How Daniel Radcliffe Emerged From The Shadows Of Harry Potter

Daniel Radcliffe is one of the most recognizable English actors thanks to his role as Harry Potter. Since he was eleven years old, playing the titular character of the iconic series has throttled him to commercial success.

Once the movie franchise ended, the Brit spent years trying to carve out a place for himself away from the wizarding world. From playing the “Boy Who Lived” to playing a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity’s prayers, Radcliffe has proven himself as more than just a one hit wonder.

He Has A Jewish Heritage

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Radcliffe grew up in a house that didn’t place a big emphasis on religious faith. The actor has always thought of himself as Jewish, considering his father is Irish and his mother is Jewish herself.

His mother was born in South Africa and shortly after her birth, her family moved to Essex where she was raised in a Jewish household. Originally, her family came from areas of Poland and Russia. After tying the knot, she wanted to carry several Jewish traditions in the household.

He Suffers From A Developmental Disorder


The actor suffers from dyspraxia, a neurological developmental condition. It’s a disorder that affects the motor functions, and those with it are noted for their clumsiness. Radcliffe’s dyspraxia is a mild type. It means that most of the time it only affects him in the smallest ways possible.

However, at times, he has trouble writing by hand and tying his own shoelaces. Fortunately, everyone’s favorite boy wizard has managed to push through the disorder with plenty of success and happiness.

At A Young Age, Radcliffe Had A Desire To Act


Radcliffe is the only child to Marcia Jeannine Gresham, a casting agent, and Alan Radcliffe, a literary agent. He was five years old when he got the acting bug and decided it was true passion in life.

When he was ten-years-old, he was acting out scenes from James Bond movies at his home in South London. At that same age, he made his acting debut in BBC One’s adaption of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, playing the title character as a young boy.

Radcliffe wasn’t the first option to play Harry Potter. Read ahead to see which American child actor could have landed the role.

His First Film Credit Was Before Harry Potter

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After making his acting debut in 1999, he soon landed another role. In 2001, the actor made his first big screen appearance in the spy thriller The Tailor of Panama. Assuming the role of Mark Pendel, Radcliffe’s co-stars include Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Brendan Gleeson.

The film was based on the 1996 spy novel of the same name, written by John le Carre. With a 77% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film scored an average rating of 6.8 out of 10.

His Parents Refused To Allow Him To Audition For Harry

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Director Christopher Columbus already worked with Macauley Culkin on Home Alone. Now, he wanted Radcliffe for the role of Harry Potter after the director saw him in the BBC production of David Copperfield.

However, the actor’s parents initially didn’t allow their son to take the part. David Heyman and Steve Kloves wanted the young actor to audition after both film producers met him and his parents at a theater production. Heyman and Columbus managed to convince the Radcliffe’s that their son would be protected from media frustration, allowing him to play Harry.

Another Child Actor Could Have Played Harry

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Before Columbus signed on to direct, Steven Spielberg was attached to direct the film. In addition to directing, the Jaws filmmaker wanted Sixth Sense star Hayley Joel Osment to play the title role.

In addition, he wanted the adaption to be an animated film. However, Spielberg left following a creative clash with author J.K. Rowling and Columbus. After he departed, Spielberg went on to direct his next film, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

There was one particular thing the actor did with his co-stars while on set of Harry Potter.

There’s A Good Reason Why Harry’s Eyes Aren’t Green In The Movies

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In the novels, Harry’s eyes are described as “bright green.” However, Radcliffe’s are blue and when it came time to film The Sorcerer’s Stone, Heyman called Rowling and told her their options.

They would try green contacts, and they could have tried to make the actor’s eyes green in post-production. Rowling needed Harry’s eyes to look like his mother’s eyes. The actress who played Lily Potter also had blue eyes, so Harry’s eyes in the movie needed to be blue as well.

Being Educated At Three Different Schools Was Challenging

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Radcliffe attended three independent schools. One was for boys at Redcliffe School, another was a day school at Sussex House School, a day school in Chelsea’s Cadogan square, as well as the City of London School. Attending these schools made it challenging for the young Radcliffe, even after filming the first Harry Potter film.

While his acting career began to consume his schedule, Radcliffe would continue his education through on-set tutors. In a 2009 interview with Parade, the actor admitted to not being good at school as he found it useless and really difficult.

There Was One Thing He Loved To Do With His Co-Stars

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The positive chemistry between Daniel, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson can really be seen throughout the movie. Sometimes, it was hard for them to keep a straight face when it was necessary. One scene that was difficult for the trio to film was the Great Hall scene in The Half-Blood Prince.

It’s the moment where Harry and Ron are discussing the upcoming Quidditch match during breakfast. For some reason, they couldn’t keep it together, repeating the scene more than once.

There’s a reason why directors want to work with Radcliffe.

He’s A Giver

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For years now, he’s dedicated himself to several causes that he cares about. One of these is equal rights for all and same-sex marriage. The actor has spoken out while filming several public service announcements. In addition to that, Radcliffe is also involved with many charitable organizations.

His work includes Habitat’s VIP Kids, Demelza House Children’s Hospice, and Candle for Care. Additionally, he’s donated or auctioned off several pieces of clothing or costumes to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equality Fights AIDS.

Despite Being An Actor, He’s Quite The Film Enthusiast

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It’s uncommon for actors to focus so heavily on other films. However, Radcliffe has always enjoyed watching older movies. Out of all of the old classics, the actor’s favorites include 12 Angry Men, Stairway to Heaven and the iconic Dr. Strangelove.

A few present-day films he enjoys include Little Miss Sunshine and The Royal Tenenbaums. Radcliffe also happens to be a fan of animated films such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

He’s Something Directors Want From Actors

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Portraying the same character in eight different movies in a decade can be exhausting. But not for Radcliffe, who has been one reliable individual since he was young. He was never late to set, and only missed two days of work during the entire tenure of filming.

Directors and producers want actors who they can rely on. They don’t want someone who’s out doing their own thing, in spite of what is expected from them. Radcliffe shines in both the personality department as well as having an excellent work ethic.

What did he do after Harry Potter ended? Read ahead to find out.

In 2007, Radcliffe Began To Branch Out To Stage Acting

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Adding to his fame as the “Boy Who Lived,” Daniel took his acting talents to the stage. His first nude performance came in the play Equus, starring in the play following the production of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Radcliffe wanted to take on a more adult role, showing people that wasn’t a kid anymore. He would appear as a stable boy with his brief nude scene being alongside a white horse. The actor would have another brief nude scene in Kill Your Darlings.

His First Post-Harry Potter Film Was Pretty Good

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After playing a character with a scar on his forehead, Radcliffe transitioned to different roles. For his first post-Potter film, he starred in a horror film. The actor would go on to appear in The Woman In Black, a story about a young lawyer who investigates the disturbing deaths of children in a nearby village.

Despite having a star of his stature, the film only made $127 million at the box office worldwide. A sequel would be released in 2015 without Radcliffe starring in it.

Following Harry Potter, He Went Down The Independent Road


After Radcliffe played the title role in one of the most famous movie franchises, his subsequent movies have had a very different feel. The Brit has been making mostly small, quirky films since the last Potter film was released.

Fans weren’t going to see the actor dressed in robes and red-and-yellow scarves for Radcliffe’s next few projects. The actor appeared in the romantic comedy What If and he would star in Allen Ginsberg’s biopic Kill Your Darlings.

Too much stress from playing a boy wizard led the actor to blow off steam in a bad way.

One Of His Movies Was Rather Bizarre


The actor’s most famous post-Potter movie is also his most infamous one. In Swiss Army Man, Radcliffe plays a pale, bloated corpse that helps a young man get off of a desert island.

The only reason the man was able to escape the island was because Radcliffe’s character served as a human raft that traversed the sea thanks to the power of his farts. Variety reported that “audience members kept standing up and bolting for the door throughout the film.”

His Films Had A Hard Time Measuring Up To Harry Potter

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It’s no surprise that Radcliffe is distancing himself from the young wizard. He would tackle the occasional role in a big Hollywood movie. While not all of those films were flops, they were never on the same level as Harry Potter.

The actor played a villain in a different magic movie, Now You See Me: The Second Act. But, the following film, he starred in Victor Frankenstein, which was a bad take on Mary Shelley’s classic. It was a flat out disaster, only making $5.7 million at the box office.

He Turned To Drinking At A Young Age

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It comes as a shock that the actor battled an addiction to alcohol while filming Harry Potter. The fame and stress of producing the movies became too much for him to handle. At seventeen years old, he turned to drinking, and it would spiral out of control for a few years.

When he recognized he was heading down a path of self-destruction, he realized there were better ways to cope with stress. Radcliffe has been off alcohol since 2013.

After realizing drinking wasn’t an option, Radcliffe would soon find love.

Like Most Brits, He Smokes

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Radcliffe is one of those recognizable actors who hacks a dart. He smoked so much on the set of Harry Potter that his costars jokingly referred to him as Harry Puffer. The actor surprisingly smokes a pack of cigarettes per day, becoming addicted to nicotine during his early teens.

He claims to love the taste of tobacco. He’s thought about putting down the dart, but it appears as though he didn’t follow through with it. However, he’s doing his best to cut back on the nasty habit.

His Wealth Isn’t A Surprise

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Despite his immense fame, he was only paid $110,000 in total for the first film. In the second film, Radcliffe netted a seven-figure salary. The same type of salary came with the next six films too.

Since he was only eleven years old at the time of the first movie, his parents handled the money, investing most of it. The actor is one of the richest celebrities on the planet, earning $94 million from playing the role of Harry Potter.

His Co-Star Became His Girlfriend

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In 2012, Radcliffe was filming Kill Your Darlings. He would soon meet American actress Erin Darke, who’s best known for her role on Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt. During their time on set, the pair had to get very personal with each other, and thankfully, they’ve been together ever since.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Radcliffe admitted he first had feelings for his co-star when they filmed an intimate scene together. “That’s a wonderful record of us flirting for the first time,” Radcliffe says.

Read ahead to see why Radcliffe enjoys doing plays on Broadway.

Harry Potter Will Always Stick With Him

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During an interview with Parade magazine, the actor said he’s not afraid he’ll be typecast forever.

“I think in a lot of people’s minds I will always be him. It’s rather like the mafia, I guess. Once you’re in, you never get out. I don’t think I’ve been typecast so far. But I would never be anything but proud to be a part of this film series forever. It’s changed me but I don’t think negatively. It’s all been good.”

Quidditch Is Not His Favorite Sport

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Despite starring as one of the greatest quidditch players Hogwarts had ever seen, it’s not actually his favorite sport. Instead, cricket has been his favorite sport since he was a kid. He’s a big fan of cricket player Sachin Tendulkar.

Not only does the British actor know all about the sport, but he knows a lot about India. In a 2011 interview with India Times, Radcliffe talks about finding time to catch some games. “Cricket or no cricket, I am certainly planning a trip to India soon.”

Broadway Made Him A Better Actor

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Every Potter fan has watched Radcliffe grow up over the course of the film. However, the Brit believes that the bulk of his professional growth has occurred as a result of his Broadway stage work.

The actor told Variety, “I feel like doing theater … it was really very important for me psychologically. There’s something about doing it without an editor to save you, or a myriad of things in post-production that can help you out, something that made me go: ‘OK, I can act, I’ve grown a bit every time I’ve gone back to the theater.”

Even the biggest Potter fan will never guess what TV show Radcliffe is doing next!

Outside Of Acting, He Has Another Passion

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Even though he didn’t excel in the subject during school, Radcliffe developed an obsession for books. Some of that stems from his father, a literary agent, who worked directly with books and authors. Among his favorite literature pieces include Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and The Old Man By The Sea.

In addition to his love of reading, he loves to write too. He’s published a number of poems under the pseudonym Jacob Gershon. The name is a mix of his middle name, Jacob, and the Jewish version of Gresham, his mothers maiden name.

Just Like His Character, He Enjoys A Good Snack

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Much like Harry, Radcliffe enjoys sweet treats. While his character enjoys chocolate frogs, the real-life actor enjoys Mars bars, but he doesn’t stop at candy. He has a love of foods of all kinds. One of his favorite things to have at lunch or dinner is fish, specifically sushi.

Unlike the majority of other actors his age, the British actor would prefer to cook his own food rather than go to a restaurant. While he admits that dining out is always a great treat, he enjoys his time in the kitchen.

Radcliffe Will Star In A Comedy Series

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How’s this for a lineup? TBS handed a straight-to-series order for Miracle Workers. The anthology stars the Harry Potter alum as well as Geraldine Viswanathan. Simon Rich, whose Man Seeking Woman series was canceled, created the new series based off one of his own pieces of literature

The show will be a heaven-set workplace comedy based on Rich’s book What In God’s Name. Apparently, Radcliffe’s role in Swiss Army Man proved there’s a comedian under the dramatic chops.

The show gives the actor a different side that most fans haven’t seen before.

Radcliffe Wanted To Be Involved With Miracle Workers

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The actor loved the book adaption to the series, What In God’s Name. After reading it, the actor met with the author, Simon Rich, who told him how much he loved the book. If Rich were to make it into anything, Radcliffe wanted to be involved.

About a year later, Rich called Radcliffe to propose a TV series. When it came time to make Miracle Workers, he was immediately on board, something he didn’t feel the need to talk over with anyone.

He Would Have Played Any Character

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Radcliffe was up for anything when it came to being cast. But he didn’t just act on the show, he served as one of the executive producers. The actor was joined by Rich, Steve Buscemi, Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer, and Katy Johnson.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Radcliffe explained his role. "I was involved in the development of the project and casting. But once I got on set, I was focused on just acting."

The Show Gives A Different Side To Radcliffe

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The actor is always looking for something that will challenge him. While he hasn’t done many comedies, Miracle Workers is his first real shot at making people laugh. It gives many people in America a chance to see the former child star in a totally different role.

It’s new for him to do some like this, which makes it more exciting. Plus, he was in awe of how talented and funny people really are, especially the writers of the show.