Corpse, reverend, businessman: Daniel Radcliffe's acting range is one of envy
From a boy wizard to a farting corpse to a man with guns bolted to his hands, "Harry Potter" series star Daniel Radcliffe has truly let his creativity guide him through his acting career.
Since wrapping up his tenure as the "boy who lived," he has played an array of kooky, outlandish characters, repeatedly proving that he can't be typecasted or pigeonholed. Radcliffe said he doesn’t pick offbeat or strange roles with the objective of distancing himself from Potter, but that original scripts simply excite him.
In "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story," Radcliffe transformed into the titular eccentric musician and 80s comedian at the behest of Yankovic himself — the comedian said of Radcliffe on Instagram: "He’s even more like me than I am."
Radcliffe's range doesn't just stop at biopics. In season three of the TV show, "Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail," Radcliffe emphasized his willingness to venture into new acting territories as Reverend Ezekiel Brown.
In a bizarre moment for the character, Brown ends up performing at a bar wearing long black leather sleeves and chaps with a bare chest, heeled boots, white feathers around his neck and glittery, black makeup as he sings an upbeat version of "She’ll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes" while voguing and dancing.
Beyond commercial film and TV, Radcliffe has taken part in several indie projects like "Swiss Army Man," where he plays a talking, gassy corpse who is befriended by a man (Paul Dano) stranded on a deserted island.
In the 2013 film "Horns," Radcliffe took on the role of a man accused of murdering his wife who wakes up one morning with a pair of horns attached to his head, giving him the ability to force others to reveal their deepest secrets.
In "Guns Akimbo," Radcliffe portrays a programmer who enjoys mocking people online until he says the wrong thing to the wrong people. He then wakes up with a gun bloodily bolted to each of his hands and is forced to compete in the underground fight club he mocked.
The film's trailer sparked many memes connecting the film to Harry Potter and joking that Radcliffe was in character as the boy wizard while holding the guns.
Additionally, in his career, Radcliffe has stepped into live performance, starring in multiple shows on Broadway, including the lead in the classic musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," where he sang and danced as a window washer who works his way up in the business world.
Because Radcliffe made a fortune from his role as Potter, he has the privilege of being selective when choosing his roles. It's a refreshing decision from him to value versatility since most actors would usually choose to cash in.
Although there’s no issue with an actor discovering their niche and perfecting it, Radcliffe is an excellent model for other A-list actors who have the financial freedom to explore challenging and unfamiliar roles that may be uncomfortable at first.
Playing unconventional characters in small films not only brings light to independent filmmakers and low-budget cinema, but it also pushes an actor out of their comfort zone.
The actor is able to appreciate acting as a fluid and experimental art form rather than a cookie-cutter paint-by-numbers chore, as sometimes seen in big-budget films.
Although it’s false to say that all mainstream films are unoriginal and require straightforward acting, notoriety should not be as significant of a factor for prominent actors when deciding to work on a film. Instead, the script and role should take priority.
In a post-Potter world, Radcliffe has proven to be purely unpredictable, and each of his projects is more bizarre than the previous. In a photo taken by the paparazzi of the actor on the set of "Trainwreck," he wears a belt attached to 12 different dog leashes, with a cigarette in hand as he walks the many dogs.
When the picture was released without the context of the film, many assumed Radcliffe had simply found a peculiar way to unwind and perhaps a second career as a dog-walker. Although this was not the case, when it comes to Radcliffe, there’s an allure in not being able to anticipate his next move.
You could say there's a unique magic to his presence in Hollywood, one I and many other fans appreciate for its refreshing quality. I can say with certainty that I'll be following Radcliffe in his future performances, but I can also say I have no idea exactly what that'll entail.