“The role of a lifetime.”
When do you realize you’ve landed a part like that? Certainly, no one could have known when Mark Hamill was first handed a lightsaber or Leonard Nimoy was fitted for a set of pointed ears that these roles would come to define their careers, if not their lives. Of course, ‘Harry Potter’ was something of a different matter.
By the time Warner embarked on the first installment of what would eventually become an eight film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s magnum opus, the books were already a big deal that was only getting bigger. Even if the films had crashed and burned, whoever signed on to them would essentially be leaping onto a speeding train. That made the casting decisions even more important, especially since much of the first film’s cast would be filled with children.
Thankfully, the powers that be were up to the task, not least when it came to filling the title role. And Daniel Radcliffe didn’t just fill the role. For many viewers, he is Harry Potter. But with the competition for the role being as stiff as it was, just what put him over the top? Well, Radcliffe has his own ideas on the subject:
“The thing that I will always say about myself is I was not the most gifted child actor. When I look at other young actors, like when I look at the kids on ‘Stranger Things’ or shows like that, I’m just like, “Holy! My god! How are you doing that?” It’s amazing. The thing I think I really was good at, and the thing I had, which was a huge advantage for me, was I just loved it. I loved being on set. I was good at being on set. I loved learning how to be helpful. The greatest thing about being on set is you get to feel like part of a team. That’s the most special thing about it, and you get to feel like with everyone else you are making this thing together, and I loved that feeling straight away. I think that was definitely what made me a great fit for those films.”
Ultimately, casting is more of an art than a science, and even the best actor can undermine their performance by bringing the wrong attitude to the set. Just look at the infamous narration that Harrison Ford recorded for the theatrical cut of ‘Blade Runner‘ if you need a sense of how you can end up with when an otherwise gifted actor who doesn’t want to be there.
Danielle Radcliffe’s time at Hogwarts may be over, but fans will have the chance to return to the Wizarding World when ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ hits theaters on November 16, 2018.