National Post interview - Daniel J Radcliffe Holland


National Post interview

 An Horns on set interview by the National Post (Canada).

“Give me your hand.”

Daniel Radcliffe guides my hand to the back of his head, where a wire harness is hidden under his shaggy hair. The harness holds in place a pair of horns on his forehead, the signature effect of the currently filming supernatural thriller Horns.

“Prosthetics are amazing these days. This is like a transfer tattoo — they just peel the backing off and it sticks,” the 23-year-old actor says.

There’s a bit of touching up involved as well. Radcliffe is in the makeup chair for 45 minutes each day as the effect is created. And up close it looks uncanny, the goatlike horns seeming to rip through the skin of his forehead.

Radcliffe is a veteran of movie effects like this — he remembers a full-face mask that he had to endure for the second-to-last Harry Potter movie that involved 2 1/2 hours in the chair each day.

In a week where countless kids all over the world will be dressing up as a boy wizard with a lightning-bolt scar, Radcliffe has moved on.

In Horns, from the hit novel by Joe Hill, Radcliffe stars as Ig Perrish, a guy who wakes up with a pair of mysterious horns to find that he’s the prime suspect in his girlfriend’s death.

“It’s a metamorphosis story, but the thing that excited me was that tonally it wasn’t like anything I had read,” he says.

“It was both incredibly dark — like really dark and violent, and full of classic horror stuff — but also it has a very dry sense of humour.”

This rainy day, cast and crew are filming at the 102-year-old St. Helen’s Church in Surrey, B.C.

Radcliffe’s Ig confronts a priest played by Vancouver actor Jay Brazeau in the church’s cemetery, who rebuffs his plea for help.

Radcliffe, Brazeau and French director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) confer during a lighting and camera change and, as the crew moves a set of dolly tracks, Radcliffe comes up and introduces himself.

It’s a dialogue-heavy scene, “which I love,” says Radcliffe, maintaining his character’s American accent even off camera.

“The nature of the horns means that any time I meet somebody, they end up telling me their deepest, darkest revelations. So even a small scene like this becomes incredibly intense.”

As to that American accent, “there are certain words — murderer is a hard word to say because there’s so many f—ing Rs in it, and girlfriend. Now, unfortunately those are two of the words I use most in this movie.”

Plus more:

“It’s a really cool time for me,” Radcliffe says.

“I’m getting to a point where I can step back and appreciate how great this year has been.”

He also filmed A Young Doctor’s Notebook.

“They’re all really different, they’re all interesting and weird, or have something weird about them,” Radcliffe says.

“I feel like the best work I have done yet in my career, I have done this year.”

He says he still has to fight for the roles he wants, noting that Horns director Aja was looking at other actors.

“At the time, The Woman in Black had just come out,” Radcliffe says.

“I’m pretty untested outside of Potter as far as a lot of people know. I’ve done Equus and I’ve done How to Succeed, but directors who haven’t seen those plays won’t know that stuff.”

About Harry Potter fans following his career:

“When I did Equus, I know that people are going to come and see the show that might not see the show otherwise. That’s a very cool thing to have.”

“The actors I really admire, people like Alan Rickman, they are all still learning,” he says, noting that Potter co-star Rickman gave him advice on his onstage performance in Equus.

“Alan was big on teaching me, definitely. He took me out a couple of times and gave me some notes afterward. He’s a really big supporter.”

Radcliffe was 11 years old when he started work on the first Potter.

“By the time you see the finished product, so much time has passed that you are a different person and a different actor,” he says.

“I’ll always look at it and go, ‘Man, if I could just do that now.’ It was after about the fifth film that you can see me start to turn into more of an actor. But you know, I don’t think that process is ever complete.”


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