The Guardian: 30 minutes with... Daniel Radcliffe - Daniel J Radcliffe Holland


The Guardian: 30 minutes with... Daniel Radcliffe

Interview by The Guardian in promotion of Swiss Army Man and Imperium.

Hello, Daniel. I just saw you on Good Morning Britain.

Yes, promoting two films that are not exactly morning-TV fare (1).

Is it hard to sell Swiss Army Man to a daytime crowd?
Yes. You’ve only got three minutes to talk. You can’t give an accurate impression of Swiss Army Man in three minutes. And people fixate on the farting, which makes you want to go: “Yeah, but it’s also really beautiful and weird, and there’s nothing else like it.”

This is awkward. My next question was going to be: “What’s the loudest fart you’ve ever done?”
Oh, God. In real life? I don’t know. There’s obviously not been a moment that was embarrassing enough to lodge permanently in my memory.

Mine happened in a bowling alley.
Oh, God. Oh, no. Right in the middle of … (2)? Oh, God. Oh, no. That’s … that’s … brilliant. Not for you, but what a thing to experience.

Was researching Imperium difficult?
Our director sent me some books, and I visited white supremacist websites. That’s some tough reading. It’s scary, but it’s good to remind oneself that we’re only talking about a relatively small amount of people. Or that’s what we thought when we were making it, but now these views have moved into the middle of the political mainstream.

Speaking of which, have you seen the video of [Ohio governor] John Kasich condemning your atheism (3)?
I’ve heard what he said. It’s hilarious that a random interview of mine has worked its way into his consciousness. It’s such a weird fight to pick. I’m a lot less rabid about my atheism now. Whatever gets you through the day is my basic philosophy. But now the American Atheists organisation has written to Kasich and requested a meeting.

And it is all being channelled through you

Yeah! I couldn’t have less to do with it.

I loved Swiss Army Man, by the way …
Oh, good; me too. If I had to burn every other scene I’ve ever done in my career and leave one, it would be the bus scene in Swiss Army Man. It’s the best six minutes I’ve ever been involved with onscreen.

Were you aware of Daniels (4) before the film?
I’d seen the Turn Down for What video, but that was it. Once I knew I’d got the job, I looked up all their old videos and short films, and it became apparent that these were the guys who could make this movie, and make it work. Something a lot of their projects have in common is that, if you tried to explain them, they sound like nonsense and borderline not very good. But then you see them, and they’re amazing.

So if I’ve only got £10, I should see Swiss Army Man and not Imperium?
Oh man, that’s really hard. It depends what you’re after. If you want something that is ultimately one of the weirdest films you’ve ever seen, but joyous, entertaining, stupid and beautiful, see Swiss Army Man. If you’re after a tense thriller with a more traditional narrative, go for Imperium (5).

It is 10.35am. How many times have you been asked about Harry Potter today?
Today? Did they mention it on Good Morning Britain? I don’t even notice when people do it any more. You haven’t mentioned it yet, have you?

Nor will I.
I did two interviews before you, so probably just twice. That’s not accounting for every individual mention of Harry Potter, but overall twice.

I heard you were writing a film.
I’m trying to, but isn’t every actor? I’m doing one thing on my own, which needs a lot of work. I’m also writing a really weird comedy with a couple of friends. We’ve just realised that we’ve written the most expensive film ever made (6).

Last question. Four years ago, you did an interview with the Independent about The Woman in Black, and you called me a sad-arse in it (7).
Did I? What? I’m so sorry! Shit. Why?

You were talking about a review of the trailer I wrote. It was obnoxious, so I had it coming.
Oh, my God, that is a twat thing to say. I’m so sorry. It was the same at school: sometimes, I’d get a bit bullish and defensive. I’m very sorry. Clearly you are not a sad-arse. I’ve enjoyed this conversation immensely, and I’m glad we’ve moved on from that dark time four years ago.

Thank you. This has been an important piece of closure for me.
Good, yeah, me, too. And, again, I really apologise.

(1) White supremacist thriller Imperium, and arthouse corpse comedy Swiss Army Man.
(2) Yup.
(3) Kasich said: “You know that Daniel Radcliffe has declared himself an atheist? I’m serious. What a weird thing. Why would a guy who had all that success just, I mean, what the hell is wrong with him?”
(4) Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
(5) Swiss Army Man is better.
(6) According to Wikipedia, this means they’ve written Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
(7) It isn’t online, but it happened.


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