21 December 2017

Collider.com's interview with Daniel Radcliffe

The documentary film Circus Kid is available exclusively on Sundance Now in the US starting today, 21st December. Below you can read Collider's interview with producer Jennifer Westeldt and Daniel, who's executive producer together with Karen Lehner.

Collider:  How did you get involved with Circus Kid?
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: Lorenzo and I first worked together when I did Equus in New York. I think it was the first Broadway show in which he had ever had it in his contract that he would have his own dressing room, which is always a nice thing for an actor. And then, he didn’t get to enjoy that because I invaded his dressing room for basically the entire run. I just thought he was amazing and I wanted to hang out, so he had me, as a 19-year-old groupie going, “Tell me more stories about the circus!

Can you juggle?”
He became a huge part of my life, specifically my life in New York, and has become an incredible friend who I’ve turned to for advice and sanity, at various points in my life. I’d like to think that I’ve been a sounding board for him, as well, sometimes. Personally, I adore him, but professionally, he’s somebody that I’ve gone to because his physical work is so amazing. I’ve gone to him when I was doing Frankenstein and Swiss Army Man, and quite physical roles. I go to him to work on ideas with him because I know I can fall on myself in front of him and I don’t mind. Also, I am in the process of writing a script, which I haven’t in many years, and when we’ve done readings of it, he came and read one of the main parts for me. He’s somebody who’s supported me in my career, and particularly my post-Potter career.

So, when we were doing Equus, I saw Humor Abuse, which was the play that he did that pre-existed the documentary. It was a wonderful show, but it was a very physical show. Lorenzo is at a point, in his career, where he’s still very capable and he can still do a standing back flip, if he needs to, but he would prefer not to have to. So, I saw the very early version of the show and I saw the final version when it was in L.A., but after that was done, he wanted to continue telling the story and tell a version of the story that focused even more on his relationship with his dad, in a way that reached more people. The first few years of my relationship with Lorenzo, I would describe as ice packs and tiger balm. He’s an amazing performer. Circuses are incredible and the range of talent in there is so extraordinary.

So, to have something that combined all the fun of the circus with this very reflective, self-aware man, who was also willing to go in-depth on his childhood and on his relationship with his parents was really beautiful. Both of us have had what other people would probably regard as a slightly abnormal childhood, but we’re both really grateful for it because it made us how we are. The range of experience and the range of people that we encountered was a big influence on both of us. Of course, there were difficult times in Lorenzo’s life, but he’s always been incredibly grateful for what that childhood gave him, as I have been, as well.

Daniel, how did you originally find out about Lorenzo’s previous life in the circus? Is it something that he readily shares with people?
RADCLIFFE: He doesn’t shy away from it, but he doesn’t promote it about himself. When I met him, Lorenzo was transitioning from mainly circus and physically-based stuff into more straight acting, but he wasn’t shy about it. When we did Equus, there’s one role that was double cast, which is the main horse, Nugget, that Alan has a particularly intense relationship with and there’s a physical relationship with him. So, I was literally on Lorenzo’s back, and standing up and carrying me around that stage was a lot of his job on that show. All the while, he’d wear these insane stilts that he would have to balance on while carrying me. He played that part, and he played the young horseman on the beach, which is another part of the play where he had to put me on his back.

On day one of rehearsal, we were split into two groups. There was the horse group, who were learning their choreography in one room, and then all of the actors were in another room, doing the body of the play. Lorenzo was the one going between both rooms. At one point, I went into the other room to look. All of the horses had been cast because they were dancers, and I think Thea [Sharrock], our director, thought Lorenzo was a dancer, as well. I went in there on the first day, and all of the dancers were walking around on these stilts and being amazing, and Lorenzo was panting and like, “Oh, my god, this is hard! I’m not a dancer. I don’t know if Thea knows that.” But like with everything in Lorenzo’s career, a physical challenge is only a physical challenge for as long as he hasn’t mastered it, and by the end of the week, he had. I would go up to his room, all the time, and find out more and more about his life and how extraordinary it was.

At one point, during Equus, he was doing that very early version of the stage play and he invited us to see it. It was a 90-minute show in a circus tent, down by the river and in front of maybe a hundred people maximum, and it was still one of the most special theatrical experiences and memories I’ve ever had. I think I knew Lorenzo for years before I found out that he speaks a couple of other languages, plays multiple instruments, and tap dances. I went up to Lorenzo and said, “I thought you weren’t a dancer!” And he said, “Well, I can do a bit of tap.” He’s one of those obscenely talented people that has got so many talents that he doesn’t even really regard them as talents anymore. One of the lovely things about him is that he doesn’t really know how special he is. He’s an incredible performer.

This is such a deeply personal story that is also unique, touching and absolutely fascinating. What did you learn about Lorenzo, from watching this film?
RADCLIFFE: I think there’s something very brave about going to your parents and asking them the questions that you’ve always wanted to ask them. Not necessarily because the answers will be bad, but because there are probably answers in your head that you want to hear and the likelihood of actually hearing them is very, very slim. That’s why my admiration for him went up, even more. I’ve met his mom, in real life, a couple of times, and she’s a wonderful woman, but it was very funny and sweet to watch her having this moment of realization and saying, “Yeah, I guess it was weird when we sent you off at 13 to work. That’s not something that would happen now.” I’ve not met Lorenzo’s father, so watching that interview, for the first time, was really special. I think there’s a certain amount of catharsis for anybody, male or female, who’s ever gotten the opportunity to ask a parent those questions. I talk about this film in terms of fathers and sons because that’s a big dynamic. I do think, for any child of any parent, there’s something about watching anyone go and find out what was going on in their past.

source: collider.com

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