Daniel Radcliffe became a major star with his recurring lead role in the Harry Potter films, but in a new interview with The Daily Mail, the 25-year-old admits he’s embarrassed by some of those formative, high-profile performances. “It’s hard to watch a film like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because I’m just not very good in it,” he told the publication. “I hate it. My acting is very one-note, and I can see I got complacent, and what I was trying to do just didn’t come across.”
Radcliffe says his best Potter performance came in the fifth installment, 2007’s Order of the Phoenix, because he “can see a progression.” And overall, he acknowledges the “blessing” of landing the role since “it gave [him] this opportunity to start a fantastic career.” Still, he regrets that his acting development happened in front of the entire world: “But then the moments I’m not as proud of, mistakes other actors get to make in rehearsal rooms or at drama school, are all on film for everyone to see.”
The actor admits he felt a pressure to escape the Potter role and become a “real actor.” And his solution, briefly, was escaping through casual sex and whiskey. (He even showed up drunk to the set of the final Potter film, 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2).
“I don’t think I was consciously trying to rebel or sabotage everything,” he says, while also admitting he was “a really annoying, loud, inappropriate, messy drunk.” “It felt more like there isn’t any blueprint for how to get through this. And the reason I spoke out about it was because I felt someone else would and I should take control…which is exactly what I did.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Radcliffe talks about how he went about escaping the family-friendly Harry Potter stereotype, and it involved, er, unsheathing his wand for his stage debut in Equus at age 17. Going full-frontal even earned the actor a spot in an honorary actors club that requires its members (including Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, James McAvoy) to have been fully naked on stage.
“James says that I definitely get top spot for what I did in Equus, which was effectively stand there completely naked for about 10 minutes. Ten minutes is a hell of a long time – and I was out there at the center of the stage.”
“When you take your clothes off – whoever you are – there is very little acting going on,” he continues. “You are standing on a stage thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m naked. They are all looking at my bits.’ They are in the audience thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s naked. Look at his bits.’ There are mobile phones up in the air but you are trying not to notice. It’s the weirdest thing because you are absolutely dreading it, yet you are doing it voluntarily and then you have to do it again and again and again…”