Daniel Radcliffe wants to clear up a big misconception among fans and the media: He does not want to kill off Harry Potter with his role choices.
In a phone call from the Toronto Film Festival in September, Radcliffe said there’s an assumption out there that he takes on risky roles like the young version iconic beat poet Allen Ginsberg in “Kill Your Darlings” as a way to break with the image of the boy wizard character.
Instead, Radcliffe said, it’s much simple than that: He takes on roles like that because they’re great roles.
“You’re the first person to have actually seen that it’s really not that complicated,” Radcliffe tells me.
“It’s just about picking what I like. I’m in a really fortunate position where I’m in a financially secure position from Potter where I don’t have to do something unless I’m passionate and excited about it, and that’s how I pick my work.”
The British actor, 24, says he’s faced quite an onslaught of negativity for his acting choices while doing press for “Kill Your Darlings,” which made its rounds at the Sundance and Venice film festivals before its stop in Toronto.
Radcliffe has drawn particular attention for his work in the film because of an explicit love scene his character has in the film with another man.
“In Venice, it was really interesting. All the European journalists were great interviewers and really fantastic, but whenever they asked that question about leaving Harry Potter behind, they always used such incredibly violent language,” Radcliffe recalled. “They’d ask things like, ‘Are you trying to destroy Harry? Is this the final knife in the back of Harry Potter? Is it the final nail in the coffin?’ All that stuff.”
Radcliffe said he had no choice but the set the record straight, hopefully once and for all.
“I was like, ‘Guys, I wouldn’t be sitting here in front of you if it wasn’t for those films. I love those films and I love the time I’ve had on them and what we achieved with them,’” Radcliffe said.
While Radcliffe believes journalists’ observations of purposefully shedding the Potter role is misdirected, he says he at least understands where it’s coming from.
“I do believe I get undue attention because I played one character for so long. I think it surprises people that I would want to do something different,” Radcliffe said. “It either surprises people or frankly — and I’m don’t mean to slander your profession — but sometimes I think it’s just an easier question to ask. I think it sort of becomes a ‘go-to’ question for everyone.”
Radcliffe, of course, faced the same sort of gauntlet of questioning when at age 18 in 2007 he appeared full-frontal nude in “Equus” in London’s West End (before he brought the role to Broadway) — long before the “Harry Potter” film saga wrapped up.
The actor said he knew the role was controversial, but since opportunities to work with theatre luminaries on a play like “Equus” don’t come up that often, he couldn’t pass it up.
“Being offered the joint-lead in ‘Equus’ opposite Richard Griffiths, and directed by Thea Sharrock on the West End, you be insane to say no to that,” said Radcliffe in an exasperated tone.
“To be offered that opportunity and back down from it would have been something I would have regretted for the rest of my life.”
Radcliffe has plenty of projects in the hopper, which span across different genres.
While at the Toronto Film Festival, his romantic comedy drama “The F Word” (the F-word meaning “friends”) was picked up by CBS films, while his horror thriller “Horns” was recently acquired by Dimension films. Both will be released in theaters next year.
Then, next October, Radcliffe will star as the iconic horror film character Igor opposite James McAvoy’s Victor Frankenstein in a new film version of “Frankenstein.”
Currently, the actor is starring opposite “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm in the new Ovation series, the black comedy “A Young Doctor’s Notebook.”
Meanwhile, “Kill Your Darlings” opens in theaters in limited release Oct. 16 and expands into more theaters in November.
Tim Lammers is a syndicated movie reporter whose work appears on more than 50 TV news and entertainment websites across the country. You can see Tim’s work on his website, StrictlyCinema.com, and follow his tweets at Twitter.com/TimLammersFilms. You can also “Like” Tim on Facebook.com/StrictlyCinema.