Daniel Radcliffe has been remarkably candid about the excessive drinking he did before August 2010, when he recognized he had a problem and quit. But as he’s doing interviews to promote The Woman in Black, he’s sharing even more. He tells Heat magazine he was drinking nightly. “I can honestly say I never drank at work on Harry Potter. I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work … I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.” That’s sad on multiple levels: As a fan, it’s tough to hear that someone wasn’t fully present for a film that means so much to you, but it’s also difficult to imagine how hard that must have been for Radcliffe — the Harry Potter kids have always been the poster children for healthy young actors.
Radcliffe knows how lucky he is that the tabloids never got ahold of this story at the time. The reason they didn’t is the same reason he sobered up: “The drinking was unhealthy and damaging to my body and my social life. That’s beyond question. I was living in constant fear of who I’d meet, what I might have said to them, what I might have done with them, so I’d stay in my apartment for days and drink alone. I was a recluse at 20,” he tells ShortList Magazine. “It was pathetic — it wasn’t me. I’m a fun, polite person and it turned me into a rude bore. For a long time people were saying to me, ‘We think you have a problem,’ but in the end I had to come to the realisation myself.” He admits he’d drink so much, he’d black out. “Blacking out was my thing,” he says. Reading that he did once talk to his Harry Potter costar Gary Oldman about “actively seeking out chaos,” and Oldman cautioned him “You can’t keep doing this. You’ve got too much to lose,” makes the fact that Oldman wrote the tribute to Radcliffe when he was named EW’s 2011 Entertainer of the Year all the more special.
The ShortList interview isn’t a total downer. It’s actually a fun read with Radcliffe sharing stories like the one about the time he met Eddie Izzard: “I was in the toilet at the BAFTAs. I was about 16 and I hadn’t done anything for my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day, so I ran around getting Eddie, Anthony Hopkins and a few others to sign a card for her,” he says. THAT IS AWESOME. He also says he’s really enjoying his sobriety. “After our [How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying] Christmas party on Broadway, I had fun going into the rooms of people I knew had got really f—ed up the night before, and shouting at them,” he laughs. “Just to be an arsehole. If you’re going to be sober, you might as well be smug about it.” There’s our happy ending.