Can Daniel Radcliffe's return to the London stage in 'Cripple' allow him to shake off Harry Potter forever?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

The time is coming - maybe sooner than you expect - when you look at Daniel Radcliffe and don't think "Harry Potter."

The 23-year-old actor has gone from boy wizard to Broadway hoofer to Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, whom he plays in new film Kill Your Darlings. He has several wildly different films lined up, and is soon to take to the London stage as star of Martin McDonagh's barbed comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan.

The play gives audiences the chance to see Radcliffe in yet another new light, as Billy, a disabled orphan in 1930s Ireland who harbours an unlikely dream of Hollywood stardom.

Cripple, which opens in June for a 12-week run, is part of a West End season of plays overseen by director Michael Grandage, who has assembled an A-list company of actors that includes Radcliffe, Ben Whishaw, Judi Dench and Jude Law.

First staged in 1996, the play is a typically potent mix of comedy and cruelty from the writer-director of the violent, witty movies "In Bruges" and "Seven Psychopaths."

"He walks that line between tragedy and comedy so brilliantly," Radcliffe said of McDonagh.

"I think one of the hilarious things about this play is, by our standards today, how politically incorrect it is," said the actor, looking lean if a tad tired — he's been at the gym, working out ahead of rehearsals for the play — in the troupe's office atop a West End playhouse. "So much of the comedy is just people being relentlessly cruel to Billy.

"I'm trying to write something at the moment, and it's just so dark, and I think it's funny, but I'm not sure if anybody else ever would. I aspire to be a poor man's Martin McDonagh."

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the one-time boy wizard is a fan of the edgier end of comedy — and that he's working on a screenplay. His entire post-Potter career feels designed to wrong-foot anyone seeking to pigeonhole him.

The play is Radcliffe's first time on the West End stage since his 2007 run in "Equus," Peter Shaffer's play about a troubled stable boy who blinds horses. It featured the then-teenage actor in a nude scene, which triggered a deluge of "Harry Potter's Wand" headlines. But critics praised the young actor's brave and committed performance.

Radcliffe said Equus was "a signal of intent as to what I wanted to do."

"I didn't just want to take an easy way out of this. I wanted to really try and take risks and make a career for myself."

Since then, he's mixed movies and theater work, including a 2011 Broadway run as a scheming businessman in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

He's shot three films due to come out in the next year. Kill Your Darlings, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, stars Radcliffe as Ginsberg — Beat poetry, gay sex scenes and all. Radcliffe says he's never been prouder of a piece of work.

He's also filmed The F Word, which he calls a "very funny, very sweet but also very smart" romantic comedy from Canadian director Michael Dowse.

"I don't want to say (I'm) playing myself, exactly," Radcliffe said, "but (I'm) playing a character that's fairly high-anxiety, slightly hyperactive guy."

He's especially excited about Horns, a film by French horror auteur Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha) about a bereaved man who grows devilish horns that allow him access to the thoughts and feelings of others.

"It's a love story, it's a revenge movie, it's a horror movie in parts — it's going to be crazy," said Radcliffe, who made an earlier foray into horror movies with The Woman in Black.

Next up, he will star as mad-scientist's assistant Igor in Max Landis' pop-culture spin on the Frankenstein story.

All in all, it's an eclectic list of projects. Radcliffe says there is a philosophy guiding his career choices, but "it's very basic. It's just what excites me. It's what gets me interested."

"Hopefully later on this year people will start to see some very different performances from me. And hopefully some really good movies," he said. "It's about the movie as a whole, not just people studying my performance and seeing how I'm getting different and how I'm growing up."

Radcliffe accepts that fascination with how he's growing up is unlikely to fade altogether. But he seems comfortable with the Harry Potter legacy, happy to have made the often tricky transition from child star to adult actor.

The "Harry Potter" moviemakers have been praised for creating a stable creative home for their young stars, who went from preteens to adults over the course of eight films released between 2001 and 2011.

"I feel like everyone wanted Potter to be more of a handcuff than it actually was," said the resolutely well-adjusted Radcliffe.

"I think Harry Potter is going to be around for a while — a long while — but as long as it doesn't inhibit me getting parts in the present time, then it's fine. It's a lovely association to have, because it's something I'm incredibly proud of.

"People always say, 'Don't you just want to forget about it?' No! That was my entire adolescence."

AP

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all