Daniel Radcliffe may have started out playing Harry Potter at the age of 11, but since then, he’s managed to turn his childhood fame into a successful, lifelong career. The actor was kind enough to sit down with us and answer five questions about both the wizarding world and his life behind the scenes!
1. Were you nervous to take on a character as iconic as Harry Potter at such a young age?
Of course! When I got the part, I was so scared, but J.K. Rowling sat me down, looked me in the eye, and said, “Listen, you little shit: If you mess up my great Harry Potter character, I am going to kill you off in the fourth book and have all the Gringotts Goblins have sex with your corpse in the vault all day.” That just crystallized everything I didn’t understand and let me calm down and focus on the part.
2. More than 40,000 kids auditioned for the role of Harry Potter. Did you think you were going to get it?
I actually didn’t think I was going to, because in my audition, I told J.K. Rowling that I thought that after Harry saves the wizarding universe he should work at a bank. I said I didn’t care about the other characters’ fates, let them fuck and die like mice. But with Harry Potter, he should have to inform someone on bounced checks for the rest of his life. It ended up, she loved it, and not only did I get cast, but she used my suggestions in the books!
3. Now that you’re a few years removed from it all, how do you feel about the massively successful Harry Potter movie franchise, looking back?
I’ll always have a soft spot for it, but in retrospect, I wish the films had built out some of the minor characters more. For instance, in the books, Hagrid trades over 400 shares of Apple stock for his flying motorcycle, which turns out to be a massive mistake. But in the movies, aside from him periodically staring at the motorcycle and muttering to himself, “I can’t believe I traded 400 shares of Apple stock for this hunk of shit and now have to live in the barn,” we don’t get much about it. It just feels like we left some meat on the bone there.
4. You’ve appeared on The Simpsons, Robot Chicken, and BoJack Horseman. How does animation differ from live-action?
In cartoons, Homer Simpson is a lovable character, but if you saw someone who looked like Homer Simpson in real life you would scream in fear of the monster before you. That is the only difference between the two.
5. Do you think you’d ever return to your role as Harry Potter if the opportunity arose?
I’d really only consider it if the idea for the next film was just right. J.K. Rowling recently tried to pitch me her next movie and said, “I’ll let you evict Hagrid from his hut so Harry can use it to store his trophy deer heads,” and, “Harry can be casual friends with Dave Grohl now,” but those storylines have never felt totally right. She almost got me to go back with her last offer, but the truth is, I’ve already played Harry for over a decade. I’m not about to just go back for “Harry could kill a couple students every now and then just to flex his muscles.”