The Showman

By Sean Smith
August 02, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Child stars rarely become adult stars, and actors who take on iconic roles (think Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker) seldom escape them. So Daniel Radcliffe’s odds of building a post-Harry Potter career were exactly…zero. Yet Radcliffe, 24, has defied those dire expectations by making daring, unconventional choices, primarily by carving out a career for himself on the London and New York stages. His first bold choice came in 2007, when he took advantage of a Potter hiatus to star in a West End (and later Broadway) production of Equus that included a nude scene. ”The best career decision I ever made,” he says from the basement of the Noël Coward Theatre in London, where he’s starring in the title role of The Cripple of Inishmaan. ”It sent a signal of intent to the industry. It made people sit up and go, ‘He’s not content to just coast.”’

And he hasn’t, opting for a menagerie of roles and genres. He starred in last year’s gothic thriller The Woman in Black, plays Allen Ginsberg in this fall’s drama Kill Your Darlings, and will be the romantic lead in next year’s The F Word. He’s also wrapped the fantasy-thriller Horns, in which he sports devil-like appendages, and is set to play Igor in the upcoming Frankenstein update. And that’s all in addition to his ongoing stage work.

Unlike his Potter costar Emma Watson, Radcliffe never questioned an acting career after age 14, when he made the third Potter film, Prisoner of Azkaban, opposite Gary Oldman and David Thewlis. ”Having them come onto the cast at that stage was very formative, because suddenly I wasn’t being treated like a child,” he says. ”That was when I went, ‘This is a place I want to be for the rest of my career.”’ As for the future, his plans are pretty simple. ”I’d like to work consistently, that’s the goal,” he says. ”I’ve got plenty of time to kick back on a beach one day if I want to. For now, I’m young and strong and fit, so it’s time to cram in as much as I can.”

Daniel On…Potter Mania
”Not everybody who went to see the Harry Potter films is going to like every single bit of work I do afterwards, but you have to be guided by your own instincts rather than what you think people expect of you.”