A Daniel Radcliffe Movie List Inspired By the Birthday Boy’s Experimentation In Cinema After ‘Harry Potter’
Daniel Radcliffe earned worldwide fame as the boy wizard, the chosen one, Harry Potter in the mega-hit fantasy film franchise. And he has never not been famous ever since. With a career spanning decades, the actor has won not just popularity but also critical acclaim for his works in a post-Harry Potter world. But for someone who’s name is synonymous with Harry, he sure has done a lot to dislodge the onscreen image. After his initial breakout performance as a child star and eight consecutive blockbusters, the actor made some radical choices and with each choice, he refined and reinvented himself as an artist. In several interviews over the years, he has maintained that he doesn’t particularly dislike blockbuster scripts but does lean towards indie scripts as they pose a challenge and with it, tonnes of experimentation. His filmography up until now is proof he has gone experimental in a very big way since his years at Hogwarts.
You say you still can’t stop calling him Harry after all these years (read: always!) but everything he’s done after stepping out of the role actively proved he isn’t Harry Potter any more. On Daniel Radcliffe’s 31st birthday, I’m casting an appreciative glance on his increasingly versatile roles that leave the ‘box office hit’ bubble, shed his superstar image and highlight his growth as an actor. Here’s a movie list inspired by the birthday boy’s experimentation is cinema after Harry Potter.
Kill Your Darlings
You have seen Daniel Radcliffe in a coming-of-age story but not like this. In Kill Your Darlings (2013) Radcliffe takes on the role of Allen Ginsberg, a poet who wrote the revolutionary poem ‘Howl’ and spearheaded the Beat Generation, a literary movement starting in the ’40s. The actor plays a young Ginsberg portraying the character and all his obsessions with such compassion, it’s difficult to look away. As a beat poetry fan, I enjoyed this film immensely and if you’re a Daniel Radcliffe fan, you will too.
Swiss Army Man
Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse. Yup, I’m not even going to explain this movie any further because even if I do, you’ll still think its the wildest, most original thing you’ve ever seen. But what you will understand when you watch this movie is that Radcliffe can pretty much nail any role. This is undeniably his most challenging role, physically as well, I’m sure since he’s a dead guy washed up on an island. And his performance is so strikingly bold and undaunted, it exudes sheer brilliance from the minute he arrives on screen. You won’t regret your decision of watching this delightful example of transformation in spite of a restrictive character sketch. This film is the closest you’ll come to forgetting he’s Harry Potter.
A year after Kill Your Darlings, What If released in 2014 and it won many hearts. The movie wasn’t breaking new ground as such but it was an unusual choice for the actor. The romantic comedy is charming and gives the actor a role to let his sweet, endearing side shine. If anything, it came as proof that Radcliffe can do rom-coms if he wants to. Watch this if you want to see him in an easy summer movie. It is also worth mentioning the film has him jamming with Adam Driver before he became well, the Adam Driver we know today.
The Woman In Black
Okay, maybe I’m just biased towards a suited up Daniel Radcliffe with period drama hair, but he was a vision in The Woman In Black. The film was his first after Harry Potter and almost immediately he dived into a whole new world. The supernatural horror novel of the same name by Susan Hill doesn’t give you much to speak of but the actor’s quiet yet moving performance does. The film was just the beginning of the actor’s unpredictable filmography and a closer look at it will reveal all signs of a performer ready for more restrained performances. And he’s hot as a brooding man, so that’s always a bonus.
Imperium might not be as crazy in terms of physical transformation for Daniel but the character he plays gives him yet another opportunity to move away from the childish role he’s still associated with. The actor plays Nate Foster, a young FBI agent who is sent undercover as a neo-nazi to infiltrate a group of white supremacist terrorists. The role requires him to shave his head and if it isn’t symbolic of him shedding his early image as an actor, I don’t know what is. Imperium is yet another film that doesn’t stand out by itself but Daniel Radcliffe’s presence in it sure does.
Daniel Radcliffe continues to be an icon for many fans who have grown up with him, watching his films through the years, a decade sure is a long time to be playing a fictional character. But he’s so much more than that. More recently, the actor joined the rest of the Harry Potter alums to stand is total disagreement of J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments and stayed on the right side of the debate. So we can always add ‘role model’ to his impressive resume of versatile roles. And while we have spoken about his journey before, it is always amazing to see him escape the child star curse, keep his head in the game and go after what he loves with all his heart and skill-set. Happy Birthday Daniel Radcliffe “the boy who lived” up to all our expectations and found the most fitting space in cinema through clever experimentation.
Cover artwork: Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India