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

What's your perfect NYC weekend?
I'm a very bad person to ask because I don't do much. My one ambition in New York that I haven't been able to fulfill yet is to see a fight at Madison Square Garden. If my girlfriend was here, we'd probably both go lie down on the grass at the piers on the West Side Highway in the West Village, and sort of sunbathe together and chill out there, although I never take any clothes off; I'm not one of those people. Part of the perfect weekend would also include seeing The Book of Mormon. I would quite happily see it again once a week for the rest of my life if I could. It's one of the funniest, cleverest, most heartfelt things I've ever watched.

It doesn't sound like you get much downtime.
Not at the moment. After the next three weeks, I'm kind of in the clear, which is going to be awesome. Just getting the show going was hard work enough. There was a little dip when I didn't have to do quite as much, but then we started doing all the press for the show, and then the award season on Broadway is a very, very busy time. But it's a nice test of stamina. And now I've got the Potter publicity and all of that stuff starting up again, but after that is over, I can just relax and enjoy the summer.

And you can go hang out on the piers.
And my girlfriend gets here, so that will be awesome.

Mind if I give you some date advice? Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, if you can swing that, is really fun. And there are less people at night, which is probably good for you.
That'll be me going at night, then, yes. We want to do that, and we want to do the High Line as well, but that is another one that gets very busy with people.

You've been done with filming on Potter for about a year; is it weird revisiting that world now that you're doing press for the final movie?
I thought it was going to be weird, but actually I'm so delighted with the film. I did not think I would be as proud and as happy as I am, which is lovely. So actually it's a real pleasure to be able to come back to it. I think [Deathly Hallows: Part 2] is just light years ahead of any of the others, in terms of filmmaking, in terms of acting. I find it really amazing that it was made more or less at the same time as part one because I think we're different actors in it, and I don't know how that happened.

The subject matter in this film is a lot heavier than in previous ones.
I said to someone the other day, 'It's like the emotional range of Shakespeare with the action and blood of Tarantino.' The body count in this film is massive.

Did you get to keep any souvenirs?
I've got two pairs of glasses, one without lenses and one with. [One is] a pair from the first film, which is kind of cool because my head was tiny then. I didn't want anything else.

The character of Harry is pretty different from the character of J. Pierrepont Finch; one is good and brave, and the other is unscrupulous and amoral. Has one been more fun to play?
Finch has certainly got balls, which Harry does. There's a certain amount of fearlessness in Finch because he has nothing to lose; that inspires a certain level of bravery in him. I can't really compare them because they're in different mediums, but if I had to choose, I'd probably say [Finch]. He doesn't have necessarily the big emotional arc that Harry had, but in terms of fun and getting laughs and doing comedy, Finch is probably more fun.

What will you miss most about playing Harry Potter?
It's very rare in your career that you get to play an action hero. I'm not the natural frame and stature of an action hero, so I may not get to play one again. Things like bursting out of the water in film six, surrounded by a ring of fire....I won't get to do that again. I miss that stuff. I miss the crew, but I will be seeing them quite a lot and hopefully working with them again. I will miss playing Harry, but I've played him for ten years. That's more time than any actor gets with a character normally.

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