Daniel Radcliffe Talks “The Gamechangers”, US & UK Politics
Daniel Radcliffe has recently been doing the promotional circuit for his upcoming feature-length BBC drama The Gamechangers, which will see Radcliffe star as Sam Houser, the creator of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
This is actually not Radcliffe’s first project with BBC; his first ever acting role for the broadcaster was playing a young David in David Copperfield, where he would first work with his future Potter co-stars Dame Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall), Imelda Staunton (Professor Dolores Umbridge), and Zoë Wanamaker (Madam Rolanda Hooch).
So what was the reason behind Radcliffe taking on this new role of Sam Houser?
When I was growing up there was more of a division between film and television. Now, that’s gone out of the window entirely, but regardless, I’ve always believed that a good script is a good script, and I’ve never wanted to limit myself to one medium because of a misplaced sense of what I should be doing. That’s how you miss out. Particularly in the current climate where it’s really hard to get films made.
Owen (the director) and I were saying that one of the most attractive things about The Gamechangers, other than that it was a great script and a chance to do something that we really loved, was that it was
definitely happening. That is something that you can’t really say for many films ever. The Gamechangers was kind of the reverse, as it was so fast as to be frightening! So it was bit of an adjustment from the
usual way of thinking about doing a film in six months’ time and start preparing. This was great, it was there, it was happening and [it] had this fantastic script.
Despite the drama being set in New York, most of the shooting actually took place in South Africa. Radcliffe explains,
It was one of those odd situations where you tell people you’re filming in South Africa, and they say, ‘So it’s set in South Africa?’ and you say, ‘No, it’s set in New York,’ and they say ‘What? How?!’ So much shoots out there now; it’s a combination of affordability and great crews. Any film now with a great stunt sequence seems to have a Cape Town Unit in the credits. You can lock off big sections of streets and are a lot more free to do ambitious things there.
The actor even got to perform some big stunts on set.
I did one really cool stunt where I got to walk out in the middle of the street. Cars screeched to a halt either side of me, and then another car was speeding straight towards me. I had to watch it speed right up to me and just hoped that it stopped in time!!
I can’t say too much, as it’s the last scene of the film, but there was an awkward moment because I got so in to [sic] it. We rehearsed the stunt during the day, [but] when we went for a take later on, I assumed it was the same stuntman (as both were bald!), but after the take, he seemed a bit shaken, so I asked him if he was OK, and he said, ‘No, mate, can you actually not throw me?’ Then I realised it was a totally different stuntman who had no idea of what I was about to do!
So how exactly did Radcliffe approach playing the character of Sam Houser?
I read a lot, though I feel that the Housers will be pleased about how difficult they are to research! There’s not much info out there about them; there’s precious little video footage of Sam, and there’s a little bit more of Dan talking.
So the two clips I found I really latched on to. I found myself thinking that we’re not that dissimilar – not in terms necessarily of how we interact with people, but how we are. I saw someone who talks pretty quickly, very specifically with a lot of energy and gesticulation and not that different from me in that way.
We’re from very similar backgrounds – he grew up one postcode away and also has one parent who is an actor and grew up around the entertainment industry. Our schools played each other at football – that’s how close we were. In New York, we live in a very similar area, so I’ve since been walking around feeling like I[‘m] going to bump into him, and if I see him I won’t be able to resist saying hello! I’m coming at this film as someone who loved the games and who thinks they’re really cool.
Radcliffe was also asked what TV shows he used to watch growing up:
The Simpsons, 6pm on BBC Two every night, and I used to really be into Neighbours. The Demon Headmaster, The Queens Nose, all those great BBC kids’ shows. And then of course there was Live [a]nd Kicking, which I was actually on twice as an audience member.
You can read the full interview by visiting BBC’s website here. Radcliffe also recently spoke to the UK’s Big Issue about his current views on British and American politics. He revealed that he was a fan of newly elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but the reason may surprise you:
In the only sit-down, casual interview I have seen with Jeremy Corbyn, he talks about his allotment and making jam, so he reminds me in the loveliest way of my English teacher, who is someone I am very, very fond of – so he has a fast track to my heart!
However, Radcliffe seemed less supportive of Donald Trump. When asked if he would be backing his campaign for presidency, Radcliffe said,
Hahaha. No. NO!
I’m not into conspiracy theories, but my recent favourite is that Donald Trump is running a false flag campaign for Hillary Clinton.
He also told the magazine about his first encounter with Donald Trump while he was promoting the first Harry Potter film in America.
He said a fantastically Donald Trump-ish thing. I hadn’t done much live TV before. Trump was on before me, and when he came off, someone thought it would be good to introduce him to the kid who plays Harry Potter. I told him I was nervous because I didn’t know what to talk about. He just said, in a very charming way – and I mean that – ‘You just tell them that you met Mr Trump!’ And I think I probably did.
To read more from this interview, be sure to pick up a copy of The Big Issue, which is out now. Daniel also found the time to be interviewed for this month’s Radio Times, where he was asked if his selection of roles in recent years has been a deliberate attempt to shake off the Harry Potter films. Radcliffe said,
I choose scripts by asking, [‘]what is the experience that is going to make me most happy?[‘] I’m very lucky, but there’s no grand career plan. Outside of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, those kind of films that have a built-in fan base, it’s impossible to know if a film is going to be successful. So you just have to pick those you feel passionate about.
Radcliffe also revealed whom he believes to be the funniest person currently working on TV.
There’s a very funny guy called Stephen Colbert in America, and I like Louis CK. In Britain, I’m a rabid fan of David Mitchell.
He was also asked if he had to participate in a reality TV show, which one would it be and why?
I guess Strictly Come Dancing because at least my mum and dad would be proud. But it’s not an option!
Be sure to check out the UK trailer for The Gamechangers below:
Finally, it was revealed this week that the UK distributor Signature has secured the rights to one of Radcliffe’s upcoming films, Imperium. In the film, which begins shooting in Virginia this fall, Radcliffe will be playing an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a white supremacist group conspiring to make a dirty bomb.
The Gamechangers airs tonight on BBC2 at 9 p.m, whilst Imperium is expected to be released at some point next year. Will you be checking out Radcliffe’s latest projects? Let us know in the comments.