Being the star of the Harry Potter films, it’s an understatement
to say that Daniel Jacob Radcliffe has had a lot to come to terms with.
Born in the Fulham area of London, on the 23rd of July, 1989, Daniel's
interest in acting came very much from his own accord. Years before he would
make his film debut as one of the most famous book characters in history,
Daniel began acting in school productions - most noticeably playing
Though Daniel's parents were not initially very keen on
Daniel auditioning for roles in British television adaptations of books, Daniel
persisted in his intent to be an actor and finally got the breakthrough role
of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield. Before he successfully auditioned
for this role, Daniel had narrowly missed out on auditioning for the part
of another Charles Dickens's character, Oliver Twist. Unaware of his
natural talent for acting, Daniel described getting the role of David Copperfield
as "a huge suprise," having beaten hundreds of young male actors
to get the part. Daniel's rare talent was already making itself known, and
in a big way.
Already having worked with stellar British stars such as Bob
Hoskins, and Dame Maggie Smith - who would later star again with him
in the Harry Potter movies - Daniel took his next step toward becoming a star.
In 2001, he was cast as Mark Pendel in the Tailor of Panama, a film which
was an adaptation of the John Le Carré novel and featured major stars
such as Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean),
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween and Freaky Friday) and Brendan Gleeson (Harry
Potter and the Goblet of Fire). This was the role that gave Daniel the helping
hand towards his biggest role to date, Harry Potter.
Ironically enough, Jamie Lee Curtis had commented herself, while
filming the Tailor of Panama, that Daniel bore resemblance to Harry. At this
time, of course, the search was very much underway to find a boy of Daniel's
age and appearance to play Harry Potter. After Curtis had made her suggestion
to Daniel's mother, he caught the eye of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Stone's director, Chris Columbus and producer, David Heyman.
Second Time's a Charm
It's easy to see why Daniel was a front running candidate
for the role of Harry Potter. With his previous acting experience, genuine
nature and striking resemblance to the boy wizard, this was one role which
Daniel was headhunted for. Chris Columbus requested that Daniel attend a private
audition for the role. However, Daniel's parents were hesitant,
as if worried their son might be unsuccessful in getting this once-in-a-lifetime part, they
were very much aware as to what this would do to their son's passion
for acting, not to mention his confidence. They declined Chris Columbus's
invitation for the audition, but this was most certainly not enough to deter
Columbus from casting Daniel as Harry.
One night, as Daniel attended a theatre production of "Stones
in Pockets" with his parents, he was spotted in the audience by none other
than Harry Potter producer David Heyman and screenwriter Steve Kloves. After
Heyman had said hello to Daniel and his parents during the play's interval,
he couldn't get the thought of casting Daniel as Harry out of his head,
and called Daniel's parents the very next morning. It turned out that
Daniel's parents had been having second thoughts about letting him
play the part of Harry and agreed to meet David to discuss the conditions
of Daniel accepting the role.
As Daniel was just 11 when the discussions were taking place
for his potential role of Harry Potter, it is understandable that Marcia and
Alan wanted to shield their son from the media and try to keep his life as
normal as was possible. Once they were assured that Daniel would be as protected
as possible, they agreed to let him audition for the part.
In the Spotlight
As we all know, Daniel's impressive acting qualities secured
him the role, and Daniel and his two main co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert
Grint (who would play Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley) were unveiled to the
world in August 2000.
Filming for the first film ended in 2001, and Harry Potter and
the Philosopher's Stone was subsequently released on the 16th November
2001. The world went mad for the first film version of the best-selling series,
and Daniel, Rupert and Emma were adorned on the front covers of the world's
premiere magazines and newspapers.
Daniel said of the impact of the first film, "I knew it
was going to be big news, but I didn't know it was going to be that bigger
news because within 20 minutes of the announcement the press were outside
my house, apparently, which was pretty funny." This was only the start
of Dan's newfound star status.
The trio of Daniel, Rupert and Emma gelled well together and that
was apparent both on screen and off. Daniel said, "We're
all quite like our characters and Rupert's very funny, Emma's very intelligent
and I'm in between because that's, I think, how Harry is."
The first film certainly tested out Daniel's previous
acting experience, and he found that he had to really become Harry and to
focus on this to be able to make his performance as brilliant as it was. Though
it was arduous, Daniel still managed to have a fun time on the set of the
film, with the Quidditch scenes being, "very fun to do."
Daniel could only express enthusiasm for his return for the
second film, which he marked out as, "probably my favourite."
The success of the first film could not have been predicted,
and at the time it ranked second in the most grossing films of all time, Titanic
being the only film to have narrowly piped it to the post.
Filming for the second film could well have been a daunting
task, but as filming had begun just three days after the first film's
release, Daniel said, "It was brilliant because we started about three
days after the first film had been released, so we were still in our characters
- it was really easy to get under their skin again."
The filming of Chamber of Secrets presented Daniel with the
opportunity to work with more of the finest actors in British history, and
also enabled him to dig deeper into the role of Harry. Highlights of the second
film for Daniel included the Dueling scene, and, of course the car scene with
Although Daniel took much more from the filming of the second
Harry Potter film than just playing Harry. He witnessed the acting techniques
of film legends such as Alan Rickman and Kenneth Branagh, which certainly
made an impact on him, "I love the scene with the dueling with lots
of crowds, then you've got a fantastic confrontation between Alan Rickman
and Kenneth Branagh."
The fame which accompanied playing the role of Harry was never
an issue to the down-to-earth Daniel, who enjoyed nothing more than, "seeing
my friends. We have pizza parties which means I get four friends round, we
eat a pizza and we're really lazy and we play PlayStation." Daniel was
also intent on not letting the media affect his performance on the second
film. When asked if he read reviews on the internet or in publications, he
replied, "I don't. I have never seen an article or read a review or
anything because it can affect your performance."
As fans know, Chamber of Secrets is very much different from its
predecessor Philosopher's Stone. Getting a different vibe from the filming
of Chamber of Secrets, Daniel commented, "Oh, it's a darker story and
it was fun because you see a much darker side to Harry's character. So it
was really fun trying to bring that to the screen."
Daniel, like his two other co-stars, was not sure at the time
what the future held for him in his role as Harry. Not wanting to disappoint
the fans, he stated, "I'm definitely doing the third and after that
I have no idea what's going to happen."
When the second film was released, it completely matched the
success of Philosopher's Stone. Daniel was whisked all over the world,
from the USA to the Far East to promote the film. As superb reviews poured
in, Daniel was commended from both his co-stars on the film and the press
for his manner and professionalism that he had applied in the second film.
As fans across the globe prepared in 2004 for the release of
the third Harry Potter film, Prisoner of Azkaban, more and more people who
had not been immediate fans of the books excitedly waited for the release
of the block-busting third installment.
The new director of the third film, Alfonso Cuaron, really tried
to get the creative juices of the three main cast members flowing, and he
requested that they all write essays on their characters to initiate this.
Dan admitted that to help him with this essay, he submerged himself into listening
to music, which helped him to prepare for more emotional scenes that the third
Daniel rose to the challenge, performing Harry's trials
and tribulations in the third film superbly. Prisoner of Azkaban is a favorite
amongst fans of the book series and so the pressure was really on the crew
and cast to once again re-create the magic of the two previous films.
Of course, this proved a natural ability of everyone who worked
on the Harry Potter films, and after Prisoner of Azkaban was released, there
seemed to be more fans of the books and films than ever before.
Fourth Time Around
What the future holds for Daniel as Harry, we do not yet know.
We are sure that the fourth film will show a further development and a progress
in the acting abilities of Daniel and his co-stars. And, of course, we are
more excited than ever at the prospect of finally seeing the special effects
and sets that the Harry Potter cast and crew have used this time around.
Daniel himself is an amazing young man. Not only has he grown
up in the spotlight, but he also still manages to focus on charities and causes
that he can use his fortunate position to promote. His level-headedness and
enthusiasm for the fans will ensure that he will remain a firm favourite among
many, not only fans of the Harry Potter films but everyone who sees his work.
We are sure he will become a legend, just as the co-stars he has acted with
have now become, and we look forward to following his career each step of