Daniel Radcliffe has literally grown up in front of millions of fans playing the title character in the “Harry Potter” films. The star talked to ComingSoon.net on the set of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and briefly filled us in on what we can expect from the fifth installment.
ComingSoon.net: This is a lot darker for your character particularly, you’re angry and having to deal with a lot of things. Can you talk about that?
Daniel Radcliffe: I think Harry goes through what every teenager goes through in a way, at that stage. Of course Harry’s feelings are exacerbated by the fact that he has had all of these troubles in his life and has had people try to kill him at numerous times. (laughs). He is incredibly angry all the time. We did a scene the other day where he confesses to Sirius about how he actually feels, how he feels angry constantly and how he thinks he is possibly turning into a bad person. There’s a lot going on inside his head and I think that, for me as an actor, it makes it more interesting to do and I think for an audience it becomes a more charismatic character to watch.
CS: In the last movie, the big thing you go to do was the underwater sequences, the scuba work. Is there something comparable on this film that you get to do or is it not that kind of film?
Radcliffe: On an emotional level, there is much bigger stuff that I have to do in the fifth film like, obviously, what happens to Sirius and Harry’s reaction to that. But there are no major action physical set pieces other than of course the final standoff between Voldemort and Harry and Harry and the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix. That’s going to be pretty spectacular.
CS: Were you sad to learn that Quidditch wasn’t going to be in this one?
Radcliffe: I wasn’t actually particularly disappointed because Quidditch is a very, very painful thing to film so every time I read a new Harry Potter book and there’s a bit where either Harry gets banned from the team or Quidditch is cancelled, part of me is going “Yes!” (laughs) But I hope the fans won’t miss it too much, because of course in this book, Harry is stopped from playing Quidditch and it has fallen by the wayside in this one, very definitely.
CS: Are your scenes with Umbridge appropriately nasty?
Radcliffe: Yes, definitely. They are very, very dark and also very exciting and brilliant. Imelda Staunton is one of the reasons why doing this film has been my favorite. She’s just an amazing actress and a really delightful woman.
CS: We hear she’s really nice so is it hard to have such tension with her?
Radcliffe: The thing is, she’s also just a fantastic actress, so she can make you hate her within a few seconds really. [She] becomes this very damaged, very unpleasant character. So no, it wasn’t really… that part wasn’t hard actually.
CS: I am sorry to ask you about this, but you know we have to…
Radcliffe: Is it the kiss?
CS: …the big kiss.
Radcliffe: Right. (laughs)
CS: Can you talk about shooting that? How was that for you?
Radcliffe: There’s been this thing in the papers recently in England where I’ve been [quoted as] saying “Oh, I had to kiss Katie thirty times.” I just want to clarify, you normally have to do about thirty takes on any scene, if it’s a scene like Darla walking up the stairs of whatever because you just end up doing it from loads of different angles. So we did that and it was fun. At first, me and Katie were both very nervous about it but after about take 4 or 5, we didn’t care anymore really so it was fine.
CS: During filming, do you ever re-read part of the books to help you better understand how your character is feeling in certain scenes? Do you let your knowledge of events that are going to happen in the sixth book influence your reaction?
Radcliffe: No. That I never do, just simply because in real life no one knows what’s going to happen to them in a couple of years and so it would be very wrong to play Harry with the foreknowledge of what’s going to happen to him. As for re-reading the books, I tend not to. The time for me to read the book is in the early stages of pre-production, just in case, so that when I get the script I can read it and if there’s anything that’s been left out, I can go back to them and say “there is this scene which I think is fantastic and I’d love that to be in the film” and if it’s appropriate, then it will be worked in. Reading the book during the making of the film is something that I don’t do, simply because I am so busy reading the script and learning the lines.
CS: Can you talk about working with David Yates and how he compares to the previous directors? They all have different styles.
Radcliffe: Yes. David is the other reason this film has probably been the most fun for me to do. He’s sort of pushed me further and more often than any of the other directors to date have and that’s not to be detrimental to the other directors because actually if they had tried to push me then I wasn’t really capable of doing it, because I was younger and less experienced. Now though I am at a stage where I can do that and David is taking advantage of that. It is fantastic, I’ve loved working with him.