Daniel Radcliffe Talks Playing the Villain and How to Play Dead

Daniel Radcliffe‘s latest roles have been quite a departure from Harry Potter, but as he’s revealed in a number of recent interviews, he’s perfectly fine with it. Playing a farting corpse in Swiss Army Man and a villain who can’t do magic in Now You See Me 2 might be embarrassing for some people, but Daniel has even provided the New York Times with tips on how to play dead!

In an interview with Balance, he shared that not much embarrasses him:

I will do stupid [stuff] constantly, and I don’t really have time to be embarrassed by all of it. I get more embarrassed, and this is quite a British thing, whenever somebody’s being sincere or giving me a compliment. Today [Privacy] director [Josie Rourke] was being very nice about something I’d done in rehearsal, and I was like, ‘[O]h, uh, God!’

When asked by the New York Times for some tips on how to play “a not-quite-dead guy,” Daniel gave a number of pieces of advice, including,

Work on your dead guy stare. Maybe have one eye really big, like an owl, and the other one nearly closed. I came up with [that] when I was playing around with stupid facial expressions in the mirror. I thought it was [something] everybody could do, but when I showed it to the directors, they were like, do that!

Additionally (and perhaps most importantly), he advised,

Know when to go to the stunt corpse. We used a dummy when the raccoon was attacking Manny. The moment they set [the raccoon] free, it would just jump on the dummy’s face and start scratching at his eyes. Raccoons are vicious.

Meanwhile, playing the bad guy in Now You See Me 2 was actually more enjoyable than he expected! Daniel explained to Fashion & Style,

It was great. I’ve never really had that thing before where you don’t have to be — there’s no pressure on you to be likable or anything. You just have to be the most annoying, terrible person you can be for a couple hours a day, which was huge amounts of fun.

Of the tendency for English actors to play villains in American films, he added,

Let’s face it, there’s a rich tradition of English people playing the bad guy in American movies. So I feel like I’m fulfilling a rite of passage doing this.

Daniel also said that he wouldn’t necessarily shy away from playing another villain:

If it was the right [role]. If I got to work with a cast like this again. Because that’s one of the things that attracts me the most — not just playing the villain but getting to work with these actors and how it’s done. That would be incredibly exciting.

It sounds like only time will tell if we will see Daniel Radcliffe in another villainous role. (Until then, he can currently be seen as Walter Mabry in Now You See Me 2, which is in theaters now!)

Will you be trying out any of Daniel’s tips for playing a corpse? Do you hope to see him play more villains? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Mary W.

I am a Slytherin, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter, and a member of MuggleNet staff since 2014. In my Muggle life, I am passionate about human rights, and I love to travel around the world and meet new people.