(Reuters) — From boy wizard Harry Potter to Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, actor Daniel Radcliffe has taken on a wide range of fantasy and period roles, but he finally steps into the real world with his latest film.
In the romantic comedy “What If,” out in U.S. theaters on Friday, Radcliffe plays Wallace, a young man damaged by previous romances who becomes enamored with a girl already in a steady relationship.
The 25-year-old British actor talked to Reuters about leaving “Potter” behind and proving his critics wrong.
Q: You have taken on action, fantasy and horror, but never a romantic comedy. What drew you to “What If”?
A: I had never done a contemporary project that was set in the world we are in that we recognize, I’ve never done that. “Potter” was in its own fantasy world and everything else I’ve done has been period films, so I’ve wanted to play somebody contemporary for a long time.
Q: What did playing Wallace allow you to explore?
A: This is the first time I’ve ever played a character that’s quite close to myself, not in terms of the decisions he makes or the way he goes about things, but just in terms of his sense of humor and his speed of thought.
I used to worry that playing myself, or that not playing somebody that different from myself, would make people think of “Harry Potter.” And then I realized I hadn’t been playing myself at all in “Harry Potter.” I was playing a very different, much sterner character than I am myself. So I think I let a bit of that embarrassment go, and it definitely made it easier.