'What If' Stretches Daniel Radcliffe's Range
Radcliffe is working his way through the genres.
After growing up on-screen in the Harry Potter movies from 2001 to 2011, Daniel Radcliffe became one of the richest actors in the world. But he also quickly set about making sure he wasn't locked into being the boy wizard for the rest of his career. His first emphatic move was to star in the 2007 West End production of Equus, in which he appeared on-stage fully naked.
He further broke from his family-friendly image by poking fun at himself on Ricky Gervais' TV series Extras, then moving on to the Aussie drama December Boys, the ghostly thriller The Woman in Black and the biographical gay drama Kill Your Darlings.
Now with What If, Radcliffe is going in a completely new direction: romantic-comedy. He plays Wallace, a med-school dropout who falls for a woman (Zoe Kazan) who already has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall), so Wallace tries to remain just friends. It's a rather corny set-up, but Radcliffe gives a strikingly mature performance that plays to his strengths as a fast-talking, intelligent, slightly nervous young man.
Most unusually for Radcliffe, this is his first role as a normal guy in the present-day. "It was fantastic just to be in modern clothes," he says. "It sounds weird, but the dialogue is all stuff and situations I understand! It's nice to do a film where I can draw on my own life."
So let's hope he enjoyed that while it lasted, because his next film Horns is a stylish horror movie in which he sprouts, yes, horns on his head. After that he's playing Igor in a new Frankenstein movie. And then there's a very different style of comedy with Judd Apatow's ensemble movie Trainwreck, costarring Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, Marisa Tomei and Bill Hader.