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Leaky Exclusive: Dan Radcliffe Talks "How To Succeed" Musical, Prepping for Broadway, Life After Potter, and More

Radcliffe Interviews
Posted by: Edward
March 21, 2011, 12:33 AM

Recently, Leaky was lucky enough to sit down with actor Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as he prepared to make his musical debut on Broadway in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."  Please continue reading below for the full transcript of our interview.  For more information on the musical, including links to by tickets and to hear clips from the show, click here.  Enjoy!


~~~*~~*~~~

TLC: You're back in New York and you're back to Broadway again, but I was curious as to how this stage experience has differed-- so far-- from that of "Equus?"

Dan Radcliffe (DR): Rehearsing for a musical-- and particularly a musical like this-- everything is just on a much bigger scale.  When we were in the rehearsal room for "Equus" we had four black blocks... was all we had in terms of sets.  Here, we've got the entire moving set pieces just in the rehearsal rooms.  They're manually moved, they're not on the tracks as they will be, obviously, in the theater, but we've got these huge wooden constructions in rehearsal.  And also, "Equus" for a straight play-- because we had all the horses in it as well-- was quite a big cast.  It was, I guess, about 12 or so people.  This is 29 people in the cast so it just feels massive, to me.  I'm loving it, just as I had a fantastic time on "Equus."  This is my first musical and I'm very, very fortunate because it's great fun.  I think it's the story, the songs, the jokes... it's all so much fun and we're all having a really, really good time.  I was talking to somebody the other day and we were both just very, very... I would never, particularly at this stage, say that something's going to be great or going to be this, but I do think this is such a good piece.  It's just so funny and warm and feel-good, while at the same time, not being patronizing.  It's satirical and smart at the same time.  But, I think it could be something really special and I think people are really going to enjoy it.

TLC: With everything being on such a bigger scale, has it been more challenging or more fun to incorporate singing and complex choreography into the performance?  

DR: Yeah, that's been-- the singing and dancing part has been, without a doubt, some of the hardest stuff in the show.  Particularly for me, who... I wouldn't call either of those my number one skill, although they have improved dramatically over the past year because I've been working on them so much.  Rob's choreography, as well as being very, very complicated, Rob also has a bit of a history of being able to get non-dancers to dance really, really well.  And I think the main reason for that is almost everything he choreographs he never really choreographs the steps without it having an acting beat behind it.  Which means you're never once thinking 'Oh, I'm just doing a movement because I'm doing a movement,' everything is [related to] the story all the time.  Which is why I think it can be slightly easier to translate for actors.

TLC: Has your interpretation or perspective on the role or the musical evolved very much from that first investor's performance you did back in late 09?

DR: In the intervening period I have been going more and more... it's become more real, the fact that I'm actually going to be doing a musical.  So, the musical community is no longer something that I look at from a distance, I am actually going to be a part of it.  So that's going to be new and very, very exciting for me.  I don't know if my perspective on the history or the world of it has changed at that time, I'm not sure... maybe...  I've always grown up with musicals being played, my parents are huge fans of musicals and so I grew up knowing all the scores and knowing as much of the history as my mum and dad could pass on, which was quite a lot.  I've always been very aware of musical theater and, particularly, of Broadway, being the spiritual home of musical theater.  Which is why it's so nerve-racking to be doing it over here.  I'm thrilled to now be able to call myself a part of the Broadway community again, and particularly for a musical... I do find that very thrilling because there is such a rich musical heritage in this city that it's a pleasure and an honor to be part of that lineage.  

TLC: Do you like being in New York City?  Do you feel more anonymous... have a more normal life there?

DR: I think so, but I don't know why it is.  I don't know if they're maybe a bit cooler or maybe more used to seeing celebrities, I'm not sure.  But people are much less fussed over here if they see me walking around where I live.  At the most, you'll get a nod of acknowledgement from people... and maybe a smile.  But, generally speaking, people don't like to rush up or anything like that.  You still occasionally get the experience of someone with a camera phone, if you're in a restaurant, someone will take out a camera phone and do that kind of thing, but that's everywhere.  Recently, just in the past couple of weeks, I've done a couple of photo shoots on the street around where I live and if I'd done that in London at a busy time of day, people would have been quite... I imagine a small crowd could have been drawn to any photo shoot in the middle of London regardless of who's being photographed.  But that fact that we're doing it here and we were down a side street and people would walk by, see me, and just smile or point me out to their kid and walk on.  But, generally speaking people over hear are just very cool about it... it's quite a chill vibe from over here, definitely.  

TLC: This is the first major transition from Harry Potter series you'd had because you don't have that film set to go back to when this is over... has that been a good transition for you?

DR: Yeah, absolutely.  I finished "Potter" last year and then did the all the press for [Part One] at the end of the year.  Around that time, as well, I had all ready started filming "Woman in Black," which went really, really well and, in a way, that was my first step outside of "Potter" since finishing.  That was a great experience, and this is something, again, completely, totally different.  This is the time where I've got both the energy and the inclination to keep challenging myself at this point in my life and keep doing completely different stuff.  This is the time I should be doing it.  Being in a musical was something that I always wanted to do but I certainly didn't think it would be this soon in my career that I would find myself doing it.  In this year, hopefully, if the show goes well and we have a good long run then I'd be doing this for the rest of the year, and "Potter" will come out in the middle of that.  It would be, potentially, a very exciting year for me with everything coming together.

TLC: Do you think Shakespeare could be one of those challenges one day?

DR: One day, yes, I'd love to.  I'd be a pretty foolish actor if I sit here and say 'no' to that.  It is also quite intimidating, the idea of doing Shakespeare.  I would love to, and hopefully I will one day, but I would certainly have to wait and make sure I was with a really good director because I'd need a lot of direction. (Laughs.)  

TLC: Thank you so much, Dan!

DR:  Thank you very much, take care!

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