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Grown-up Radcliffe is all business on Harry Potter set Tue. Jul. 14 2009 Constance Drogances, entertainment writer, CTV.ca

HarryPotterIt’s a mistake many Harry Potter fans make. They look at Daniel Radcliffe and think “Wow, he’s so like Harry. He’s grown up before our eyes just like him.”

Yes and no, says 19-year-old Radcliffe.

“Everyone always says he’s grown up on screen. No, I haven’t. Harry has. I’ve been quietly doing my growing up away from the cameras,” Radcliffe told Canada AM movie critic Richard Crouse on Tuesday.

Starring in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth entry in Warner Bros.’ golden film franchise, Radcliffe, Emma Watson (Hermione), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Tom Felton (Malfoy) return to the big screen after a two-year absence.

Much has happened since audiences last watched these kids wield their wands in 2007’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are terrorizing the Muggle and wizarding worlds. Teenage hormones are wreaking havoc at Hogwarts. It all makes for a wicked blend of laughter and drama in what critics have dubbed the scariest Potter movie yet.

“I have a laugh with the crew and the cast. But when it comes to work I’m very serious about it,” says Radcliffe, who turns 20 on July 23.

Speaking with clarity and confidence, Radcliffe calls working with Gary Oldman in “Order of the Phoenix” a pivotal experience in his career. It brought about an enormous shift in the young actor, both personally and professionally.

“It was the first time I ever went, ‘Oh, I’m good there. I’m proud of the work that I did there. I haven’t really felt that before or since. But I’ve felt it once. That was enough to sustain me,” he laughs.

Radcliffe owes one of his favourite set memories to Richard Harris. The late, great Irish actor portrayed Professor Dumbledore in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001), the first film based on J.K. Rowling’s books.

Harris complained about being given the wrong scene to learn. Eleven-year-old Radcliffe bravely walked up to the disgruntled legend and said, “Excuse me, Mr. Harris. Would you mind running my lines with me?”

“It was a moment of what I will unashamedly call dramatic political genius,” says Radcliffe. “I am still very, very proud of that moment. I haven’t done anything nearly like it since.”

As for discovering joy on the job, Radcliffe points again to Oldman, whose brilliant career includes such films as “Sid and Nancy” (1986), “Dracula” (1992), “Batman Begins” (2005) and “The Dark Knight” (2008).

Oldman gave Radcliffe his first insight into “real” acting while working together on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004).

“It was the moment where I realized a kind of joyous and rewarding thing about acting,” says Radcliffe. “The more you give it, the harder you work, the more seriously you take it the more fun it becomes.”

As the maturing star says, “It gives something back to you. Yeah, it’s lovely.”

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