Five Favorite Films with Daniel Radcliffe

The Harry Potter star drops by for a chat ahead of his new film, this week's Gothic horror The Woman in Black.

"It's actually a thrill to be talking about something else," Daniel Radcliffe chuckles, pausing to consider a question about his new movie The Woman in Black. He is, of course, referring to the ubiquitous presence of a certain blockbuster franchise that has consumed almost half of his life on the planet. Radcliffe was just an untested 11-year-old when cast as the eponymous hero of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone way back in 2001; now, having triumphantly wrapped the series with last year's Deathly Hallows, he's a seasoned 22 and ready to spirit himself into the realm that lies beyond Hogwarts.

"To be honest," Radcliffe admits, "I want to just cram in as many, and as diverse a range, of parts in films as I possibly can in the next few years -- while I'm in this stage of transition from out of the world of Potter."

Though he's done a couple of small films between his wizarding gig (and received praise for his stage work in Equus), The Woman in Black represents the first significant step in the actor's post-Potter direction. Based on a popular English novel and produced under the vintage Hammer label, the Gothic horror is set in a remote village whose children are being terrorized by the specter of dead woman. Radcliffe plays the young lawyer dispatched to investigate -- and it's a role the actor hopes will help cultivate a new screen image.

"The fact that the part is different, in that I'm playing older and I'm playing a father; there's stuff that will physically separate me from Harry in people's minds," he explains. "But what's more important to me is that the story of this film is so compelling -- that even if people go in thinking, "Oh let's see how he does in his next thing," within, like, 15 minutes they're going to be, hopefully, wrapped up in the story; because it's a great story, and really compelling and scary."

Audiences will have their chance to see Radcliffe's transformation (and marvel at his dashing new accoutrements) when The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week. In the meantime, we asked him to talk through his all-time five favorite films.


12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957; 100% Tomatometer)

My five favorite films change all the time. Well, no -- the top three never change, but the last two are kind of up for grabs constantly. 12 Angry Men is, I think, a feat of writing. It's brilliant. The fact that it all takes place in one room -- I think there's maybe two minutes, three minutes of screen time that is not in the one room in that film -- and yet it is one of the most compelling things I've ever seen. I mean, you can't look away. You're gripped by the dynamics between the people, by what's gonna happen, and by the fact that it's a whodunit, based in one room, which is brilliant.




A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946; 95% Tomatometer)

I think A Matter of Life and Death is one of the great works of imagination in cinema. It's a brilliant story. David Niven could not be more charming in it if he tried. He starts off, you know, as a World War II pilot about to crash his plane whilst quoting Andrew Marvell down the phone to the mayday operator, who he then falls in love with. There is one shot in it, actually, of the heavenly court before it goes into session, which we absolutely -- and I haven't actually spoken to Mike Newell about this -- but we lifted almost identically for the start of the Triwizard tournament in Potter, in the fourth film. There is one shot -- because I think I watched Matter of Life and Death shortly after we finished that film -- which I watched and went, "Oh my god, we've just stolen that!"

Well if you're gonna steal, steal from the Archers.

Absolutely; if you're gonna steal, you can't do much better than those guys. So that would be one of my favorite films. Possibly -- possibly -- even more than 12 Angry Men.




Dr. Strangelove showed me, I suppose taught me, a lot about comedy. The stuff that's funniest is the stuff that scares us most -- because all good comedy comes out of fear of death, fear of humiliation, fear of public awkwardness, fear of, you know, all those kinds of things. To have truly, really dark comedy where at the end of the film everyone in the world dies, that was very funny to me. I went to the Kubrick exhibition and there was this whole section on how originally the film had ended with a gigantic pie fight, and it was cut; but in a way I get what that might have been going for -- the fact that it is all so ridiculous.




Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006; 91% Tomatometer)

Little Miss Sunshine: I find it to be the sweetest, funniest... it's a modern classic, I think. And I think Steve Carell is brilliant in it; heartbreaking. Also the fact that it came out of nowhere -- that I went to the cinema knowing nothing about it.




Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963; 96% Tomatometer)

The fifth, because it is the film of my childhood, and I still think the skeleton sequence is one of the scariest effects sequences ever, is Jason and the Argonauts. That is the film that, within the first six months of a relationship of any girl that I'm with, I have to make her watch that film -- and if she doesn't react the way I'd like, then that's kind of a deal-breaker. If you don't like Harryhausen's stop-motion then you are not going to be in my life. [Laughs]

Has it ever come to that?

No, fortunately not. Fortunately I think that they all picked up that the stakes were quite high -- so at least they pretended to like it.

Really, what kind of awful person wouldn't like it?

You really have to kind of just have a heart of stone to not be able to get into that film, 'cause it's just brilliant. You know the other film I like? The Vikings, that Tony Curtis-Kirk Douglas one. It's really good, just because it's... well, it's Vikings; but I think Ernest Borgnine plays, like, Ragnar, the king of the Vikings, and it's a hysterical film -- 'cause made in the '50s, and there are these shots where they're panning down the rows of Vikings and they've all got horned helmets and scraggly hair, and then you get to Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas who're just perfectly coiffed, beautiful men still. [Laughs]



The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week.

Comments

redrooster0

Charlie Voelker

Nice picks, Little Miss Sunshine and 12 Angry Men are personal favorites of mine. you could define my childhood with brave little toaster, I hated it so much but I just couldn't stop watching... It was kinda like crack

Jan 31 - 10:54 AM

Alfred M.

Alfred Moose

Brave Little Toaster was also like a drug to me. It freaked me out like hell, but I couldn't stop watching it. Actually, I spent my entire early childhood being scared of lamps because of the Brave Little Toaster. Not ghosts, not zombies...frickin lamps!

Feb 2 - 01:47 PM

Ned Blackburn

Ned Blackburn

excellent list, justified the choices nicely as well

Jan 31 - 11:38 AM

Jose Leal

Jose Leal

Well, I am surprised by his excellent picks and I predict that if Daniel would ever quit his acting career, he could easily become the next Roger Ebert... I mean, his remarks are very well observed, he is funny and overall shows he knows one or two things about the movies. He must have been paying attention in front and behind the cameras as well during all of his younger years as Harry.

Feb 2 - 08:33 PM

Sebastián Sira Ibori

Sebastián Sira Ibori

I worked on the set of the last 3 harry potter films (shitty pay and not very glamorous) but i did get two have a handful of casual conversations with "Mr Radcliffe" ,as producers insisted we called him, and the dude is real cool...he hangs out with the crew more than with the actors and i noticed he is very hyper, always doing something and he's clearly been learning from all the greats he's been working with like Gary Oldman, but yeah you're dead on man.

Mar 8 - 06:08 PM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

A Matter of Life and Death (AKA Stairway to Heaven) is overrated, in my opinion....Although Powell & Pressburger are an imaginative machine that makes Christopher Nolan look like a hack children's writer and David Niven is one of the greats, the heaven sequence did not work for me although is must have been so much more effective for contemporary British audiences just after the war. But a good call nonetheless from Radcliffe to include that one.

Feb 5 - 02:23 AM

Andrew Rossi

Andrew Rossi

have not seen all of these, but i do like how he actually explains why he likes the films, not just that he thinks they are good.

Jan 31 - 12:13 PM

Cold P.

Cold Pillow

You should see all of these...

Jan 31 - 01:57 PM

Dave J

Dave J

It`s nice to see that he`s open minded, ironically speaking since he`s still quite young!

Jan 31 - 12:32 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Anyways, I seen them all except for "12 Angry Men" and will probably see that one someday on TCM of course. And the one that stands out the most on here would probably be "Jason & The Argonauts" since the skeleton fight scene influenced Sam Raimi's "Army Of Darkness"!

Jan 31 - 01:37 PM

Nick Fury

Nick Fury

I love Jason and the Argonauts, too! I also love Clash of the Titans (the original)! Finally, HP7P2 should've gotten a Best Picture nomination.

Jan 31 - 12:35 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

A shame the Academy's not that open-minded.

Jan 31 - 12:42 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

A shame the Academy's not that open-minded.

Jan 31 - 12:42 PM

rle4lunch

Chad W

I'm just waiting for the endless, non-coherent rant that Gordo will post soon that will have NOTHING to do with Daniel Radcliffes' movie choices. It will be, wait for it, ri------effindiculous.

Jan 31 - 12:49 PM

Kenny Smiff

Kenny Smiff

think you were goin for "ri--- wait for it ---effindiculous"

Feb 1 - 02:01 PM

rle4lunch

Chad W

thx, got dyslexic in anticipation of my posting... lol

Feb 1 - 03:23 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Interesting, but kind of scattershot, list. I'm always happy to hear folks call out Michael Powell, but "great works of imagination in cinema"? "Red Shoes", "Black Narcissus", "Tales of Hoffman" - there are several others by Powell that may better qualify for THAT spot. I also really respect the Harryhausen love. Of course "12 Angry Men" and "Dr. Strangelove" are indisputable. "Little Miss Sunshine" got on my nerves a bit. A fine film, I'm sure. Calculated quirk and sweet. Wes Anderson should be getting royalties for all these indies copying his formula (and falling short).

Jan 31 - 01:12 PM

King  S.

King Simba

I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of Little Miss Sunshine, but I have to say it's grown on me with repeat viewing.

Anyway, impressive choices by Daniel Radcliffe. I like how he goes into great detail as to why he chose each of these films. Looking forward to seeing his career post Harry Potter.

Feb 1 - 10:25 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm looking forward to "Woman in Black" as well. Radcliffe is obviously a very bright young fellow.

Feb 2 - 08:39 AM

celluloid

Bob Good

I actually agree with Daniel Radcliffe on that one. "A Matter of Life and Death" is probably my favorite Powell/Pressburger film too, largely because I think it's their most imaginative. "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" is extremely close behind, though...actually, they're all pretty hard to choose from :P

Feb 7 - 11:14 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

That last line pretty much sums it up. And we didn't even get to "Peeping Tom".

Feb 7 - 05:08 PM

islaguezul

Brian Thomas

Interesting. I wonder if getting into acting so young guided his into interest in classical film and the dimensions of it or if they are completely separate. I don't think I would have become interested at that age if I didn't have a career in it because, well, I don't and I didn't. But here he is, 22, and it comprises the majority of his favorite films.

Jan 31 - 01:13 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Anyways, I seen them all except for "12 Angry Men" and will probably see that one someday on TCM of course. And the one that stands out the most on here would probably be "Jason & The Argonauts" since the skeleton fight scene influenced Sam Raimi's "Army Of Darkness"!

Jan 31 - 01:37 PM

Justin D.

Justin D.

Good list, and the thing about Jason and the Argonauts and girls getting the boot if they don't like it is a policy I have as well.

Jan 31 - 01:47 PM

Cold P.

Cold Pillow

You should see all of these...

Jan 31 - 01:57 PM

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