Lady in Black” (which he jokes has a fraction of the budget of a “Potter” film), Radcliffe has decided to continue forward as an actor once his “Potter” commitments end. Having started so young, HitFix asked Radcliffe when did he realize this was something he wanted to make a life-long ambition?
“It was on the third film and it was combination of working with Gary Oldman and the direction I was given from Alfonso Cuaron. It sort of gave me more confidence or more insight into what it is to be an actor. Those moments were definitely around that time,” Radcliffe says. “I thought, ‘I want to work with people like you. I don’t want to walk away from this. I don’t want this to end and [life] suddenly not be so interesting.”
Radcliffe continues, “[It wasn’t so much then, but] now I love being on film sets. There is an incredibly comfort level because it’s where I’ve grown up. I know where I am on a film set. I know what to do . I know what everyone is doing. There are very few situations that can arise that I don’t know how to react to. And that level of comfort. That is quite confidence inspiring.”
Being a veteran of the movie business means Radcliffe has also endured numerous press conferences, interviews, red carpets and TV appearances to promote the series. He has an amazingly candid and realistic approach to dealing with the press. He often knows “particular media outlets” want a slightly negative spin on his experiences or “they have an idea that ‘Potter’ will have been shackled to me.”
“Very few people ask ‘Isn’t this an amazing opportunity for a young actor?’ There are very few young actors who get a chance [like I did when I was] 17 -years-old to play Alan Strang in ‘Equus’ in the West End. Like that doesn’t happen unless you have something behind you that’s a big deal,” Radcliffe says. “So, ‘Potter’ for me, is something that has been an amazing opportunity to start a career and learn while I’m doing which is the best way to learn.”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1” opens nationwide and in IMAX on Friday.