Daniel Radcliffe on The Surprising Inspiration Behind His Eclectic Resume Post-'Harry Potter' (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Maarten de Boer/Getty Images
Daniel Radcliffe is full of surprises.
After 10 years of playing Harry Potter, it's understandable that the actor would want to add variety to his resume. Just six months after the release of the last Potter film, 2011's The Deathly Hallows Part 2, Radcliffe starred in a horror film, The Woman in Black, followed by the biographical Kill Your Darlings, and a rom com, What If. In the years since, he's done sci-fi, action and comedy -- but it has little to do with trying to differentiate himself from the boy who lived.
"Directly after Potter, it was a real concern of mine [to show my versatility as an actor], but now, I think it's just a part of how I pick roles," Radcliffe told ET ahead of the release of his latest film, Beast of Burden, in which he plays a drug mule caught between a cartel, a hitman and the DEA. "I don't want to repeat myself, because that's not fun for me, but not because it's a part of any huge grand plan to continue to distance myself from Potter."
"If it has that affect, that's not necessarily a bad thing," he noted on second thought. "But I think that's what all actors want, to show as much versatility as they can, and do as many different kinds of things as they can."
In fact, the 28-year-old actor's career choices seem to be inspired by a mix of challenge and a desire to follow in the footsteps of other actors he admires.
"I think it's because all the actors I admire do," he hypothesized, when asked what he finds so gratifying about his eclectic resume. "Steve Buscemi is actually an amazing example of somebody who, if you look at his film roles, he's been in everything from Fargo to almost every movie Adam Sandler has ever made, and big action movies like Armageddon and Con Air. He's just got an incredibly eclectic, varied resume, and I think that's a sign of a really exciting career."
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With Beast of Burden, Radcliffe said it was "gut reaction" to the script that made him jump on board -- as well as being intrigued by the director, Jesper Ganslandt. "The way he was talking about making the film and his process and how he was working, it was just something that I was very into," he explained, describing spending most of the film shooting from a cockpit with so much enthusiasm you'd think he was actually flying a plane.
"Because we basically had one character in one location in one costume for 50 percent at least of the film, it made it possible for us to just take massive jumps in the script, and really read them almost like a play. We were doing like, half an hour long takes that accounted for 20, 25 pages of script," he recalled. "I've never done that before, and I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to do it again... It was a really cool, really different way of working."
Fans will next see Radcliffe working alongside his idol, Buscemi (and as a low-level angel to Buscemi's God), in TBS' Miracle Workers, marking Radcliffe's return to TV since 2012's A Young Doctor's Notebook & Other Stories.
"Comedy is mostly what I watch, and most of what I love is comedy, so I definitely wanted to get more into it for a long time. But it was just about finding the right thing," he explained. "I didn't want to get stuck playing one character for a long time again... [but] Simon Rich is one of my favorite writers... and I have rarely been as excited for people to see something I've done than for people to see Miracle Workers."
Radcliffe has admittedly gotten more comfortable with the thought of playing the same character again for an extended period of time -- and his Harry Potter co-star, Emma Watson's, recent role as Belle in Beauty and Beast seems to have warmed him up to the idea of starring in another franchise. "I don't know if I would get into another massive one, like, seven or eight films," he laughed. "But I don't think I'd have any reservations about jumping into something like that if it was the right thing... if I liked the script, then absolutely."
And at the end of the day, it seems a good script is all it takes to win Radcliffe over. "I'm alright," he said, reflecting on what he's learned about himself over the past decade. "I feel like you try really hard in your teenage years and your early 20s to like, be something, because you're sort of looking for what you really are."
"I think I've kind of found who I really am, and I'm really happy with it. I don't feel the need to be something that I'm not particularly anymore," he added. "So hopefully I'll be able to take that, and continue to improve that as I get older."