Daniel Radcliffe's best post-Harry Potter movies on his 30th birthday
Daniel Radcliffe may be best known for playing Harry Potter, but his filmography is full of dark and interesting movies. On his birthday today, take a look at his 10 other movie choices. The list ranges from Horns to The Woman in Black, plus much more.
Daniel Radcliffe turned 30 on Tuesday. Almost 10 years after shooting the final two Harry Potter films, Radcliffe hasn’t merely moved on from one of the iconic roles of the last half century, he’s taken his talent in unexpectedly bold new directions. Sure, his Harry Potter movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world; but the actor has been in a lot of other films. While Radcliffe undoubtedly got sent umpteen character roles that would have cast him as a well-meaning, nice, courageous, slightly geeky young man – he turned them all down in favour of a post-Potter career that’s practically impossible to pigeonhole.
Seemingly taking any and every opportunity he can to distance himself from the role that made him famous, the films he’s chosen since wrapping The Deathly Hallows have all been admirably different. Radcliffe, who divides his time between London and New York, hopes his career will one day resemble that of Michael Caine, with whom he worked on Now You See Me 2. Radcliffe told Vogue magazine in a 2016 interview, “I want to be like that when I’m in my 80s!”
On his 30th birthday today, let’s take a look back at 10 Daniel Radcliffe movie choices that scream "I’m not Harry Potter":
The Woman in Black (2012)
Before the Harry Potter series even finished, Radcliffe’s first big act of defiance was to get his privates out in public. Starring in Peter Shaffer’s acclaimed play, Equus, in its West End revival in 2007, the then 17-year-old took his clothes off in front of a sold-out audience of super fans – most of whom probably still had lunchboxes, pencil cases and backpacks with his face on them. Yet it was still shocking when he picked The Woman In Black as his first post-Potter movie. The film reportedly went on to receive complaints from the parents of traumatised kids expecting to see Harry having more fun with comedy ghosts.
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
By all accounts, Radcliffe is a very well read young man. Already having taken on a Bulgakov adaptation on TV with The Young Doctor’s Notebook, his next film role was in John Krokidas’ biopic as real life literary legend, Allen Ginsberg. Doing an exceptional job with the role, Radcliffe took to the press tour and spoke eloquently about his artistic motivations for doing the film, and about his research into Ginsberg’s life and works. Unfortunately, all anyone wanted to ask him about was his gay sex scene with Dane DeHaan – and almost every tabloid headline of the time obsessed over his pubic hair and why certain full frontal close-ups were cut.
What If? (2013)
Originally called The F Word, the title was changed in the UK to trick people into thinking they weren’t going to hear Harry Potter swear like a sailor. Marking another important step towards proper indie cred for Radcliffe, he stood his ground amongst the cool kids, like, Adam Driver and Zoe Kazan, to prove he’s actually pretty good at being naturalistic. More would follow, but not for a few years.
Picking Alexandre Aja’s adaptation of Joe Hill’s horror as his next film, Radcliffe’s much-awaited return to fantasy saw him playing a man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend – who then starts sprouting a pair of devil horns from his head. T“Most of my actor friends my age are all hoping to get into some mega-franchise and then not have to worry anymore,” he told the Independent, back in 2014. “It gives you so much autonomy over your career...”
Victor Frankenstein (2015)
On paper, Paul McGuigan’s Victor Frankenstein is Radcliffe’s most commercial post-Potter film to date – and exactly the sort of role that most people would have assumed he would have taken after he left Hogwarts. It is a horror film (sort of), but it’s also a glossy, big-budget fantasy blockbuster that has a choice lead role for Radcliffe as an ambitious, well-meaning doctor who gets caught up in the heroic pursuit of science. Except, Radcliffe didn't want that part. Letting the lead go to James McAvoy instead, Radcliffe played his freakish assistant, Igor. The film wasn’t great, but Radcliffe’s ambitions certainly were.
Swiss Army Man (2016)
Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s 2016 indie is probably the oddest idea for a film, ever, which has to have been part of the attraction for Radcliffe. The film itself is wonderfully sweet, and Radcliffe plays the best farting corpse we’ve ever seen, but it still wasn’t enough to dispel the image of Hermione shaking her head in disapproval.
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Sometimes movies make loads of money for no apparent reason and we end up getting a sequel to something we didn't really like in the first place. Such was Now You See Me 2, a film that still somehow made enough money to green-light another sequel. Another slightly more obvious choice for Radcliffe, he nevertheless took the one role in a starry ensemble that put him at odds with his Potter past. Whilst literally everyone else in the film is a talented magician, Radcliffe plays an obnoxious techie who uses computers instead of slight of hand to prove that magic doesn't exist.
Technically, Radcliffe didn't play a Nazi in Daniel Ragussis’ hard hitting crime drama – he’s an undercover cop pretending to be a Nazi – but the film does feature a scene where he eats a cupcake with a swastika on it. Watching the film, it seems like almost anyone else would have been better cast in the role, yet Radcliffe still does a pretty good job of looking (quietly, coldly) scary. “There were times during that where I was asking "Why am I doing this movie!?! This is terrible!” Radcliffe told Den of Geek in a 2016 interview. “You feel the incredible sense of conviction these people have about their worldview, and you start to feel hopeless that you could ever change it.” Good on him for even trying though.
There are two things that any actor can do to prove that they’re really serious about their craft. One is to ugly-up, and the other is to gain or lose a load of weight. If you’re doing a boxing biopic, you bulk up and get an expert to brag about how “you could have gone professional if you tried”, but if you’re doing a survival movie you’ll probably have to live in the wilderness for months and eat bugs on camera. Unfortunately for Radcliffe, no one actually saw Jungle, so he cut a big worm out of his head for nothing.
Beast Of Burden (2018)
Sadly, Radcliffe’s most recent film is further away from Harry Potter than anything else he’s ever done. Radcliffe stars as a drug smuggling pilot who ferries cocaine over the Mexican border – and almost everyone who reviewed it made some kind of pun about it being a “burden” to watch. Still, it’s a characteristically bold move for the Harry Potter star to play an out and out criminal.