Daniel Radcliffe Doesn't Think He's That Nice, But He Doesn't Do a Very Good Job of Convincing Us Otherwise (JJ Interview)
Daniel Racliffe has undoubtedly one of the most famous faces in the world and one of the best reputations in Hollywood, but he’s still not sure why they are usually considered mutually exclusive.
“It’s almost one of those things where I get tired – no, I don’t get tired of hearing how nice I am – but like, I don’t think I am that nice (laughs),” the 25-year-old actor tells JustJared.com while talking about his latest flick Horns in this brand new interview. “Not that I think I’m a horrible person, but the only reason it gets remarked upon is because of what people expect me to be like.”
The director of Daniel‘s first 2014 title, What If, once praised the actor for having learned all the names of the crew before stepping foot on set, something he didn’t think twice about.
“Here’s the thing, it should be really common and it is common, but anything I do is measured against the expectation that people have of me that I will be a dick,” Daniel tells us. “So when I’m not a dick, it gets mentioned more than it will for other people when they’re being just normal, polite human beings. I think that’s what it is with me.
He adds, “There are a lot of actors who don’t learn people’s names, but I think that’s f-cking – pardon me – I think that’s disgusting. I’ve always found that horrible when people don’t bother to learn names of people you’re going to be working with for a while. I’m not saying I never get into that situation where you don’t know someone’s name and you’ve known them way too long to ask. I still find myself in that situation often, but just make an effort and know the people you’re working with.”
Click inside to read the rest of our interview with Daniel Radcliffe…
Fair enough. Just this month, Daniel received a ton of positive press after calling out a reporter’s sexist question during an interview that went viral. Now, he’s asked about his heroic feminism in every single interview he does.
“I don’t understand quite what that is. I know this is a big moment for feminism and it’s fantastic that we’re having conversations about it and it’s being discussed, but it’s also…I guess that certain people want you to come out as a feminist,” Daniel says. “Of course I am. I’m an egalitarian, I think about anything and everything. But yeah, it is maybe funny that it’s assumed that you’re not until you say that you are? But that’s probably men’s fault (laughs). We have to do better.”
He adds, “I probably have an incredibly basic understanding of it, but surely all of this is just equal rights for everybody regardless of anything. That’s what we’re all into now, yeah? Good, just checking. That’s what I meant when I said that.”
Daniel takes the repetitive inquiries in stride (because hey, he’s a nice guy!), but he’s a little tired of talking about his choice of roles, as if they’re different from any other actor with a resume the length of his.
“The time you talk about genre most is when you’re doing press, absolutely,” he says. “Because actors are not in the luxurious position of reading loads of scripts to be like, ‘What’s the best example of the particular genre I want to do next?’ It’s more that you’re searching for something good that you’re passionate about, and it doesn’t matter what form that takes. I happen to have done a lot of stuff in the fantasy world. From Potter to this, to things like Woman in Black to Frankenstein. But it’s not for any reason other than I love those scripts and I love those characters. There’s nothing inherent about the genre that immediately that puts it above another genre in my eyes.”
Perhaps he’s not giving himself enough credit. Still, his latest role is one he claims he had to fight for.
“I really, really wanted it,” Daniel says. “When I had my meeting with Alex [Aja, the director], I knew he was thinking of someone slightly older. I think he pictured Ig being late 20s rather than early 20s. I just went in and went, ‘I know you’re thinking he should be older, but let me tell you why you’re wrong.’ We got on immediately, me and Alex, so that made it easier to sort of talk him into it.”
The dark comedy, based on the novel by Joe Hill, allows him to perfect his already-impressive American accent, playing a character who mysteriously sprouts horns and gets accused of murder after his girlfriend (Juno Temple) turns up dead.
“I’d say the [accent] I do in Horns is my standard American one without trying to do a specific American region. I really enjoy working in accents,” Daniel says.
In fact, he maintained the dialect throughout filming to iron out “any weird little sounds” that might have slipped in. Still, perhaps like any Brit, he has the most trouble with his R’s. “The hardest thing to say for me in an American accent are the words “girlfriend,” “murderer” and “record,” which is terrible because my girlfriend’s been murdered and I play records for a living.”
Living in New York City half the time surprisingly doesn’t get him much grief from family and friends when he’s back home in his native England. “I’m good at holding on to my accent. The only thing I do is that I’ll have American inflections. Like, it will go up at the end of a sentence, which is very American,” he says. “The phrase ‘I know, right?’ You get home and people are like, ‘You sound really American right now.’”
Speaking of how he sounds, Daniel admits he’s not the best at watching himself on screen, telling us he left halfway through the New York City premiere of the film. “I hadn’t seen it for a while and I wanted to see it again, but then I was like, ‘I don’t need to see this.’”
He adds, “Ben Foster, who played William Burroughs in Kill Your Darlings has never watched anything he’s done. To the point where me and Dane [DeHaan] were like, ‘You’re so good in this movie! If you come in, we’ll literally cover your eyes and ears for every part that you’re in! And then you can just watch the rest of the movie and enjoy it.’ But he was like, ‘Nah, I can’t risk seeing a frame of myself.’ And I completely get it. There are loads of actors like that. It’s nice to see the film once and then that’s probably enough.”
Still, he has fond memories from filming, noting his experience with snakes on set.
“I didn’t know how I felt about snakes, but it turns out I was very comfortable with them,” he tells us. “This one was a six-foot long Burmese python, I believe. She was really sweet. They are very docile, if they’re not hungry…This one was cute. Honestly, there are snake handlers on set. I’m in no danger. They are coming in and taking it off. But for the time that she was on, I was like, ‘This is a cool companion.’”
As for something he wouldn’t be so comfortable with, he admits, “I really hate cockroaches. I really hate them, the way they move. They move at two meters per second! I do think if I ever had a part where I had to have cockroaches poured on me, that might be an issue.”
Then he backtracks (because, again, he’s a nice guy). “But that’s the thing – You’re going to send some other poor f-cker in to do that for you? I can’t do that. I’d have to do it.”
Despite sporting a serious pair of horns for the movie, Daniel says he’s fortunate he didn’t spend hours in the makeup chair each day, comparing his luck to that of Rebecca Romijn in X-Men and Jim Carrey in The Grinch, the latter of whom he guesses spent “something f-cking ridiculous like nine hours” in the trailer getting painted green.
“The horns were nothing, no time. But the burn makeup and the stuff toward the end of the movie, that should have been a lot longer,” he says. “That took two hours and that is no time for that kind of makeup. I’ve had prosthetic experiences in the past that were tricky. I didn’t love them and I’m very much not myself when I’m in prosthetics.”
He adds, “It requires a lot of energy, so you find yourself conserving your energy until you’re on screen. So normally I’m quite chatty and energetic, and as soon as I get prosthetics one, I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll just sit here quietly.’ It could have been really tough. The guys who did it, Mike Fields and Mike McCarthy, I’ve mentioned their names in every interview because they made my life so much easier than it had any right to be.”
(Definitely time to concede to that nice guy persona.)
But being that he’s seemingly so good with the crew, it makes sense that he has an interest in getting behind the camera as well.
“I think the challenging [part] would be the visual side of it. I think I would be OK at it, but not somebody like Alfonso Cuaron or Alexandre who has that in-built visual flair,” Daniel says of directing. “But I think that’s something that you acquire as well. I honestly don’t know. I think I would excel at leading a crew because not enough directors view themselves as a captain of that. Alexandre, who directed Horns, is the master of harnessing all the creative power of his crew because he listens to them and engages with them. As soon as people realize they’re being listened to, they work even harder because if they have a great idea, it will get into the movie.”
He continues, “Also, I love directing actors. I think I would be really good at that because I’ve seen some people do it really well and some people do it really badly. I’ve been on the end of some really bad direction and later been like, ‘Now I know why that wasn’t good and what I would have done differently.’ I would definitely like to do that.”
Until then, Daniel has plenty on his plate right now, with four films in the pipeline, according to IMDB – Trainwreck, Frankenstein, Brooklyn Bridge, and the sequel to Now You See Me. He did, however, just get back from a much-deserved vacation, presumably with his girlfriend Erin Darke, whom he worked with on Kill Your Darlings.
“I had a holiday. I had a vacation about a month ago. It was great,” he says. “I went to a beach in the Caribbean. And it was perfect. It was just two weeks of absolute nothing. We did loads of kayaking and water jet pack-type stuff. I’m not a beach, holiday person. I can’t just lie on a beach for 12 hours a day, at all, but I can definitely be on the beach, then go in the sea, and then do some cool activity. It was just a perfect two weeks.”
He actually got to enjoy his time off without bother. Though, he understands why fans are usually so eager to chat him up, considering he’s the same way when he meets someone he admires.
“I tend to gush and be like, ‘This is my only chance to tell you how f-cking awesome you are. So I’m going to do that,’” he explains. “I met one of my heroes, a guy called Tom Lehrer, who is a songwriter from the 50s-60s era. Very funny. Smart. And I met him and was like, ‘Take a seat. I need to tell you everything that’s brilliant about you.’”
He continues, “It’s funny because I often think, ‘Is there someone I would have waited outside a stage door for?’ There are probably a couple of bands, but not actors. It’s a different position because I grew up being an actor. Musicians are the ones who always seemed like the ungettable, cool people.”
Tell that to the Potterheads.
You can catch Daniel Radcliffe in Horns, in theaters now.
- Reporting by Sharon Tharp