Daniel Radcliffe — whose latest step in the path to breaking away from his “Harry Potter” alter ego is his romantic comedy debut, “What If” — turned 25 in late July. In the lead up to the film’s Aug. 8 release the former child star chatted with Wonderwall about being too boring for the paparazzi, why his birthday is always kind of a bummer, his go-to romantic gesture, those horrible hair extensions and more. Keep reading for the highlights.
On being too boring for the paparazzi:
“Going to a club filled with celebrities and with paparazzi hanging out outside is not my idea of fun. I wouldn’t be able to have a good evening knowing that there are a lot of people waiting to take photos outside. So I guess I’m kinda selective about where I go. But other than that, there is no secret to [staying off the radar]. Sometimes paparazzi find out where you are or take pictures, but on the whole, generally I live sort of too low-key a life for them to be particularly interested in me — which is great!”
On why his birthday is kind of a bummer:
“It is weird to think of me turning 25, I suppose, to certain people. I think I’m gonna be in the unenviable position of forever making people feel really old because any time somebody asks me how old I am and I tell them, it just depresses them nowadays. I think that’s gonna stick around for a while.”
On making romantic gestures:
“I think the smaller moments are generally the ones that make up a relationship on the whole rather than grand romantic gestures. I’ve visited people and surprised people before, but not quite to the degree of just surprising them in another country [like his character in 'What If']. I was raised to do stuff like [opening doors for women] and to stand up if a woman comes to the table — you should obviously stand and introduce yourself rather than just sitting. Whether that counts as romantic or just polite, I’m not sure.”
On the hair extensions he was forced to endure earlier this year:
“I won’t lie, I was very happy to be back to looking normal. I honestly don’t know how or why any man would choose to grow his hair that long voluntarily. If you don’t look after hair like that well or regularly, you end up looking like a mess very, very quickly –which I was kind of fine with. … I actually liked the long hair for my own personal life for walking around because it makes me a lot less recognizable. But generally speaking, I was definitely very happy to have them taken out and to be back to my own short hair. By the time I was taking them out, I was so ready to get them out that the slight pain of having them all pulled out was worth it.”
On male Hollywood sex symbols, a topic his character discusses in ‘What If’:
“I suppose George Clooney really [is the ideal]. He’s sort of the epitome of cool and that Hollywood leading man thing. But I do think Bruce Willis is a pretty good analogy. He’s sort of pumped up to be the archetypal Hollywood leading man action hero kind of guy. But he’s also a really good actor as well. I think it’s good to look up to him.”
On whether or not he thinks men and women can ever really be just friends:
“I think they absolutely can. I’ve got loads of platonic friendships with female friends. I think the real question is whether friends who are very romantically or sexually attracted to each other can ever just be friends. I think that is a different issue. If you’re falling in love with somebody, you’re never going to be able to keep that to yourself entirely for the rest of your life. You’re either gonna have to talk to them and deal with it, have a conversation about it — or talk to them and then have them stop talking to you.
On how he unwinds during his time off from work and how he maintains his energy in spite of his hectic schedule:
“I watch a lot of sports. I’m very busy, so with any of my time off, I generally just try to see friends and catch up with people ’cause those moments where you can just sit down with friends and chat and catch up are few and far between. So that’s how I relax and have fun really. And in terms of keeping my energy up: I was just born a quite energetic person — and it’s suited me very well throughout my career!”
On his surprising love of American football:
“I’m a huge, massive American football fan. The Giants are my team, but I’ll watch any game. I love it — college football as well. I’ve gotten into hockey recently. I really like that. The two things I just can’t seem to get into really are baseball and basketball. … I don’t really have the attention span for [them]. The last two minutes of any basketball game are always kinda tense and great, but I could do without watching the rest of it.”
Daniel Radcliffe on playing a normal guy for the first time in his film ‘What If’:
“It was lovely. It was incredibly refreshing to play somebody who lives in this century and is just on the whole a very normal guy. … It was unlike any job I’ve ever done before. Normally, there are at least a few times per film that I’ll arrive to set with a real sense of having to psyche myself up for the day to really get into a dark mindset for some of the stuff I’ve done in the past. For this, my job was to basically turn up every day and make [co-star] Zoe Kazan laugh.”
On his average Joe wardrobe in ‘What If’:
“It’s sort of just an occupational hazard being an actor growing up in England: You will end up doing a lot of period stuff — because we have sets already made. So, yeah, there was something incredibly refreshing and nice about how normal this character was and not having to wear a robe or a three-piece suit with a watch or something like that. I don’t think Wallace [my character] and I are particularly similar, but we’ve definitely got very similar senses of humor — and probably a similarly low-key way of dressing in our own time.
Daniel Radcliffe on debuting his comedic side in ‘What If’:
“I grew up watching comedy. That’s the thing that I gravitate toward watching most. So I was actually really excited to get a chance to show off that side of myself that I didn’t think people had really seen before. [There] definitely wasn’t any anxiety around it. It was actually more just very exciting.”