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From Potter to poet: Radcliffe takes on the Beat Generation

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

  • STAR: Daniel Radcliffe. Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA Photos.

  • SCENE: Michael C Hall and Daniel Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings. Picture: PA Photo/The Works Media Group.

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Daniel Radcliffe tells Sophie Herdman about stripping down, bulking up and proving the critics wrong.

THERE'S little that we don't know about Daniel Radcliffe.

We know about his love life, his childhood, his vices (he smokes but doesn't drink) – we even know, thanks to a controversial performance in Equus, the size of his todger.

So it's surprising when you stumble upon a piece of information about the former child star that you hadn't already heard – like the fact that, aged 17, he tried his hand at poetry.

A quartet of his works, which tackled topics such as infidelity, prostitutes and Pop Idol, appeared in Rubbish magazine in 2007 under the pseudonym Jacob Gershon.

Six years later, the verse-loving star finds himself playing one of the most famous poets of all time, Beat Generation writer Allen Ginsberg, in new film Kill Your Darlings.

Playing such a prominent character is no easy task – Ginsberg was a leading figure of the counter-culture, opposing materialism and writing explicitly about homosexuality at a time when it was illegal.

Radcliffe has a number of homosexual scenes, including a kiss with Dane DeHaan and an explicit sex scene. While he seems relaxed about doing the scenes, watching them back did give him a slight attack of body anxiety – though he is good humoured about it. "I remember thinking at the time, 'I'm in quite good nick'. And then I saw the scene and thought, 'Oh Jesus, I look like a whippet'."

It was an incentive to beef up, he admits, not that he will be showing off the results of his efforts any time soon – while recently filming a second series of A Young Doctor's Notebook, Radcliffe told producers that he wanted to avoid getting naked.

Radcliffe's body has been a particular talking point since he starred, frequently starkers, in Equus. "I'm still getting naked questions about that," says Radcliffe of the 2007 play. Numerous Harry Potter films followed, but the role marked his transgression from child wizard to adult actor.

In that same year, he appeared in December Boys and TV movie My Boy Jack.

In 2011, the year the Harry Potter franchise came to an end, he made his Broadway debut in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, followed by the big screen horror The Woman In Black and the first series of A Young Doctor's Notebook in 2012.

At one point he was filming A Young Doctor's Notebook during the day and starring in Martin McDonagh's play The Cripple Of Inishmaan in the evenings.

"Everyone said to me, 'Aren't you tired?'. But I wasn't. I only get tired if I'm bored."

Energy aside, it must have been daunting to leave the cocoon of Harry Potter.

"You definitely have a moment of fear," he confesses. "But mainly – and don't take this the wrong way – because of journalists. I never considered that I might not have a future in the industry until I was asked that by a journalist. You can react to that in one of two ways. One is to go: 'Oh, maybe they're right' and give up, the other is to use it to fuel you and prove those people wrong."

To a certain extent, he says, he's achieved that. "I feel I'm on my way to it. I've done work I'm proud of but I don't think it's the end of the process."

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