Daniel Radcliffe Interview
Half-Blood Prince Set
Melissa Anelli / transcribed by Delana Gray
Listen to the whole interview here!
Q: Someone said this movie was more comic and it's sort of sex, drugs and rock and roll for the Harry Potter world. Is that true?
Dan Radcliffe (DR): Yeah. I mean, as far as we get towards those three, I think. Yes. (Everyone laughs) Yeah, I think this one's certainly has got a greater sense of comedy than any of the other ones have. I suppose you can say it's more adult humor. But, you know, it's not all alike run through the park. It's quite- It is- Pardon me- In this film when it's light it's much more comedic than it has been before. But, when it's dark it's as dark, if not darker, than we were in say Five or Three.
Q: And you have more romance in this film?
DR: Yes. Yeah, I got the...everything with Ginny. Which is...it's been fun. It's good, fun scenes and hopefully that'll come across on the screen. I mean, yeah, we really had quite a good time. It's slightly odd though with Bonnie because when Katie came in to play Cho on the Fourth film it was very much the case that it was- When she came in we always knew she was going to be as a love interest.
DR: Where, of course, when I first met Bonnie she was just another character. She was I think ten, nine, ten years old when I first met her. And so it's very strange. I've sort of grown up with Bonnie and now suddenly having to play love interest scenes is kind of odd.
Q: Sort of like kissing your sister kind of thing?
DR: Not kissing my sister! Because I just wouldn't do. (Everyone laughs) Even if I did have a sister. (laughs) But it's just a little bit weird when you've watched someone grow up. It is kind of strange. Yeah.
TLC: Which is similar to Harry's situation.
DR: Yeah, I suppose so. And, also, I think the main problem he has with everything is that the fact that he can't ever hope to be with her because- Well, he thinks he can't, because obviously her being Ron's sister. Above all else he would never jeopardize what he has with Ron, even for the sack of Ginny. I don't think.
TLC: Has that dynamic been fun to play between you and Rupert?
DR: It has actually. There's one great scene we shot very, very early on which was a scene where we're both lying in bed. Separate beds. (Everyone laughs) Only Eric and Ernie can do that. But they- Ron's sort of talking about how much he hates the fact that Dean Thomas is going out with Ginny. And he's really being...he's incredibly angry at Dean and he's just saying, "You got to hate these people when they go out with your sister. It's on principle." And Harry's sort of lying in the other bed, just thinking, "Oh, God. What am I going to do?" (Everyone laughs) And it's actually...I think that's a really, really fun scene. So, I hope it'll be more like that later on, as well.
TLC: Where's the realization moment where Harry realizes that he's now attracted to Ginny?
DR: I think it's in the first moment when he sees her...that he sees her again in this film. And when he arrives back at the Burrow and he hugs Ginny and in the script there's a stage direction says, "There is something oddly charged about the moment." And so I think that's probably the first moment, certainly in the script, where that's implied. And I think that's absolutely right.
Q: Can you talk about Harry's sort of journey in this film, as opposed to the last one which was very dark? What happens with Harry?
DR: I think in this film Harry becomes a lot more- Whereas in the past he talked a lot about what he's going to do to defeat Voldemort and fight him. I don't think he's ever really done anything towards it, whereas in this film you actually see him- Obviously, you know, all under Dumbledore's instruction, but he starts to formulate plans. He starts to- Basically he becomes Dumbledore's foot soldier. Very, very willingly in this film. And goes and tries to get information for Dumbledore out of Slughorn, and things like that. I just think he becomes a lot more dynamic in his kind of quest to kill Voldemort.
Q: And how is that a new challenge for you playing?
DR: I don't know really. You just sort of do it. You approach it as you would approach any other scene. I mean, you approach it with the same char- Whether or not the character's doing something different than he has ever done before it's still the same character so you still approach it with the same set of basic, fundamental needs that your character has. And then you just look at the situation and apply what you know about the character to the situation to see what he would want and how he would do it.
Q: I remember in a previous film where Harry was really angry. You were having to tap into that sort of rage and frustration and anger. And in this film it seems like he's on a mission now and has a confidence about what he needs to do.
DR: Yeah. I mean, I think the thing about it- I've talked about it lots, and lots, and lots, but the thing that always helped me to get into a scene or into a moment is music. And whether that's for slightly- Angry or melancholy scenes for some reason are very, very, you know, are helped by music more than very happy or joy scene is for me. But, yeah. I haven't actually had to got to the music a huge amount so far. There's only been one time I have in this film so far, which is very, very near the end and it's one of the saddest scenes of the movie.
Q: What do you listen to?
DR: At the moment? Generally? Or just for that scene?
Q: Well, we'll say for the...
DR: For that scene?) I'm assuming when Dumbledore dies.
DR: Oh, it's not actually that moment.
It's a moment- I won't say which one it is. But it's a moment near the end of the film. And it's not actually a...it's not a...it's kind of more nostalgic than anything else and is actually sad. I think I listened to a piece of music by...exactly a piece of music from the Atonement Soundtrack. And it was by...I think the composer's name is Dario Marianelli. I think is his name. And it was the Elegy For Dunkirk piece of music, because there's a hymn that comes up halfway through which is really kind of sort of rousing. And there is something kind of beautiful about he whole piece of music as a whole. So I was listening to that before. So that was a really nice...that was a really helpful thing to listen to.
Q: With this one there's a lot more comic going on, obviously than the darker stuff. Which do you find to be more fun to film and which scenes are your favorite?
DR: Well, I much more...I enjoy doing the dark stuff a lot more than I do doing the comedy stuff. And I have quite a laugh doing the comedy scenes I suppose, but I think...I feel...I don't know. It's hard to define, but I just...I'm a lot more comfortable doing the darker scenes. I sort of know where I am more than, whereas, I think I get very nervous when I'm doing comedic, sort of comedy stuff because I get nervous I'll be going over the top or- I haven't done a lot of it. I'm still kind of finding out how to do it and I still got a lot to learn about how that kind of stuff works. Well, I got a lot to learn generally but particularly about the funnier side of the film certainly.
Q: Which one did you find was the best to shoot so far?
DR: Of all the films? I had an amazing time on the Fifth. I thought the Fifth was probably one of my...was certainly my favorite of the films to watch. And probably it has been my favorite to shoot. Along with the Sixth, actually, because you know it ultimately comes down to working with David Yates. That's what makes or breaks the shooting process, I think, for any actor is who you're working with. And because I've been working with David, he's an amazing director and a good friend, it's been, you know, delightful. So, it's been all around great- These last two in particular were my favorites to shoot.
Q: The revelation that Dumbledore is gay came out before you began shooting this film.Has that informed the performance at all, on set or off set?
DR: We've been- Off set, yes. (Everyone laughs) We've been shooting for a few weeks when that came out actually. And, we've been shooting entirely, almost, withMichael and myself. And so when that came out he loved it. He thought it was hilarious.
And, you know, I know it didn't go down well everywhere by any stretch of the imagination, which I kind of find even funnier. (laughs) But it was- I think Michael started camping it up around set. He didn't...I don't think it came out on screen at all, but he certainly was camping it up around set when he was talking to me.
Q: How so?
DR: Just generally. I mean, he was just making lots of jokes. None of which I can really say or repeat. (Everyone laughs) I'm not even going to try and do them in a subtle way because it won't be funny. (laughs)
Q: But as far as informing the performance or the relationship or anything?
DR: Nothing. I can assure all the fans of straight Dumbledore that they will not see gay Dumbledore in this film. Funny enough, there is one line which was always written in the script, which we all found very funny afterwards. Because there was one line, in this script, where Dumbledore turns around and says, "Slughorn." And asks if he can borrow a magazine because he says, "Because I do love knitting patterns." and it's one of those things where you think, "Did Kloves know something? Did she actually tell him to put that in?" Or maybe she put it in the book. I don't know. I haven't seen that in the book. But it may be there.
TLC: Yeah, it is.
DR: Oh, it is, indeed! Yes, it's his own. Absolutely.
TLC: It's slyly in there. He comes out of the bathroom reading a knitting pattern. Reading a magazine.
DR: Right, Yes, well, maybe that was her hint to us. I'm not sure.
Q: Now, Daniel, we hear you're quite the action star.
(DR: Do you?) Yes.
DR: Wow, okay. (laughs) Good.
Q: There's a rumor where you were in the scene where you're running, where there's fire, you were actually...it's you running through the fire.
DR: Yes. Yeah. But, I mean, it's not- Don't make me out to be some guy. Look, there's a photo of it. You can see the gap in the fire where I run through. (Everyone laughs) I mean it's not- I do as much as my own stunts as I could possibly can. There was a thing on TV a while ago where someone was saying- I didn't actually see this, but someone told me about it. Someone probably went to Daniel Craig and said, "Apparently, it's you and Daniel Radcliffe both do all your own stunts." Now, I'm sorry. I do as many of my own stunts as I can possibly do. I'm sure I've been introduced to someone and, probably one of the stunt boys, and they said, "This is Daniel Craig's stunt double." So, you can't do all of them. It's like everyone always makes a big deal about how they do their own stunts. And the truth is, we do as much as we can, but there are some stunts where we'd never be allowed to because of insurance and all that. But, if you want to tell people I'm an action star, you are more than welcome to. You have my total blessing. (laughs)
Q: And Rupert gets his first Quidditch in this film. And you got some fun sort of telling him, "Now you know what it's really like to do these Quidditch things."
DR: Well, yeah, but the thing is he's kind of a natural. He's brilliant. I mean, to be fair. He never had to deal- We got new seats. We've had new seats for the past couple of years which are much more comfortable. Which is great. But we had before...he never had to deal with the old school seats, which is just like, horrible. But, he's brilliant at it. I mean, I've not actually seen it, but I've been talking to the loads of the guys who've been working on it and they say that he's really taken to the movements and is totally comfortable out there. So, that's great. You know. So, I'm pleased. Unlike- Which is kind of ironic because Ron's supposed to be terrible at Quidditch. But no, he's going very, very well.
Q: Can you talk about working some of the new cast members you have starring in this film?
DR: It's amazing. It's just- I mean, you know, we always love people like Jim Broadbent coming in, who's fantastic to work with. You know, it's been a real pleasure working with him because he's so...he's such a good actor. And you just learn something around these people. But, the thing that's been really amazing to me is this year the quality of the people who have come in to play smaller parts. Like, people like Georgina who's playing Katie Bell, in this one, and Freddie who's playing Cormac McClaggan. They're brilliant. It's often very hard to cast those parts because you want people who are going to be very good but equally- If they're very, very good they might not want to do those kind of, you know. But they're, they're totally- I think Freddie is about twenty-one, Georgina's seventeen and the whole lot of cast members over age have come in on this film. And they've all been excellent. They've all been totally focused, really professional and just a pleasure to work with. So, it's been, this time, it's been a real...it's been great, to be honest. And we're doing a big Great Hall scene at the moment, and they can be a nightmare. There always used to be a total of 400 extras, and thirty cast. Only about four people in all of them paying any attention to what we're supposed to be doing. And I'm not counting myself in that. And so it used to be a night- But this year it's just...everyone's really focused. And it's kind of incredible. Yeah.
Q: And have you have any scenes with Jessie Cave?
DR: Jessie. She's another person along those lines. I don't know how old Jessie is, but she's remarkable. She's just brilliant. I mean, she's- Those lines that she has said as Lavender Brown could- If you did anything less than absolutely commit yourself to them 100% they would be awful. And just because they would sound false. Whereas the way Jessie's doing it, she's absolutely throwing herself at these lines and she's brilliant. So, I think people will love what's she's doing with lavender in this film.
Q: And how have you seen Evanna sort of mature as an actress since the last film?
DR: It's funny. I happen, to be honest, Evanna's only been back on for the last maybe two days or so. But she's been back on a while. But in terms of scenes I've been working with her quite closely like I think we only have our first bit of dialogue, with each other in this film, today. So, I haven't really had time to assess how she might have changed to be honest, I feel. (Q: She was brilliant in the last film.) She was perfect. For me that's what I pictured Luna as. I think she was perfect for it.
Interviewer3 (I3): Was there a day on the set that you were looking forward to or are looking forward to filming?
DR: I've been told at some point I get to do this thing called a cumbrian slide, I think it's called. I may have got that wrong. Which is where during an action sequence you have to...you go down this slide. But, what it is is a piece of material with lots of people underneath it who are sort of pushing their hands up and pushing you around and pushing you down and stuff like that. And I'm quite looking forward doing that because it sounds like really good fun. And so that should be interesting, but other than that I can't really think of anything. To be honest, my favorite scenes this time around have all been working with Michael as Dumbledore. We've had such a good time and we've had a real laugh, and I think we've done some good stuff as well. So, in terms of the end of the film- I was talking to Dave the other day because he's seen bits of it cut together very, very roughly, and he just said, "It looks very, very strong at the end of the film in the cave sequence." So, that should be great, hopefully.
Q: You guys were also filming on location. Do you guys prefer...do you prefer filming on location or do you prefer here in Leavesden?
DR: We film on location very rarely, to be honest. ... I kind of love it here in a funny way, I mean it's a pretty grim looking place as you've seen, but I do. I really, really like it here. And I've been here for seven years. I know my way around the place relatively well and I just feel very comfortable here. So, I suppose it comes down to that and the fact that I just enjoy working because I know it so well.
Q: You've grown up with it, essentially.
DR: Yeah, exactly. I just feel very at ease here. It would be nice to, occasionally, to go on location, but it would...you know. The thing is going on location on this film, these films, mainly means going on location to place where there's kind of quite rocky dynamic kind of mountainous scenery, which generally means Scotland. Now I love some areas of Scotland. I love Glasgow. I've been to- I think it's just the coolest city. But, after spending three weeks in the pouring rain- I mean, I don't know what else. I know it's Scotland and I know it rains there. So, what was I expecting? But, I don't want to do that again for a long- But think when we went up to Scotland in the Third Film we were meant to be there for about two weeks and we ended up there for a month. And, like Tom Felton, who obviously plays Malfoy, he was meant to be used on the third day and he didn't get on set until about third week. Because we were held up by the rain and the- In fact, one moment when the one, like second or third morning and after two mornings of torrential rain we thought, "Okay, we're going to be wet all day. We'll wear thermals up there." So, we put all our thermals on, get up to the top of the mountain...glorious sunshine. And we're just sweating. Which meant that two weeks later, at the end of the trip we then had to re-shoot the end of that scene because it didn't match because the weather was totally different. So, that's why I like it here. And also when you lose control I think you know, it is Harry Potter but there are big budgets. Wicked bills bouncing on green screens and things. You know, let's do it that way in the future.
Q: What can you tell us about the Seventh Film? (DR laughs)
DR: They didn't tell me anything.) Is it- Have they told you anything? (Everyone laughs) Are there two films. Do you know who the director is?
DR: I have no idea. I mean, I know all this is being discussed. But, I can kind of assure you it's been discussed almost as much by everyone who's working here as it is by you guys because we don't actually know that much at the moment.
Q: What would you like to see happen?
DR: I think it would be...I think it would be hard, very hard, to do it in one. I think it's possible, but it would mean very, very heavy cuts in the book. And for me the books- Not like the Fourth, but there's no obvious...in the Seventh Film there's no obvious subplots that you can take out to save time. I mean, in the Fourth Film you could kind of get away with taking out- I know not everyone was presumed to be happy with it this, but you can get away with taking out the House Elf theme. There's things you can edit. In the Seventh Book I really don't see that much that they can, so I don't know how they can do it in one, if they do. But, I think it would certainly- Then again with doing it in two films, is where do you find the cut point in the middle of it? (Q: Right.) Because it's such...the story charges on so much that it's hard to find that place. But if anyone's going to do it- I mean, I don't know if Steve Kloves is writing it. I think he is, but if anyone's going to be able to do it than it's him. After the writer's strike is over.
Q: Is there a director from the previous films that you would like to see come back or somebody...?
DR: Ideally, David Yates...to be honest. He's the person I would like most to be directed by in this. And hopefully that will happen. To be honest I don't, to my knowledge, that's not even being discussed yet. I don't think David really wants to enter into discussion. I don't know because he's got this one to do first and there's a lot of work to do on this one. (laughs)
Q: Can you talk about reading the book and if so when you read the book did you flip immediately to the end?
DR: No. Absolutely not. No. (Q: Really?) No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don't do that. My grandmother does that. I think it's disgusting. (Everyone laughs)
TLC: Rupert did it.
Q: Rupert said he did it.
DR: Rupert did it. Well. I saw Rupert do a brilliant thing the other day. I got to share this with you actually. He did the single laziest thing I've ever seen a human being do. He sat on the sofa- And I'm just saying it because I was so impressed by it. And I have to tell you, he sat on the sofa in his room and I was just hanging around in his dressing room as I'm wont to do and (laughs) he got a portkey(?) that was sort of sat behind him and he opened the DVD player like that. Got a DVD out the case, put it on the portkey, upended the portkey and the DVD slid into the DVD player and closed it and it went through the menu like that. Which I thought was great. And anyway, no, so I didn't flip to the back of the book. (Everyone laughs) I didn't just because I wanted to read it as a whole. And I wanted to be moved by it. I don't think you can give yourself a chance to be if you go straight to the back. Not that I particularly would have learned that much because that's the brilliant thing about the epilogue, which I think is why she puts it in there, was because if you could go to the back of that and you'll think you know the ending, but you don't. That's the thing. You see there are certain characters still alive and then when you actually read it, it will still confuse you, I think, at least. I was kind of very moved by it. And I was, you know- Yeah. I thought it was a wonderful book and brilliantly written. I mean, how she sat down and ever started writing these books with that ending in mind is just phenomenal. The grasp of story of those Seven Books is amazing.
TLC: Can you talk about the moment where she told you, where J.K. Rowling said, that you had a death scene?
DR: Yeah. God, I'm going to make myself sound like I have a very glamourous life, now. We were in The Ivy. And she had just come to see Equus and she took me out for dinner afterwards. It was her, and her husband, me and my parents. And so we all sat down and after- (laughs) At one point a very, very drunk former labor politician came over to me and started chatting with me, and then went away again. (Everyone laughs) That's why I remember that. (laughs) And then we- He seemed nice. (laughs) And then we just got talking and eventually, it was one of those quite fortuitous moments when the conversation teams where my mom and my dad and Neil, and then it was me and Jo. And so it was like, "Ah, okay, nows my chance." (laughs) So, I just said, "Please tell me do I die?" I said it more delicately than that, I think. But, "Does Harry die?" And she just said to me- She paused for a very long time and just said, "You will have a death scene." And I just thought, "Ah, you're being tricky. Okay, I'll try and figure that out." But, I mean, and of course it all made sense and I sort of guessed what that might mean. And I guessed pretty accurately. I could never quite have expected obviously what happens in the book.
TLC: Was it satisfying to you?
DR: Yes. Definitely. Totally.
Q: You're going to be in New York, on stage. (DR: Yes.) How do you feel about that?
DR: I'm excited. Very excited. You know, I think I start rehearsing in August time and we open in September. So, it's going to be...hopefully, it'll be good. We have a lot of work to do. I'm kind of looking forward to getting back on the horse. (Everyone laughs) I'm actually- I think it will be good. I get to revisit it. I think Richard will be- You know, because Richard, when we did the play first time around there were lots of aches and pains in the machinery, I think, for Richard. And I think this time around I think he's lost even more weight and he's going to be firing on all cylinders even further than he was when we did it first time around. So, I think it's going to be very, very exciting to do it again with him.
Q: Do you have any apprehension about American audiences versus the English audiences?
DR: I think they're more generous, but they're also much cannier in some ways, because I think there are people in American audiences that when they go to see a show they will- I know they do things which kind of- Like, people sometimes get entrance rounds of applause when they go on. All stuff which I really- I kind of think it might happen but I don't want it particularly because my Englishness is sort of making me, "Uh. I've not done anything yet. I might be rubbish. Don't clap yet." But I think they're generous in that way, but also I think they're much cannier because some of the people that would come to see Equus would maybe see fifty shows a year. And something terrifying like that. So, that's more than most people. Most people in London who call themselves theater goers I don't think would see fifty shows a year. So, I think it's going to be quite tough. Audiences.
Q: What is it that you like about the theater?
DR: I think it's the immediacy of it. And it's also the huge amount of adrenaline rush. The absolute fear that pulses through your veins before you go on stage is incredible. But, once you're on there- And the best thing is when you get a sense of the audience is really listening and really with you. There's no feeling like it really because you just- Particularly with a play like Equus, it's a really tough play, and they are absolutely following it and going with it because of what we're doing here. That's a really great feeling.