Interview: Daniel Radcliffe

As the Harry Potter saga comes to an end on Friday 15, the young actor leaves wizardry behind for Brooklyn Bridge date nights and a summer of show tunes.

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

  • Photograph: Matt Hoyle

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe

Photograph: Matt Hoyle

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

How to Succeed has been playing for a few months now. Are there any songs in which you feel like you can relax performing?
"Brotherhood [of Man]," at the end... Well, sometimes I can relax, and sometimes I can't. "Rosemary" in act one, which used to be one of the hardest songs for me, has gotten a lot easier. Generally speaking, most of the numbers I'm relaxing into a bit more. Ease is a quality that I aspire to because when I watch myself or see clips of myself doing the show, I always think it looks very effortful, so I think of that as kind of a long-term project.

Is getting to that point just a matter of repetition?
Yeah. The thing that I never worry about now is the dancing. [Before the show opened,] I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking, I'm never going to be able to dance like they want me to. But you know, now, I don't even think about it. And in fact, if I think about it, I screw it up.

So it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It really is! If you think about one moment, going, God, actually, how did we get from there to there?, then you will screw it up. So I just have to actively now think, Nope, don't even think about it; just do it. I thought to myself the other day, I will probably never in my career get a number so well choreographed and, frankly, in which I get to show off as much as I do, as "Brotherhood" at the end. So I have to enjoy that every single time because come January 1, I'll never get to do it again. I love it, and I take a huge amount of pride in doing it every single night.

That number and especially "Grand Old Ivy," with John Larroquette, look like a real workout.
Well, to be fair, John is not doing handsprings. [Laughs] At the end of that song, we take, like, 30 seconds to catch our breath, which [when we first opened] was kind of [necessary]. Now, our bodies have adjusted so much that unless it's a particularly hot day, I won't even sweat during that number. I reached a point very early when I realized that the show was no longer giving me a workout. I've now gotten to the point where I'm going to have to start doing exercise outside of the show, which is very upsetting because I hate exercise.

Just walk. That's what New Yorkers do; we walk everywhere.
Yeah. [Laughs] It is a workout, in reality, and it does keep you fit. I've never been fitter than this in my life.

Did the cast treat you differently as a celebrity coming to perform on Broadway?
I don't think so. We did the reading at the end of 2009, and so they knew me, and they knew I wasn't an asshole. Having expectations be so low is kind of fantastic because it means you're always going to exceed them—although I think now I've got a reputation for being okay and decent as a person, so I don't think everyone thinks I'm going to be a dick. In terms of our company, nobody treated me any differently. I think people wanted to find out what I was like, and if I was gonna work as hard I was going to need to. But I think I rose to all that. As the leading actor in a company, be it onscreen or whatever it is, [you] have to lead by example. John's and [my] ambition for this year is for neither of us to miss a show. We'll be very pleased if we can achieve that. If you're working as hard as you possibly can, then everyone else works that hard, too.

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Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2