Daniel Radcliffe talks role selection, nudity, and growing as an actor

For those following the media blitz surrounding Daniel Radcliffe and his new film What If, out in theaters this month, one assumes that is all he might be focused on. However, in a Daily Mail interview posted just days ago, Radcliffe gives fans an inside look at his thought process of selecting roles, nudity on film and stage, and what he’s doing to prepare himself for his next role playing Sebastian Coe.

Daniel takes the nudity issue in stride, having chosen to bare it all both on stage in Equus and all three of his most recent films – Kill Your Darlings, Horns, and What If. However he may look at his decision to take his clothes off in the name of his craft, he didn’t reach the decision alone. Daniel turned to his co-star and friend, veteran actor Gary Oldman, for advice before deciding he would take on a nude scene.

Gary’s always someone I can talk to, and he thought it was a good thing to do. I also knew from a technical point that he’d taken his clothes off quite a lot, and I thought he may have a trick or two. But he basically said, ‘There’s no advice. You just have to get ’em off and go for it. You’ve just got to do it.’ Like jumping into cold water.

As Daniel moves further away from The Boy Who Lived and into various roles, he indicates he chose most of his roles in order to break out of the box the Harry Potter films may have placed him in, and choosing roles where nudity was required may have helped people see him as someone other than one of  J.K. Rowling’s most celebrated characters.

I think getting naked on a stage gets rid of all your inhibitions. I don’t know if I actually connected those thoughts. But I wanted to make choices that would surprise people and I wanted to be good.

While there are those Harry Potter fans who may not agree with what Daniel has been saying about his acting in the Potter films, it’s clear that the actor takes his job very seriously and is always striving to learn from his performances in order to push himself to the next level of his career.

Doing Potter was an incredible blessing because it gave me this opportunity to start a fantastic career. But then the moments I’m not as proud of, mistakes other actors get to make in rehearsal rooms or at drama school, are all on film for everyone to see. I never liked watching myself on film, but I do make myself sit through it. And that’s why it’s hard to watch a film like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because I’m just not very good in it. I hate it. My acting is very one-note, and I can see I got complacent, and what I was trying to do just didn’t come across. My best film is the fifth one (Order of the Phoenix) because I can see a progression. […] it’s my job to be critical.

Radcliffe indicates that 2012 was a critical year for him professionally and personally:

I only really started to feel I was being just Daniel Radcliffe in 2012, and it started when I made Kill Your Darlings [the critically acclaimed indie movie in which he plays tortured young Beat poet Alan Ginsberg] followed by Horns and What If. That was a really important year for me – I suddenly started to feel I’d relaxed as a person and as an actor and that I didn’t have to keep proving myself or justifying that I can do this job. I certainly think that after Kill Your Darlings and my role on Broadway in The Cripple of Inishmaan, the debate as to whether I can do things outside of Potter is near to ending.

Finally, he gives us the tiniest hint (really tiny!!!) about how he is getting ready to take on his next role as Olympic runner Sebastion Coe:

You can’t believe everything this guy has done, and I’m training a lot, which means I get to eat a load of pizza.

One thing is clear after this interview, which you can read in full here – Daniel Radcliffe loves his job and is not content to rest on the fame he has garnered for bringing Harry Potter to life on the big screen. There are many more roles ahead for this talented actor, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll do next!