06 June 2016

GQ magazine interview (US)

GQ magazine has interviewed Daniel about his upcoming projects (Now You See Me 2, Swiss Army Man) while he was on the set of Jungle in Colombia. The article is featured in GQ's June issue.

GQ: Why are you in Colombia right now?
Radcliffe: I'm filming uh, a film, which is based on a true story about a guy who got lost in the Amazon. It's sort of like The Revenant, but humid.

As a famous person, you're choosing lots of parts these days that involve solitude and getting away from civilization.
The group of people I'm out with is fucking awesome, so I'm having a really good time. This is an incredibly fun job, and it's very rare as an actor that you feel like you're earning your money, where you actually go home feeling physically like you've worked a really good day. We were filming by a river last week, and the river rose ten meters overnight, so three of our sets got washed away. It's not normal making a movie like we are, out in a fucking jungle.

Do you have lots of bugs and shit eating you out there?

There are bugs eating us, yes. But we were making this film about this guy who went into the jungle and struggled desperately to survive for three weeks. I'm not in any way a method actor, but if I'm playing a guy who's starving and I'm going home at night and tucking into a fucking pizza, I'm making it much harder for myself to do my job.

But you’re at a place where you don’t really have to take on rough shit like making movies in jungles if you don’t want to. So why do it?
I get a lot of credit that I don't deserve—people notice that I pick very different things more than they do with other actors, because I played one part for so long. Paul Dano (Radcliffe’s co-star in Swiss Army Man)…his career is fucking amazingly varied, and everybody I know wants the same thing, which is they want as diverse a career as possible. Like, it's my total ambition at some point in my life to be in some massive shitty big disaster movie. But I'm in an amazing position, which is that I have a certain amount of financial security and that allows me to do things that make me happy, and things that will fulfill me and challenge me, with people I'll have a good time with. You hear horror stories about actors all the time, and I've worked with so few of them compared to the amount of stories I've heard. I've been incredibly lucky, and I do believe life is too short to work with arseholes.

What was the worst story you heard?
I'm not obviously gonna say who the actor is, but I'll tell the story. I heard about an actor once who was filming on location somewhere, and they were playing a local cricket match, between the crew and the local team. And there was this little boy there who had made a balsa-wood cricket bat himself, and he was taking it round to everyone to sign. And then he went up to the lead of the film and said, “Can I have your autograph?” And he took this bat and broke it over his leg.

But I feel bad telling that story because most actors are not like that. I also don't believe that the film industry turns people into that. I think people just have that in them, and then the film industry tolerates and rewards that behavior more than most industries.

Are you amazed that you were such a huge star at such an early age and haven’t turned out to be a bastard?

I have that said to me a lot! People say to me, “I was so expecting you to be a dick.” It's incredible when the expectations are so low. In a way it's great, because pretty much everyone I've met in the last 10 years has expected me to be a complete twat. So it's easy to exceed that. It's not amazing to me I didn't grow up to be a twat, because I had great people around me.

I just saw Now You See Me 2 (in theaters June 10), and in it you're a rich young tech guru who's a spoiled dick. I think you do derive extra joy in playing a dick on screen specifically because you aren’t one.
Totally. You're absolutely right. Ricky Gervais talked to me about doing Extras for the first time. I was like, yes, please—finally, a chance to show that I have a fucking sense of humor about all this. Because you are confronted very regularly with the expectation that A) you're gonna be a dick, B) you're gonna fail, and C) “Do you really deserve this?”

How's fame been treating you? Has your fame settled down since Potter?
I think so. It took me a few years to work out my priorities. Now I pick things that I think will make me the most happy, and not try to think, “What's gonna be the most successful thing I can do?” You can be despondent about the fact that you're never gonna be in something that big again, but that's fucking idiotic. I've been in the most successful thing I ever will be in, and to me it's a huge relief. Because you just go, “Okay, that's literally never gonna happen again.”

Unless you're in, like, Star Wars: Rogue 12 or something.

Yeah, exactly. On the whole, nobody gets to be in films like that. It's such a tiny percentage of people who get to be in those films.

Would you do a Star Wars movie if you were asked?
I'd love to. I would jump at the chance. I have absolutely no tolerance for people who are not fucking delighted to be on set every day, because you should be.

I saw Swiss Army Man (in theaters nationwide July 1) last night and I was thinking that, because of the success you've had, that allows you the freedom to take on a real long shot like that movie if you want.
I think so. I've got friends who are all, “I just want to get a franchise. Then that allows me the freedom to do what the hell else I like the rest of the time.” If my girlfriend gets an audition, it doesn't matter what she thinks of the project. She's going to the audition, you know? And same with 99 percent of actors, so I'm in a very rare position of being able to go, No, I'm not into that so I'm not gonna do it

What made you want to play a farting corpse?
The farting didn't even enter my head as being a weird thing. I was really quite taken aback when we sound mastered it and it caused such a weird reaction in some people. [Many people at Sundance walked out of the initial screening, possibly because one of the opening scenes involves Paul Dano riding Radcliffe’s dead body like a jet ski, only powered by farts.] I can understand it being not for everyone, but controversial? It's not like we're making a massive racist remark. It was very strange to me but also kind of entertaining.

Were you upset by the negative reaction?

I remember there was one tweet—I'm not on Twitter. I don't get involved. But I did get sucked in over that period, and there was one tweet that did get under my skin, because it was a guy that was all pissed off. He hashtagged one of his tweets #makebettermovies, which I was just like, fucking—it's from a man who's never made a movie! The shittiest film you've ever seen has had such fucking hard work put into it! You can't say shit like that.

Isn't that amazing that one tweet can ruin your day just like that?
That's why I am not on Twitter. Part of me knows I would be someone who'd get in fights. If I had been on Twitter while that was going on, I would’ve gone, Fuck it, I'm tweeting him.

Are you ever tempted to be on Twitter anyway?
Not anymore. I do increasingly get asked on every job, “Can you set up a Twitter? Can you please promote off your Twitter?” I'm hoping that I have the fucking balls to stick to this, but I'm of the belief that that's not something I should have in my life. I don't think it's good for me. I think that I stay more sane the less I interact with the Internet. Are you gonna include the story sort of how I just randomly e-mailed you not realizing my entire name was on my e-mail account?

†Author's note: Radcliffe once cold e-mailed me a football question for my job over at Deadspin, and when I asked if it was REALLY him, he replied, “Um...yeah...kind of forgot my name was included in the e-mail. I'm really shit with technology and will probably change that now.”

††Author's note: I was SUPER cool about it. If you’re famous, you should e-mail me.

Well, I am now.†

I had no idea that when you sign up to Gmail, if you type in your name into your account, that's how it comes up when you e-mail everybody. And I was like, Oh, shit—now he's gonna think I'm trying to garner attention. I was very worried, so thank you for being so cool about it.††

In Swiss Army Man, you're struggling to talk because you're a corpse and you have to hang your head at a certain angle for long periods of time. How much did it hurt when you were playing it?
You get into this perverse state of enjoying the discomfort. And most of the time, I was actually probably much more comfortable than it looks on screen. Fucking Paul Dano was carrying me around! I'm not a big, heavy person, but I'm more weight than a backpack. The main challenge was making my character something that's not a zombie and more just like a magical dead guy, without making it just like something out of The Walking Dead or something. I don't watch The Walking Dead, so that may be a terrible reference.

Well, also, there's a sequence in the beginning where he has to ride you, so he's sitting on top of you but you're also in the water. How do they do that? Did they have to put a jet motor near your crotch to simulate the farting?
I'm conflicted to how much to reveal about this, but Jason Haima, who's our makeup chief…he made a prosthetic, uh, butt that had a pipe in it that you could blow air through. So that's how that worked. I don't wear the prosthetic butt. The prosthetic butt is cast and modeled on my butt, and then they film on that one really close in.

So you had to make a mold?

Yes, I did. Did you have to strip down and sit in a tub of jelly?
Yeah, you have to get your dick and balls out of the way.

Oh, man.
It involved covering me in a sort of liquid that then turns to a solid. It's actually not too bad on the hairs, but you do want to keep your junk out of the way.

That's dedication.

Oh, yeah, but it's also funny. I've been having molds done of various parts of my body since I was really young, so it was almost inevitable. Like, “Yeah, I guess this day was coming.”

They had to do your face and body for Harry Potter action figures and stuff?
They did our faces for Potter. They did my arm for Potter. They did a couple of full bodies for Potter over the years. They did a lot of teeth as well, because in the early years we were losing teeth constantly, so they did a mold of each in our mouths at the beginning of each film so that they could, in case we lost a tooth, they could suddenly make a new one and have that put in for a take.

Now that you've had the butt done, you have something in common with all the top porn stars.

Probably. For Swiss Army Man, did they also make you fart and groan on cue? Or did they add all the farts in post-production?
I definitely can't fart on cue. That is beyond me. They were all done later. The directors basically announced if anyone wanted to just go over to the sound recordist, Steve, and fart, he would record it and they would try and put it in the movie.

That's great.

I think they only ended up with, like, two, one from Paul Dano and then I believe our editor has a good one in there as well.

Could you see yourself not acting at some point? Taking a permanent break?

Not really. I don't think I could ever enjoy that if I wasn't in some way going back to contributing to a film in some way.

††† Author's note: We had this chat prior to Trump clinching the nomination. We should probably all panic a bit.

Since you're English and I'm American and you're abroad in Colombia right now, I just want you to know that everything going over here is fine. I just wanna reassure you about the Trump thing. It’s okay. Don't panic.

I do think it's gonna be fine. I love watching American politics. I don't think he's gonna be president. There are some crazy people who have led European countries. Like, I mean, Berlusconi. The stuff that guy did was mad! I do have to stop and remember every so often: How does it happen that the richest guy, who's famous for and glories in and loves his own snobbery about things and how much better he is…has managed to sell himself as a man of the people? It’s amazing, and so at the moment I'm still watching at a point of, “This is crazy and weird, but I don't think it's gonna amount to anything,” which is a fun place to watch it from. If it does start amounting to something, then I will be slightly scared. Let's just really hope that doesn't happen.†††

My daughter wanted me to ask you why you wanted to be an actor.
Because it was so much better than being at school!

source: gq.com