With Harry Potter a distant memory, Daniel Radcliffe is keen to show audiences he's more than just a child star. TheFIX spoke with the 22-year-old actor on the weekend about how far he's prepared to go to shake off that tag and be taken seriously as a dramatic actor.
"There's not anything out there I'd not do," he told us over the phone while filming thriller Kill Your Darlings in New York. In that film he has a nude scene, while his latest horror flick The Woman in Black takes him into darker territory as a widower surrounded by dead children.
But there's one thing he will never do on film. "I wouldn't kill an animal," he revealed. "I've heard of actors before who were asked if they would kill an animal on screen. I definitely would never do something like that."
Daniel reportedly hired two ex-SAS soldiers to guard his border collies Binka and Nugget after he received a death threat from a crazed fan in 2008. Since HP wrapped up, Daniel launched straight into The Woman in Black, a critical and commercial success that recently became the highest-grossing British horror film in 20 years.
Made by Hammer studios, who brought us the original Frankenstein and Dracula movies, the film's creepy subject matter, involving a ghost that terrorises a community by sending children to their deaths, is far darker than the fantasy world younger Harry Potter fans are used to. "If you're under 12 then you really probably shouldn't see this film. It's very very scary," he said. "I certainly wouldn't recommend the film for all ages by any stretch of the imagination."
Daniel took on the challenge of playing Arthur Kipps, a widower grieving his wife's death and caring for his three-year-old son (played by Daniel's real-life godson Misha Handley). "He's known me all his life. It was a great, great pleasure being able to be on set with him, and show him, even though he's very young, much younger than when I started, it was still nice to be able to show him the world I grew up in," he said. Does that make Daniel clucky to have a child with production assistant girlfriend Rosie Coker anytime soon?
"Not particularly! I love kids, and I look very much forward to having them at some point in the future, but it is very much in the future," he admitted. "It's not something I'm concentrating on anytime soon."Now that he's scratched his horror film itch, Daniel won't rule out doing more graphic horror films in the future. "Absolutely, I'd do horror again, it would not put me off that it was gory, but it would have to be a very, very good script to justify the graphic imagery," he said.
Speaking of graphic, Daniel's not afraid to bare all in front of millions of eyeballs. In Kill Your Darlings he plays gay '60s poet Allen Ginsburg, and was comfortable going nude on camera after baring all on stage in Equus a few years back.
"You just do it. It's just like getting naked in real life. You just pull your pants down," he revealed. Daniel laughs at the thought of self-conscious actors who have routines to pump themselves up for nude scenes.
"I'm certainly not one of those guys, I have seen those actors that do a load of push-ups or sit-ups or start lifting things before they're doing a scene with their shirt off or something, and to be honest, it always just makes me laugh," he said. "I'm like, dude, if you didn't get big before now, you're not going to look that much bigger in two minutes' time!"
Daniel's career is only getting bigger and bigger. Worth a cool $80 million, he's one of the richest young men in Britain, so he can afford to try different things to push himself. He recently completed a successful Broadway and West End run in musical How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and could be back for the planned sequel to The Woman in Black.
With plenty of scripts coming his way, Daniel has no regrets about turning down parts. "So far, nothing I've turned down has gone on to be a massive hit and win everyone loads of Oscars," he said. "I haven't had one of those 'dah!' moments … no, not yet but I'll let you know!"
Daniel hopes to return to Australia after a five-year absence since filming December Boys in South Australia. "I really miss it, there was a time when I was probably out there once or twice every 18 months probably for a few years and I just loved it," he beamed. "I don't know when but I will be running back as soon as I can."