Daniel Radcliffe on ‘liking to do weird stuff’ onscreen


Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe touches on a wide variety of topics, from his fondness for experimentation to American politics to a return to blockbusters.

In his own estimation, Daniel Radcliffe is known in the film industry “for liking to do weird stuff.” That quote was given in response to questions about Swiss Army Man, a movie where he plays a corpse who befriends Paul Dano, whose character is stranded on a desert island. Radcliffe’s corpse character farts a lot. And it gets erections. And at one point Paul Dano rides it across the ocean.

And it talks, obviously.

So in the wake of Swiss Army Man, Radcliffe’s confession about “weird stuff” isn’t surprising. The movie seems to cap a string of roles in which Radcliffe has purposefully gone against the grain. This is a guy who could have cashed in on his Harry Potter fame with any number of big-name franchises, but instead chose to appear in smaller, moody movies like Kill Your Darlings and Horns.

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Is Radcliffe purposefully trying to get away from the family-friendly Harry Potter? It’s hard to tell. True, he’s been choosing offbeat fare for awhile, but apparently he doesn’t have any qualms about more mainstream stuff. “I don’t know where people get this idea from that big movies can’t be as much of a challenge as an independent film,” he said in a recent interview. “They can be really hard work. Harry Potter just got better and better as a franchise and I am still so proud of it. I would definitely do big-budget films again, just give me one worth doing.”

I wonder if Radcliffe’s recent role as Igor the hunch-backed assistant in Victor Frankenstein wasn’t an attempt to test the current temperature of the big-budget filmmaking waters. He played another offbeat character in that one, but the movie cost $40 million to make. Of course, thanks to Harry Potter, Radcliffe has the financial resources to take just about whatever role he wants, so maybe he was just doing as he pleased.

Radcliffe touches on other topics, too. During his down time in New York City, where he lives with longtime girlfriend Erin Drake, he enjoys “reading books and looking at stuff – at buildings.”

The actor also has an acute interest in American politics—he was recently tapped to play political consultant Lee Atwater in comedy Young Americans. That movie might not happen, but Radcliffe’s interest in the subject matter makes us think he’ll turn up in a similar role sooner or later. “They completely fascinate me,” Radcliffe said of American politics. “They are so polarised in their beliefs in the US. I don’t think that even in the BNP, even in the most right-wing party you could imagine in Britain, that you would have ‘pro-life’ candidates standing. There are so many divisions between the candidates over here. It’s mesmerising to watch it because to a certain extent, I can stand back.”

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It’s always interesting to get an outsider’s perspective. You can next see Radcliffe on the big screen in June—he plays the villain in Now You See Me 2. As for when Swiss Army Man might come out, I honestly have no idea.

h/t The Independent