The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

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The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

Interview with a wizard; live press-conference with Daniel Radcliffe


by Emily Moore | Photo Editor

My entire childhood was consumed by three things: Star Wars, dinosaurs, and Harry Potter. So my massive excitement at the chance to witness, let alone be a part of, this monumental event was understandable. I mean, it’s not very often that the chance to attend a Daniel Radcliffe press conference presents itself.

Junior Emily Moore and senior Caitlyn Young showing off their prized tickets to the Daniel Radcliffe press-conference.

It all took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the annual Journalism Educators Association, or JEA, convention.  Our wonderful advisor, Velisa Jewett, was given two tickets. After scouring our group for the biggest, and most obvious Harry Potter fans, senior Caitlyn Young and myself were chosen. I honestly felt like I had just been given a golden ticket; without all the chocolate to mess with.

After being herded like cattle into the massive auditorium, it really started to hit me. This was Daniel Radcliffe we were talking about, Harry Potter, the boy in the cupboard under the stairs.  Without being born on Pivet Drive, this chance was systematically impossible to ever happen again.

A few minutes passed as the rest of the lucky young journalists were making their way into the chilly space, and the trailer for Radcliffe’s newest film, The Woman In Black, was still stuck on repeat. Don’t get me wrong, that trailer was pretty swell. It had every component that is necessary for a successful thriller movie: prolonged silence, dramatic music, and of course, a killer lead male role. But, I wasn’t there to watch some movie trailer. I was there to, finally, meet one of my childhood idols.

Eventually, he showed up. It was pure chaos. I honestly thought that we had all been gypped and Justin Bieber had showed up instead. Fortunately, he did not. The person that did show up was in fact Daniel Radcliffe. Piercingly beautiful blue eyes, dashing British accent and all.

Once the girlish squealing stopped, the intense questioning began. Since it was actually a press conference for The Woman In Black, and not Radcliffe’s more popular role in Harry Potter, the questions were limited to the amount of Hogwarts jargon used; but, as expected, a few answers were accio-ed out of the young wizard.

Moving on to The Woman In Black brought about a new side of Radcliffe, and forced him to think with a new perspective.

“I think this film as a whole is definitely the darkest film I’ve ever done. I mean, Potter has a lot of dark moments but there was so much comedy and light relief and romance for people, so it wasn’t just unmitigated darkness for two and a half hours. This film is different in all those ways. It’s an hour and a half of keeping of tension and suspense the whole time. As far as the part, there are a few differences, but it wasn’t that hard to prepare for. This film is also the least verbal part I’ve ever had. I mean, there’s about twenty minutes in the middle of this film with no talking whatsoever. It’s just me walking around this house, and I must say, it’s the most compelling, exciting twenty minutes of the film. Oh, and I don’t take any credit for that, it’s all the directors. I guess the biggest difficulty for the this film is that I am a very high energy person, I always have a lot of energy, so to play a character that has such low energy because the life has basically been taken out of him by circumstances of his life, and so he has very little energy and is in a state of depression. Which I think leads to a sense of fatigue and exhaustion. I was talking to a group of my friends about the topic of depression, and the thing that comes up again and again is just how exhausting it is; how it is an effort to get out of bed in the morning. That’s where you find my character in the beginning of the film. So yeah, there was a lot of good, different things to explore and to challenge me.” Radcliffe said.

Since the film is a thriller; the chance of the film set scaring Radcliffe himself was always a possibility. In reality, the set was more technical than frightful.

“I’m not sure. I mean, it’s one of those awful things where people say ‘Did anything funny happen? Did anything scary happen?’ and you just want to go ‘Oh, plenty of times,’ but no. In terms of anything actually being scary, I was walking around the house when we were filming one day, and I just happened to look past a room, and out of the peripheral of my vision I glimpsed the woman in black for just a second, and then I looked back and it was just the costume laying on a chair. So it wasn’t one of those scary moments where you become literally afraid of the set, it was just a momentary lapse,” Radcliffe said.

One of the main cores of the film is the existence of ghosts, and the integrated sense of the supernatural. Being dejected to this, Radcliffe began to question his personal belief.

“I really, really started to believe that I believed. I sometimes wished that I did, because I don’t have any belief in the supernatural, but I’m getting asked about it a lot so I might have to come up with some stories.” Radcliffe said.

Since Harry Potter has been such a substantial aspect of Radcliffe’s life, it would be seen as difficult to pull out of those natural tendencies of relying on the character traits implied with that role.

“When I started looking at this film, I saw that it was a thriller, and I thought great. I spent a lot of time looking frightened as Harry, that’s just his thing. Playing Harry definitely is so reactive for so much of the film, he is reacting to so much fear a lot of the time; making me appear how I did as Harry most of the time. I was relieved to find that I don’t look that much like Potter in this film. People think I look differently than I did most of the time. Something I’ve become very conscious of is how I look, and knowing that this is a different character and so I’ve got to act and I’ve got to look a different way.” Radcliffe said.

As any celebrity has witnessed, and experienced first-hand, fans have a way of crossing the line. Radcliffe’s experiences are comical as well as intimidating.

“There have been a few actually. There was actually one recently when this young guy came to the theater, and Alan Rickman had just opened at the show down the road. This guy came up to the stage saying that he was Alan Rickman’s son and that he was there to meet me. Which, I knew was false because Alan doesn’t have any kids. Then he spent the next two hours trying to think of different ways to get into the theater, until he eventually just bought a ticket a walked in. So that was pretty odd. I’ve had people attempt to jump into the car after I’ve gotten in; sometimes through the door, sometimes through the window. The craziest ever was when I was twelve or thirteen and I was doing a press tour for the second Harry Potter film. I went to Japan, and that was frightening. I arrived there at the airport, and there were five thousand people waiting for me in the arrival lounge. So I remember as a thirteen year old that being pretty intimidating.” Radcliffe said.

Being a part of the film industry for as long as he has, Radcliffe has been subjected to a much altered lifestyle than most people his age. These alterations started as young as ten when Radcliffe landed a role in BBC One’s television production of David Copperfield, and include missing most of his high school experience.

“I don’t regret the fact that I wasn’t subjected to that, I mean that’s not an issue. I don’t feel like I missed out on that much. When I was in school, I was very enthusiastic and very nice, but I was just horrible at everything. You know, academically I was below average and in terms of sports, that was just way beyond me. Then, on Potter, I was suddenly seeing a tutor one to one, and the great thing about that environment is that all of the teachers time is on you. So, if you find something interesting, you don’t have to do all the extraneous curriculum, you can just spend time on that for a while. It was just a more natural and easy learning environment. I think that is where I developed a love for knowledge and curiosity. In school, I hated it. So I’m glad that I had acting as an outlet. I lucked out, you know, I got the greatest job in the world at the age of eleven.” Radcliffe said.


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Interview with a wizard; live press-conference with Daniel Radcliffe