Playing Harry Potter gave Daniel Radcliffe a superpower that came with a curse. On the one hand, he’d have financial stability and the kind of leg up that other actors might spend decades trying to secure, but he’d forever be known — and potentially stuck as — one iconic character. Gary Oldman told Radcliffe as much when they were filming. Foundational success for child actors is far from a guarantee.
“I had this awareness that people expected we would do nothing after Potter — that we would fade away,” Radcliffe told GQ. “I really wanted that not to be the case, because I knew that I loved it, and I wanted to do whatever I have to do to have a career with longevity.”
To make that happen, he looked to actors like Harrison Ford for inspiration. Ford followed icon-making genre turns in Star Wars and Indiana Jones with several dramas like Witness and The Mosquito Coast before transitioning again into action movies in the 1990s. Radcliffe found inspiration in building career longevity and taking chances.
Granted, Radcliffe has gone farther into left field than Ford did, even if the comparison is apt. Instead of jumping from genre sidekick into leading man territory, Radcliffe has flirted with just about every flavor of Bizarre out there. Incomparable legend or not, Ford never would have had the guts to play a farting corpse only a few years after closing up the Indiana Jones trilogy. Radcliffe’s 2022 has consisted of playing a bonkers villain in the rom-com The Lost City and a totally 100% accurate representation of Weird Al Yankovic in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.