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Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - Daniel Radcliffe interview

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

Interview by Rob Carnevale

DANIEL Radcliffe talks about the latest Harry Potter movie, The Half-Blood Prince, watching cricket in his underpants with a bowl of pasta, as well as his development as an actor over the years.

He also reveals how he feels about the success of former co-star Robert Pattinson in the Twilight franchise and how he’s expecting to feel once the Harry Potter franchise comes to an end…

Q. Are we right to regard this instalment in the series as a pivotal one?
Daniel Radcliffe: Specifically from my character’s point of view it used to be the case that Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore was one of a teacher and student but actually this time round he becomes very much a general and one of his foot soldiers, one of his lieutenants. It was a pleasure to play that with Michael.

Q. There was a big build up to the kiss in the last film, was it more relaxed this time round when you had an intimate moment with Bonnie [Wright]?
Daniel Radcliffe: I dunno, I think I speak for both of us when I say it was just another scene. For Bonnie it may have been [difficult] because it was her first kiss on screen and obviously that can be very nerve wracking. For me, it wasn’t particularly. When Katie [Leung] came in to play Cho she was always coming in as a love interest, so I knew that was always the basis on which we were getting to be working together. I guess what was weird about this one was that I’d grown up with Bonnie from the age of nine, so that’s quite strange in a way. But there were no problems presented by it at all, really.

Q. How was your first real fight with Tom [Felton]? Knowing each other so well was it difficult getting angry with one another?
Daniel Radcliffe: It had been building up… me and Tom had been stemming the flow for years and now we got to fight each other. It was great. For me it was brilliant because Tom’s been – I think it’s fair to say – quite underused in the other films, things have happened and there hasn’t been so much of Malfoy. Luckily, this time around Malfoy gets a real showing and Tom does brilliantly and it was a pleasure to act alongside him.

Q. How do you think it will be turning 20 later this month. Is that a special event for you? And do people still shout ‘Harry!’ at you?
Daniel Radcliffe: Not so much any more. I did used to get it quite a lot, but I think that’s just because it’s easier for people. They didn’t used to know my name, but they had a point of reference, so they’d shout ‘Harry!’ at me. In terms of turning 20, it’s fun I suppose… it’s another year, I’ve lived longer. That’s good. I’ve survived another one, but other than that I haven’t got anything planned. Nothing really happens at 20, does it? I don’t know, maybe it did for you, you might have had a fantastic 20th birthday and I hope if mine is half as good as yours then I’ll be happy. But I’ve no plans at the moment.

Q. Could you elaborate on the quotes in the Esquire article about being bullied at school? Did it have any affect on you?
Daniel Radcliffe: Not by any stretch of the imagination was it traumatic or has it affected me [negatively]. It wasn’t even bullying it was just that I wasn’t particularly liked or didn’t get on with people and sometimes it was to do with the Harry Potter thing. I would never say that I was ever bullied in any real way, not to the extent that people really suffer from bullying. I don’t compare to that.

Q. Has doing Equus given you a taste for taking risks in the work you do?
Daniel Radcliffe: I think I wouldn’t have done Equus if I hadn’t already had a taste for that, if I hadn’t always wanted to do that. Somebody asked me earlier what kind of an actor I wanted to be, and the only thing I could think of was somebody… The greatest quality I think people can have as actors, and some of the actors that I most admire have, is their fearlessness and their willingness to try something even if they think they might fail – but they try it anyway. It’s that kind of fearlessness that I aspire to, certainly.

Q. What’s been the most and least exciting thing over the last 10 years or so?
Daniel Radcliffe: You know what, it’s always a very difficult question to answer because there have been loads of incredibly funny moments on the set of Harry Potter. I would now probably struggle to name one, but it’s a constant thing. Just because there is not a funny story happening, it doesn’t mean that I’m not having fun a lot of the time, which I was.

Q. And the least favourite?
Daniel Radcliffe: Quidditch is right up there with the least fun things I’ve done on Harry Potter, certainly. It’s not a pleasant experience, it does hurt quite a lot and it’s not something I would rush back to. I had to do it for all of them, pretty much. We’re filming 7 at the moment and my favourite thing about this one is that I have no Quidditch. Actually, was there any broomstick work in 6? There was no Quidditch in 5. So, Quidditch was the low point, and you can take everything else as being the high point.

Q. How is it getting all the attention from girls now, is it more intense for you than for Harry?
Daniel Radcliffe: Possibly, I don’t know. I’m not sure… if girls like me then that’s fantastic, we’ll wait and see. I go to Japan and they all scream and it all goes mad, and it happens all over the world. But that’s a different type of me. That’s the me that’s on red carpets and stuff, and that’s who a lot of people seem to be attracted to or fancy and stuff. But the me who sits in a darkened room in my socks and my underwear for eight hours watching cricket with a big bowl of pasta, is not nearly as appealing to women.

Q. What are the feelings you have about the tragic death of co-star Rob Knox?
Daniel Radcliffe: What is there to say? I won’t pretend that I knew Rob incredibly well, or that I was one of his best friends on set. But I knew him, I liked him, what happened to him was tragic and awful.

Q. How do you feel about erstwhile co-star Robert Pattinson’s success on Twilight? Have you seen the film?
Daniel Radcliffe: I actually haven’t seen the film, which makes me one of about three people in the world. The thing that’s interesting for me is that it’s the only other franchise really which comes close to Potter in terms of the mania that surrounds it, the attention that the leads get and just how global it is. So, part of me doesn’t actually want to have an opinion on the film because at this point… with the Potter thing I can’t see this phenomenon happening.

Everyone talks about the phenomenon of Harry Potter, but I’m not aware of it because I’m in the middle of it. So to actually be able to watch this other franchise explode is really, really interesting. I worked with Rob on The Goblet of Fire, and we got on. Again, I won’t pretend we were best mates or we knew each other really well, but we really enjoyed working with each other. Or at least I enjoyed working with him. And he’s doing brilliantly, which is fantastic.

Q. How does it feel now that the Harry Potter series is nearly at an end? What are you going to do next?
Daniel Radcliffe: Hopefully just keep acting, is the plan, I just want to keep going for as long as I can. I’ve had a fantastic time on Potter, I will be very sad to leave it because every time I look back on one of these films, every scene I watch will be forever linked to a memory of what happened that day or something that was happening around that time in my life.

So, every single scene in these films will, inevitably, be linked to some memory from the formative years of my life. So, it will be incredibly sad to leave it behind. And also to have worked with such an amazing crew of people, more or less consistently, for the last nine years as it is now, has been a real privilege, something I’ll probably never be afforded again most likely. I’ve enjoyed it, I have loved it, I will be very sad to leave it but equally there will be an element of excitement about the idea that a script might come in and I don’t have to go: “I’m sorry, I’m kind of busy for the next four years.” The idea of that is quite exciting.

Q. What lessons will you take with you?
Daniel Radcliffe: I think the thing I’d say very briefly about all the kids who’ve done the Potter films – and I’m happy to include myself in this – is that through doing Potter we’ve worked with a lot of people who’ve been in the British film industry for a long time and who have been working very hard for a long time. I think what these films have given us is we’ve watched these guys and how they’ve approached their lives and how they approached their work and you realise that the way they do it and the way they keep doing it year after year is by approaching it with enthusiasm and passion and a really strong work ethic.

The group of kids on Potter, myself included, we’ve all been very, very lucky to see these people and how they go about their jobs. Hopefully, it’s something that we’ll all be able to take away from having been lucky enough to work with these people, their work ethic.

Read our interview with director David Yates

Read our interview with producer David Heyman