TORONTO — Not long ago, Daniel Radcliffe traded in his black-rimmed Harry Potter glasses for a bold acting choice. And he has never looked back.
Now the 24-year-old actor’s at the Toronto International Film Festival with three new films, each unique in its own way, and far more mature than the saga of the boy wizard.
While they cover some adult themes like murder and homosexuality, the actor claims his current role selections are not part of some strategy to abandon his past, rather they’re about doing what actors do best: “Take chances.”
“You have to make films based on your own instincts … I have to make the kind of films that I would want to see,” Radcliffe told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The actor spoke candidly concerning his criteria for selecting movie roles during an interview for his new film, “Horns.” It’s based on the 2010 novel of the same name, and has Radcliffe in the title role of a man suspected of brutally killing his girlfriend and one morning awakening with a pair of horns on his head.
“It’s not so much a process or a strategy. It’s about what scripts you get sent. So when I read “Horns,” I was immediately passionate about it, and I wanted to play this part and knew I could have an interesting take on it,” Radcliffe said.
Radcliffe also stars as poet Allen Ginsberg in “Kill Your Darlings.” In that film, he has a graphic sex scene with another man. But the actor isn’t at all worried about any negative reactions, including from Potter fans.
“What my fan base wants me to do is not the most effective way of forging a career, or certainly not the most honest way of doing it. You got to remember that I did ‘Equus’ and that was a pretty big deal.”
That bold decision came when he was still making “Harry Potter” films. Then 17, Radcliffe portrayed the troubled young man, Alan Strang, in the London and Broadway revivals of Peter Shaffer’s award-winning play. The role caused some controversy because the underage actor had to appear naked for part of the second act. His “Horns” co-star, Juno Temple, feels that role helped transform Radcliffe from a child star to an adult actor.
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She stars as the girlfriend in “Horns” as seen through flashbacks. Temple is the daughter of British film director, Julien Temple.
Radcliffe also stars in the romantic comedy, “The F Word.” So while there’s a daring departure from child stardom for him, he doesn’t feel that he’s alienating the Potter audience. In fact, he feels just the opposite.
“What you got to remember about the Potter audience is that they grew up with me, and a lot of them are now my age or older. They want to see dark, challenging material as much as anyone else does,” Radcliffe said.
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