“Mental Floss” picks Daniel Radcliffe’s brain in new interview

You’ve really got to wonder if Daniel Radcliffe ever sleeps. Following the closing of his Broadway production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, Dan was on a whirlwind media tour promoting the recently released What If? and the upcoming Horns. In his most recent interview with Mental Floss, Dan answers questions not about characters he plays but about his favorite karaoke songs and his perfect pizza. Read some choice excerpts below:

MF: You once said that school was hard for you, but you learned to love learning on the Harry Potter set. What do you feed your mind these days?

DR: I used to read a lot of fiction, and now I read a lot of non-fiction. And I discovered a few blogs on Kinja that I like that just talk about interesting things—Deadspin is the one I got into it from, but [Kinja has] a blog for anything that you could possibly be interested in.

I also consume endless factual television programs. I have it in my head that if I go to bed watching something like [the Smithsonian Channel], I’ll retain it, and if I do it enough, then I’ll retain quite a lot, eventually. I was learning about Hittites last night. I remember thinking, ‘That’s good that the Hittites have had a show’ because you don’t hear about them. All of the latest civilizations take their thunder away, but they were one of the first civilizations! They deserve a mention!


MF:Let’s say ghosts are real. Which historical figure would you want to haunt you?

DR: Napoleon or some other historical figure with a huge ego. Because you don’t want a mopey ghost. I’d quite like to meet John Keats, but I get the idea that his ghost would probably be very sad, whereas I imagine Napoleon’s would just be still raging and angry.

MF:Celery: yes or no?

DR: No. Absolutely not. Although you will find that answer with almost every vegetable with me. I did a cooking show not long ago—they were cooking around me, and I was just talking about the movie—but at one point I had to admit that to a room full of kids. I was like, “I know I’m maybe a role model for you at this stage, which is not something I ever set out to be, and you should totally all eat your vegetables, but I do not.”

What’s your favorite karaoke song?

DR: Anything by Eminem, genuinely. If everyone joins in on the chorus I’ll do “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You,” the Frankie Valli song, because the rest of the song is high, but the chorus is really high.

Daniel Radcliffe Mental Floss - Moon Helmet

Near the end of the interview, we do get just a tidbit of information about Dan’s upcoming role as civil engineer Washington Roebling, who played a critical role in building the Brooklyn Bridge. It sounds like the film is still in its very early stages, but Dan sounds hopeful about the movie making it to production:

The story of the Roeblings and the Brooklyn Bridge—I really hope we to get to tell that story. It’s an amazing American story and a story about a marriage that was so different from what people expected of a marriage in that time. That’s why I think it’s particularly an important story to tell: Emily [Roebling] for the first half of the script is very much the sort of doting wife in a period film, and then you see her build the bridge. The equality in their marriage and the way they needed each other, and were so open about needing each other, feels very rare—like a story we don’t often hear about in that era. I have kind of fallen in love with New York, and so to make something that feels like a love letter to America but also very specific to New York as well and what New York is to America … I hope it happens. It’ll be great. It’s a fantastic script.

And finally, just for fun, possibly the most swoon-worthy phrase Dan has ever uttered:

There is something about—I know everyone talks about it, but that would be one of my most pleasant smells in the world, the smell of old books.

Be sure to read the whole fun interview – plus, see some more shots from the Mental Floss photo shoot – right here!

Jessica J.

I've been making magic at MuggleNet since 2012, when I first joined the staff as a News intern. I've never wavered from the declaration in my childhood journal, circa October 2000: "I LOVE Harry Potter! If I clean my room, my mom says she'll make me a dinner a wizard would love!" Proud Gryffindor; don't hate.