Not only has he dodged the child-star career burnout but Daniel Radcliffe really loves his job, he tells Susan Griffin
Daniel Radcliffe knows how he’d like to depart this world.
“On a film set, ideally,” he states, eyes widening. “I want to ruin someone’s day. I want to have them suddenly go, ‘Dan’s just dropped dead in front of the camera; we have to get his double on’.”
The prelude to this is pondering a life without acting.
“If someone told me tomorrow, ‘You’re never going back on a film set’, I really wouldn’t know what to do.”
The 27-year-old, who was 11 when he was cast as Harry Potter, could easily never work again, having already amassed a fortune of £74m.
“I don’t really do anything with my money,” he adds. “I’m very grateful for it, because having money means you don’t have to worry about it, which is a very lovely freedom to have. It also gives me immense freedom career-wise.
“For all the people who’ve followed my career, I want to give them something to be interested in, rather than them just watch me make loads of money on crap films for the rest of my life.
The seventh and final Potter film was released in 2011. Since then, he’s appeared as a young physician in the dark TV comedy series A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the haunted Arthur Kipps in the The Woman In Black, gay beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, and a young man who finds horns sprouting from his skull in, aptly titled, Horns.
The London-born actor, the son of a casting agent, continues to surprise.
Today, he’s promoting Imperium, in which he plays Nate Foster, an FBI agent who goes undercover as a neo-Nazi.
The role required him to shave his head, wear clothes emblazoned with the likes of ‘White Power’ and shout racist obscenities.
“When we filmed the rally riot scene, we only had one camera, so from a distance, people couldn’t see it; they just saw a Ku Klux Klan rally walking through their town. We had people who were very angry and had to explain it was a film,” he recalls.
“We also had someone wind down the window, beep their horn and give a ‘white power’ [salute], so it was a very weird.”
But despite the “heavy topic”, it was “a very fun movie to make”.
As was Swiss Army Man.
“It was maybe the most fun I ever had on set,” remarks Radcliffe.
It tells the tale of a castaway called Hank (Paul Dano), who’s about to take his own life when a very flatulent corpse named Manny (Radcliffe) washes up on the shore. A friendship is formed, and the pair embark on an adventure together with the aim of returning Hank to the love of his life. Critics have lambasted the film as ‘puerile’ but Radcliffe has nothing but praise for directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
It’s rare for people to speak about their profession with the gusto that Radcliffe does.
“It’s because I’m one of the lucky few who loves my job. Most people hate their job and it’s something you have to get through. Whereas I used to feel I had to get through the bits of life in-between jobs, like I’m working to get back to the job.”
He doesn’t, he clarifies, feel like this any more.
“I’ve got much better at relaxing and enjoying down-time and hanging out with friends,” says Radcliffe, who recently returned from two weeks in Greece after wrapping on Jungle, due out next year.
“Ultimately, the hardest thing about growing up in the spotlight, it’s not the easy access to drugs or the strange, pandering world you enter but trying to work out who you are while constantly coming up against a perception of yourself everybody else already has.
“It’s important, especially when you become famous young, to work out who you are without fame, because that will go. Fame does not last forever. For anyone.”