Daniel Radcliffe Talks “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead”
Daniel Radcliffe and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead co-star Joshua McGuire recently gave a Q&A at the Old Vic Theatre about their experiences working on the play’s 50th anniversary production.
Radcliffe and McGuire talked a lot on how the show and their characters really fit with their friendship – with Radcliffe saying McGuire is one of the few people who talks faster than him. They both discussed what it was like to work with Tom Stoppard, the original playwright, on the 50th anniversary of his show. Radcliffe commented on how Stoppard was quiet but would occasionally impart gems of knowledge and how it was still terrifying to work with such a renowned writer on such a beloved play. The two discussed fellow star David Haig, who plays the Player, and his incredible ability to make everyone in the show feel close. Radcliffe compared Haig to Richard Griffiths, the now-deceased actor who played Vernon Dursley, in how Haig was so willing to share his wealth of knowledge in a genuine and not patronizing way.
Radcliffe touched on how the play itself is incredibly moving, saying he doesn’t see how a play about two “profoundly lost, confused people desperately searching for meaning” can fail to be moving. He also talked about his time on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying back in 2011 in New York City, calling it the most rewarding experience because of how far he came – starting with no dance experience, training for 18 months. McGuire pointed out how Radcliffe had four weeks of vacation written into his contract of that show that he never took, and Radcliffe commented on how everyone had worked so hard that he didn’t want to take it.
When asked for advice for actors starting off, Radcliffe said he’s always had a hard time answering this question. “Everyone knows how my career started and I got lucky,” he said, carrying on to suggest reading lots of plays and seeing as many films and plays as possible to develop your own taste. “Be in a franchise” was his final piece of advice. He’d like to direct or write a film in the future (no solid plans yet, only ideas and ambitions) but doesn’t feel like his experience lends to staging a play.
Radcliffe finished up the Q&A talking about how he has moments where he feels a bit too much like Rosencrantz. About three weeks into rehearsal, he was practicing one of the scenes when it occurred to him that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern might actually be dead through the whole play. He rushed to David Haig, telling him, “David, they’re dead! That’s the thing!” to which Haig replied, “What’s the title of the play?”
Radcliffe and McGuire also recently gave a tour of the Old Vic, which was included in the National Theatre Live broadcast on April 20. Watch the tour and see production footage and interviews with the cast and crew below:
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead has now finished its run at the Old Vic, but international dates for rescreenings of the recording for NT Live will be announced soon on the NT Live Website.