by Dana Matthews
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
For former Teen Vogue cover boy Daniel Radcliffe, life after starring in eight Harry Potter mega-movies means pursuing his indie dreams. We sat down with the 24-year-old actor at this year's Toronto International Film Festival to chat about his role as a young Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings (a must-see!) and the difference between working on his art-house film projects and growing up on the massive Harry Potter set. The star (and very unexpected self-proclaimed NFL fan) also opened up on his definition of success-it will surprise you!
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Kill Your Darlings is such a different project for you. What drew you to this role?
The brilliant script. It's about Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs, and as you read the script, they just become Will, Jack, and Allen. It's much more about their lives and you stop caring who they are. You could take out the fact that these guys were in a great literary movement and it'd still be a fascinating story to tell. The fact that it's the true story of something that actually gave birth to a generation of writers makes it more interesting.
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What research did you do for your part?
I read Allen Ginsberg's diaries that he kept for a long time. In the diaries, he's full of confidence and full of persona bravado. He says, 'I know I'm a genius, I just have to wait and find out what form my genius is going to take.' He was incredibly confident, but you feel like in his diary that he's almost writing for other people to read once he has become a great man, because he knew he was going to become a great man. It's a very interesting aspect of a character to, at 17, have that much confidence in your own intellect but also kind of be crippled by self-doubt and insecurities. He met Lucien Car [played by Dane DeHaan] and fell in love with him, because he had many of the qualities Allen didn't. He seems overtly confident, but he's actually making up for Lucien's own deficient, which is that he can't write for himself. Allen is a genius of his inner life.
You had two other films premiere at TIFF, Horns and The F Word. What is the difference between working on the Harry Potter series and working on indie films?
There a lot fewer people on set with indies. But films are always chaos. Everyone assumes because Potter had time and money, it was really efficient. Not the case at all. The more time and money you have, the more you will probably waste. Time and money give you the luxury of not having to make a decision right away. With smaller films, the decisions have to get made. They have no money and time so you actually end up with great momentum on set and you film really quickly.
Are there any similarities?
Ultimately, every film crew is the same and every film is the same. It's a group of people, some who know each other, some of whom don't, who get together for a period of time and bring something ordered and beautiful out of chaos. But that's the fun of it. That's one of the reasons I love my job and I love the industry-you get to watch that journey.
You really are passionate about your craft!
Every time I step onto a set with a new director, there's something new to watch. They all have a different way of working, and they'll do something and I'll go, "That's freaking amazing!" I want to do that when I direct. It's a constant learning process and I find it fascinating.
As a leading man on set, what's the tone you like to set for everyone?
Be hard working and professional. Turn up on time. Know your lines. Be aware of other people's jobs. Everyone has an equal part to play in making the film what it will become. The way a lot of actors conduct themselves is that their job is the most important job on set, but it's only the most important job to them.
What advice do you have for young people trying to achieve their dream?
It all depends on what your definition of success is, because the only one that matters is the one you set yourself. People can say I'm successful-I've had a very charmed life and I've been very lucky to have done the things that I've done-but at the same time, I was never 100% happy with the work I did during Potter. My definition of success is about making a transition out of Potter and forging a long-term career for myself with longevity. Define success on your own terms and don't give up until you get there.
What do you do in your spare time when you're not shooting movies?
I'm a huge NFL fan. I will be watching the whole season!
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by Dana Matthews