x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Daniel Radcliffe returns in the horror The Woman in Black

As ghost film The Woman in Black arrives in cinemas, the actor is in no rush to banish his Harry Potter heritage.

Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black.
Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black.

It would be easy to run away from your bespectacled alter-ego when you have fronted this generation's biggest movie franchise, yet Daniel Radcliffe is in no rush to banish his Harry Potter heritage.

At the tender age of 22, this fresh-faced British actor insists he will always be "proud and honoured" to have starred in the eight movies that established him as an international superstar at an unnaturally early age, even though typecasting may be an inevitable by-product.

It will be hard for this acting protégé to shake association with such a groundbreaking brand, yet that did not stop him fielding a host of questions on his Harry Potter odyssey as he promoted his latest project, The Woman in Black, in London.

The gothic ghost tale, which is now playing in UAE cinemas, sends chills down even the most warm of spines. The Woman in Black provides Radcliffe a dramatic breakaway from his previous persona and while it has been hailed as a triumph for its leading actor, he accepts his youthful wizardry will haunt him in a positive way forever.

"Even if this movie becomes a major film and everything I do from here is a huge success, I'm always going to be seen as Harry Potter by some people and I'm perfectly happy with that," begins Radcliffe. "I'd never say I don't want to talk about a set of movies that made US$6 billion (Dh22bn) around the world, while I am trying to move on from that fantastic chapter of my career with The Woman in Black. I don't expect people to watch this and forget what I've done before.

"Hopefully, I get to do some work that earns me respect for something else in the years to come, but I'll always be proud to be associated with the Potter movies. They gave joy to millions of people, which is a wonderful legacy for all of us."

Radcliffe has certainly been bold in identifying his post-Potter career path, with his appearance in the London play Equus requiring him to shed all his inhibitions (not to mention his clothes), while this latest project puts another different shade on his acting abilities.

Playing the role of a young single father in a haunting tale that sees Radcliffe come of age, he warns this film is "not one for kids" as he concedes the success after its initial opening in the UK has taken him by surprise.

"Everyone pays a lot of attention to how much money a movie makes in the first weekend and The Woman in Black was tipped to make £8m, but it made nearly treble that amount and that means loads of people wanted to see it," says a smiling Radcliffe. "What I like about this film is it gives me a good start after Potter. I look very different in this movie, the role I play is completely contrasting to what I'm known for, yet I constantly remind myself that fame can disappear as quickly as it came for me.

"The way I see it, you are only as good as your last piece of work. If I do some bad work from here, no one will want to know about me any more, so it's important I make the right choices from now on.

"For me, the main ambition is to make sure I keep working, taking on fresh challenges and working with new people. This is all I have known since I was 10 years old and I don't want to stop acting just because money is no longer a motivation."

Questions about his relationship with his girlfriend Rosie Coker are handled with the sort of politeness few in Radcliffe's position may offer when being probed by a stranger recording his every word, but he has clearly become used to growing up in the eyes of the watching world.

"It was odd initially when people were interested in my private life and I had to smile when there were stories in the media questioning whether I was gay," says Radcliffe. "I've always been open about everything in my life, so when photos appeared of me and Rosie together, I just confirmed we were dating and that was the end of it.

"Rosie is very patient to put up with my busy personality and the mess I tend to leave everywhere I go. I think she loves all the bits about me that I hate, such as my oddness and the way I talk incessantly. She makes me very happy."