There are things about Daniel Radcliffe that you probably already know.
Thanks to the Harry Potter series he’s one of the most recognizable actors on earth. He is 5’5” tall, a published poet and is the youngest person, other than royalty, to be honoured with a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.
Here’s what you don’t know. He’s also remarkably reliable. In 10 years of shooting the Potter pictures, he only missed two days — and he’s polite.
For this interview he turned up early (when was the last time an international superstar was on time?) and greets your reporter with a hearty, “What a lovely surprise.”
He offers to help with my crossword — “I’m one of those people in life who probably really annoys serious crossword doers. I’m one of those people who comes up behind and goes, ‘That one you’re about to get? I’ve got it’” — and apologizes when he almost lets a curse slip.
He is not your typical superstar and his new romance, The F Word, is not a typical rom-com.
The 25-year-old actor says the story of a young man hopelessly in love with his best friend (Zoe Kazan) “has things a lot of films want, that combination of being sarcastic and quick and funny without being negative or cynical.”
“Zoe says a great thing,” he says of co-star Kazan.
“She talks about how in most romantic comedies the people meet and then there’s a getting-to-know-you montage, then they do whatever they’re going to do for the rest of the film. Our movie is basically that montage expanded to feature length, and that is what is so joyous about it. Those moments when you are getting to know someone and flirting with them, making them laugh, are so intimate and so exciting and so charged that as an audience it is wonderful to be allowed in to watch that and live through it again.”
Playing the lovesick romantic lead is something different for Radcliffe, who says he wants “to try my hand at as many things as possible.”
Since the final Potter film in 2011, he has appeared in everything from the beatnik drama Kill Your Darlings to the fantasy film Horns and will soon be seen as Igor in a new version of Frankenstein.
“Having played one character for a very long time,” he says, “that builds up in you a desire to play a number of different characters and do as much different work as you can. I want to show as many different sides of my ability as I can. Also I like that you can’t predict what my next thing is going to be.”
Unpredictable, yes, but still polite.