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Daniel Radcliffe is Haunted by The Woman in Black

Jan 30, 2012

By: Lynn Barker

Dan calls Kidzworld from NYC to talk personal scares, accidents on set and more!

Calling from NYC on a break from his stage performances in “How to Succeed In Business”, Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe admits that, within hours after filming the very last shot of the Potter movies, he was looking forward and reading the script for The Woman in Black to see if he wanted to make it his next project. He did. The script scared him!

Dan also admits that he relates to his “Woman in Black” character, a young lawyer terrorized by supernatural forces, because he can feel that his life is just happening around him without his real control sometimes. 

Kidzworld: How did you decide to star in The Woman in Black and was it the script that hooked you?

  • Dan: It was the script. That was my first contact with it. I read it I think in a grand total of four hours after I did my last shot on the last Potter film. It was a quick turnaround. I read it and loved it because it was a compelling story and a really beautifully-written script.
  • Normally, when you’ve got a script with a lot of stage direction, because there are parts of the film that have almost no dialogue, it can be quite tough to read but it read like a novel. I was excited and scared, which indicated that the ultimate film would be scary. That was what drew me originally.

Kidzworld: And you liked the director?

  • Dan: Yeah. Then, after I met James [Watkins, director], I absolutely knew that this was a film I wanted to do because he and I were on the same page exactly in terms of how to do the film, as being something different, not just a horror movie but a character-driven thriller.
    All the scary parts of the film only have value if you care about the characters in the situation. We’ve made a very, very scary film.

Kidzworld: Can’t wait! The trailers are really scary with a face in the window behind you!

  • Dan: That’s one of my favorite moments in the film but there are about twenty other moments like it.

Kidzworld: Yikes! What scares you?

  • Dan: I have insect phobias.  There are some insects that I’m just not cool with. [Unlike Ron Weasley] Spiders I don’t mind as long as I can see them. The moment I don’t like a spider is when it’s walking across your room and you see it and you’ll turn away and a second later it’s gone!  That’s what I don’t like. “Where are you, spider?”

Kidzworld: Yeah. Is it on my head now?

  • Dan: Exactly!

Kidzworld: Is the film basically a one-man show for you, once your character gets to the isolated, spooky old house?

  • Dan: Once we get to the second visit to the house, I think there is about 25 minutes of just me around the house.

Kidzworld: Are you a research guy? For example, when you signed on to play a young lawyer from a past century, did you look up what law was like then or what single dads were like then?

  • Dan: There’s a bit in terms of trying to get a sense of what kind of a man this guy was; to be a single father in the late 19th century was a very different proposition. It had a lot of different meanings and implications as to your place in society. He was somebody who was going to have to work very, very hard to escape from that situation. I did a little research into how the death of a wife affected a young man then.


Kidzworld: How do you most relate to him? His life situation is so different from yours.  

  • Dan: A feeling of detachment, I can relate to. Like your life is happening to you without you being the main cause of things happening. That’s something I can certainly relate to.

Kidzworld: What music are you into lately?

  • Dan: Just recently I got into a band called Yellow Ostrich. It’s kind of weird. It reminds me of indie bands like The Drums or Vampire Weekend or a band called The Thermals. It’s like low fi, very melodic. I haven’t heard an album like it for quite a while. Also, an English band I’ve just come to like is Wild Beasts. I think it’s an English equivalent to Arcade Fire. They’re very eccentric-sounding but they do really interesting music.

Kidzworld: Very cool choices. This seems a very serious film. Were there any laughs on set? Any pranks? Tell us an example.

  • Dan: Our director isn’t going to be happy me telling you this. First, I have to say it was a really fun set and fun film to work on. Lovely first A.D. and Director of Photography as well. When those three people are nice, chances are you’ll have a good time. We had a really good laugh.


Kidzworld: Okay, I have a feeling this laugh is at their expense.. Do tell.

  • Dan: [laughs] [At one point in the film] three young girls jump out a window and it was actually a drop of three feet onto a big crash mat. Easiest thing in the world. But the director asked them if they wanted someone to show them how to do it and he let them pick out anyone on set. So they asked for the director, the first A.D. and the Director of Photography to do it.
  • So you’ve got three middle-aged men jumping onto crash mats meant for three 8-year-old girls. It did not go well. The director broke through but got off scott free. The D.P. cut the back of his head open and our A.D. broke his arm! So these girls are going “You want us to do THAT?”

Kidzworld: Hilarious! Wrapping up, why will your fans really enjoy seeing The Woman in Black?

  • Dan: I think a lot of the proper fans are very, very literate and enjoy good stories and interesting stories being told. That’s what brought them to “Potter” in the first place so I think, if they respond to good story-telling, as they have for the last ten years, they’ll respond to this film.