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We Aren't in Hogwarts Anymore

Daniel Radcliffe veers from his Potter persona with the edgy Ovation series ”A Young Doctor’s Notebook”

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In a studio outside London, Daniel Radcliffe is pretending to have morphine administered to his foot to assuage his character’s drug addiction while shooting a scene for the second season of A Young Doctor’s Notebook. Costarring Jon Hamm and based on a string of autobiographical short stories by Mikhail Bulgakov, the series — which launches its first season of four half-hour-long episodes on Ovation Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. — details the travails of Radcliffe as an unnamed physician who ministers to the population of a remote Russian village in 1917 (think of it as Northern Exposure: Russia). Radcliffe, 24, filmed the Harry Potter movies less than an hour away in Leavesden, but this expletive-heavy, gore-drenched, and drug-filled dramedy is a long way from Hogwarts. ”That’s what attracted me and Jon,” says Radcliffe during a break. ”It’s exciting for us to do something so different from anything else that’s out there.” Something else ”different” about Notebook? Radcliffe and Hamm both play the lead character — oftentimes in the same frame, as Hamm’s middle-aged doc steps into his own flashback reminiscences to hang with Radcliffe’s callow young physician. This has allowed the show’s writers to pen a number of jokes about the fact that the two doctors are — and this is delicate — differently heighted. ”I’ve been capitalizing on my shortness for quite a while,” says Radcliffe, whose forthcoming film roles include Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, out Oct. 16. ”But when I was asked to play a young Jon Hamm, I felt what any man would feel — flattered.” The actor promises Notebook will only get darker as it moves into its second season, which hits the U.K.’s Sky Arts 1 later this year. ”I become a really horrendous person,” he says. ”I said to Jon, ‘It’s great, I get to play an unredeemable arsehole.’ His exact words in response were ‘Welcome to my world!”’

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