Don’t Ask Daniel Radcliffe About How Hard Acting Is

Daniel Radcliffe had to go through a lot to play a survivalist in his new film, Jungle, but he definitely doesn’t want to discuss it. Daniel had to lose weight, spend days in the wilderness, and reenact intense physical and emotional trauma. However, he told the Huffington Post that he can’t stand self-congratulatory actors who spend their interviews talking about their training for these types of roles:

One of my pet peeves is actors who — I think the classic example of it is always boxing movies. And the actor is talking about how intense it is to train and all that stuff, but people are boxers. Boxers exist. It’s not a thing that makes ourselves f***ing special. I want to be careful with that … I was going home and staying in a hotel at night, and Yossi actually lived it.

Daniel did elaborate on his minimal diet during the film but still downplayed the difficulty of eating so little:

I’m not a method actor or anything, but I feel like I would be making my job much harder if I would go home and eat steak and potatoes every night … so I just massively cut down on eating. I had, I think, two or three weeks before, leading up to that last scene, I was eating a serving of fish or a chicken breast and a protein bar every day. And then for two days before the actual scene, I just sort of stopped eating. It helps with the look, but … there’s something about feeling that genuine kind of exhaustion, feeling it in your legs, feeling tired was very useful, and also that last scene, when the set got flooded was even more heartbreaking because I had a big stick of chocolate in the fridge ready for myself after we finished. My Tuesday night, I’m going home. I’m eating that whole thing. And then it got pushed back by a week, so I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m doing this for another week.’

He’s referring to the time the set was flooded with ten feet of water overnight and filming was delayed by a week. Daniel sympathized with the camera operators and crewmembers who were forced to work around these conditions. The director and writers also had a hard time since they were charged with the arduous task of adapting the harrowing memoir of Yossi Ghinsberg into a believable film:

My concern whenever I see something that says based on a true story, I’m always very suspicious in a way. My guard goes up immediately, and I’m like, ‘OK, but how much of this is really true.’ And then after reading the script, I read Yossi’s book, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow!’ Actually, we had to cut a lot out just to make it more believable. I think when you’re watching a film and you see [something] that strikes you as, ‘That wouldn’t happen,’ even if it did happen in real life, it takes you out of it…You want to keep people in the story, and there were some moments that happened to Yossi that were so extreme.

The interview ended with Daniel expressing his love for American fantasy football and Sharknado and his wish to see more true stories adapted for the big screen:

There’s a woman called Dr. James Barry, who lived the most extraordinary life. She pretended to be a man for her entire life. and she became one of the most senior doctors in England, and she went out to the Crimean War, and Florence Nightingale described her as giving her the worst telling off she ever had, basically…So that’s an incredible story. And also, I just finished watching the Ken Burns ‘Roosevelts’ series not long ago, and why there hasn’t been a good Eleanor Roosevelt movie is incredible. That movie needs to be made.

Well, since Daniel recently said he’d be interested in directing a film of his own, perhaps he’ll work toward creating these films in the future! We’d certainly love to see his take on these forgotten stories. For now, watch the trailer for Jungle below, and make sure to catch it when it hits theaters this Friday, October 20!


Gayané Kaligian

Gayane has been writing about Harry Potter since the fourth grade, when she wrote her first five-paragraph essay on why Percy Weasley’s buffoonery could have led to Voldemort winning. These days, she’s still talking about the Weasley brothers, but it’s mostly about how overlooked Charlie is. In her free time, you can find her researching stunt choreography and geeking out over theater.