THE INSIDER: DANIEL RADCLIFFE
"I want a small army of children."
With his first post-Potter role in The Woman In Black, Daniel Radcliffe embraces a new role: Adulthood. He sits with Ellen Carpenter to talk about it... But if you need even more Daniel, there's exclusive clips of this interview and photos that you'll only see in the February issue of NYLON, on stands now! Go get it!
This story was published on February 1, 2012.
Ellen Carpenter: So tell me about The Woman in Black. From what the trailer tells me, it looks nice and spooky.
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: It is. There are certain moments in the film which really are love notes to those kind of old style of horror films. There’s something very English about it, but I like to think it’s not just a horror film, it’s also a comment on grief and the grieving process and how that affects different people. It’s a character-driven horror film, that’s how I would describe it (although I am continually reminded to describe it as a supernatural thriller)... But horror has more connotations now as gore and all that kind of shit, and it’s not that. It’s about keeping the audience in a state of tension and dread for one and a half hours, and occasionally just freaking them out. That’s our brand of horror. It is very scary and it’s beautiful as well. The imagery…That’s one of the things that sets it apart from most horror films of that ilk is just how wonderful it looks.
You're a lawyer in the film, and you’re going to deal with the estate of this home, which turns out to be very haunted, and you have one kid. Was that a stretch playing a father? How’d you feel? I’m kind of really broody anyway, and I love kids and think they’re much better than adults.
Broody? Yeah, oh! Maybe that’s an English word…broody meaning that you kind of want kids. And um… I sort of cheated and asked James [Watkins, the director] to audition my godson, and he was really good. It wasn’t so much he was a better actor than any of the other boys, but because we have a real relationship, we have a natural chemistry there…that’s pretty hard to fake with a kid so young, because he’s only four...I think the story of the film is so compelling that you’re just going to be watching it, rather than thinking, "Oh, there’s Harry trying to talk to a kid!" Ellen, has anyone ever told you you look like Tina Fey?
Every day. I’m sorry. I was just thinking, "Who do you remind me of?" and I suddenly worked it out.
No, especially when I have my glasses on, and especially during when she was doing the Sarah Palin stuff. People would stop me constantly and comment about my impression of Sarah Palin. People would take photos as I walked by. Isn’t it annoying though? When people just snap on. It’s like, "If you asked me, I would say yes!" Unless it was like, in the middle of the [Harry Potter] circus, then I’d be like, "This probably isn’t such a good idea." But whenever I’m just standing around and someone just snaps a photo, I’m like, "If you just asked, that would be fine, but for some reason you just assume I’m going to be a dick so you behave like a dick, anyway..." I remember I was sitting with my girlfriend months ago, and we were in a corner booth, and this girl like three tables down flashed a huge camera in the middle of the restaurant... I was like, "Are you really fucking doing that?" Just ask me!
Does The Woman in Black deal with adult themes more? Does it have more of a sexual undercurrent? I have quite a sexy costume on in this film, but that’s kind of where it ends -- it’s the waistcoat. I, without blowing my own trumpet, I wear that shit well. I should’ve really been alive at the end of the 1800s; that would’ve been my time. Also, I love typhoid. But there’s no sexual relationship in the film [but] it is a love story in a way because it’s about a guy who has lost his wife...
How do you feel about the afterlife? Oh I don’t believe it exists (laughs), there’s nothing. You die and then worms eat you, and I’m happy with that... But you know, I might have one of those deathbed kind of things where I suddenly freak out and think God exists just because I’m dying. That could happen. A lot of people seem to do that, which is really disappointing.
So, moving onto other films. Is this Allen Ginsberg project happening? I hope so! Everybody’s saying it’s confirmed, but it’s only confirmed in the sense that the Internet is confirming it... It would be amazing. It’s a fantastic script. It’s something I am desperate to make happen.
Are you a big fan of Ginsberg's poetry? Not all of it. I think like anybody from that era, like Bob Dylan or Bob Marley, for every right song they wrote, they also wrote three pieces of absolute shit. I think T.S. Eliot said that Ezra Pound was the best poet of the century, and somebody said that he wrote so much awful stuff and T.S. Eliot said, "Yes, that’s true. But when he wrote something that was great, it was truly great," and that’s kind of how I feel about Ginsberg. I mean I love sections of “Howl,” and I kind of [love] "Howl” as just being an explosion of energy and imagination and drugs, really, I assume. I mean surely…I mean a lot of drugs...
So what’s your typical day when you’re not sitting in diners with people like me? I read, I play Madden on Xbox, I check and revise my fantasy football team as well as doing a lot of the search about the NFL. I love the NFL. I’m obsessed.
Was there ever a moment when you were like, "Screw it all?" Certainly there were times where I was overwhelmed by it, absolutely... but it’s more a case of feeling like a fraud, that feeling and that sense of you know…you have to be quite philosophical about luck, because when you get so lucky so young, to get that part…it’s…kind of always hard to cope with that, because you feel guilty. Because there’s so many people that don’t get that lucky, ever, so I think the way I kind of justify it is that if you get lucky, then you have to work really, really hard to retroactively earn your luck.
Now the most important topic of all. What music are you listening to right now? I’ve gotten into a band called Yellow Ostrich. I went and heard them play the other day... The band I’ve been listening to this year is Wild Beasts... I’m fairly certain they're English, and for me, they're the English band that's closest Arcade Fire. They make really complete albums that don’t sound derivative, and it is truly their own sound and great lyrics -- really imaginative and evocative lyrics.
You sound like a music critic. You can write for NYLON if you want. I’ll make it happen. [With a lot of music criticism], everybody is hailed as “the people that are going to be the saviors of music!” I mean Jesus Christ guys, music just keeps going. There’s no savior, there’s good music and bad music, and we’ll make up our own minds. Although actually, I say that like I’m really open-minded about music and I’m not. I fucking hate some music and will just get angry at some people for liking it.
Like major pop…Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry? Okay, Katy Perry is a very hard issue for me because while I’m not a big fan of the music, she’s so hot. Like…if there is one woman, that would be my…well actually, I avoided saying this earlier to save awkwardness but Tina Fey and Katy Perry are my two celebrity crushes. I don’t really love Katy Perry's music at all, but she’s hot... What can’t I listen to? I struggle with Bieber, I really do. When it comes on the radio…Black Eyed Peas, fine. People like to dance to it, it does my head in, but fine. It’s not offensive. You know what actually gets me worked up? I don’t mind all that hubby, puppy dog crap, that’s fine, that’s their choice, but it’s when there’s some whiny moan-y overly good-looking person with an acoustic guitar singing in that kind of boring way. Everyone sounds the same.
Like the James Blunt phenomenon?
There’s now this trend that’s more worrying to me - these female singer acts that pretend to be indie when actually they’re just turning out terrible pop music on the guise of being an indie band, and they’ve been manufactured by a label... Labels are looking for the attractive girl singer with a kind of ethereal look. and then a big soulful voice, and now they’re turning them out. I find those things frustrating, because then suddenly on the good radio station that I listen to, something by them will get on and I’m like, "No! You’ve tricked that radio station! They think you’re some little act but you’re not! You’re just phony!" Having said that, I’m sure people will say all this shit about me in a different context.
I mean, I was talking shit about you earlier today (laughs). I don’t blame you.
Let’s see…other things I would want to know would be fashion, what are you wearing? Can you tell me? Yes, I can, thankfully. This is AllSaints. I don’t know what the trousers are, let me look... that’s Topman.
Are you into fashion? No, but I’m styled (laughs). I’m doing a press conference after this, so you’ve got me looking nice. You would’ve caught me in jeans and a T-shirt if this were a regular day.
What is your biggest fear now and how has that changed since you first started out in the business? I didn’t have any fears when I started out. I was 11 (laughs).
What about life plans? Do you want to stay in New York or go back to London? I live in London, London is my home. I imagine that I’m going to be spending a lot of time going back and forth between the two, which is great.
One day have a brood of children. One day have a small army of children. I want a load of kids, I do. I want at least three, but I’d like more.
What’s your favorite place to be?
Do you have one of those space age mattresses?
Tempurpedic? No, I don’t. I'd be afraid it feels like being packed into Styrofoam and shipped somewhere.