Daniel Radcliffe - Actor Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Daniel Radcliffe - Actor

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Daniel Alan Radcliffe1 was born on 23 July, 19892. Ever since an early age he wanted to act, but his parents Marcia Gresham and Alan Radcliffe, both in the entertainment industry, were not too keen on this idea.

Apart from school plays, Daniel did no serious acting until he won the part of young David in a 1999 BBC adaption of David Copperfield. Daniel's ability to look soulful made him perfect for the role of David, where he acted alongside stars such as Dame Maggie Smith and Zoë Wannamaker, both of whom he would later act with in Harry Potter.

The year after that, the director, producer and casting agents for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone3 were looking for a young British boy to play the title role. They auditioned thousands of children from all over Britain, but couldn't find that special child.

Christopher Columbus, the film's director, had seen Daniel in David Copperfield and was extremely impressed. Deciding that he had both the looks and the acting ability required for Harry Potter, he decided that Daniel was the actor whom he wanted for the part. Unfortunately for him, all he heard was that Daniel's strict parents were not letting him audition for the role.

David Heyman, the producer of the film, knew Daniel's father Alan. One day he bumped into Alan and his family at a play. David was very impressed the minute he saw Daniel. 'The play was a blur,' he said later, 'I kept looking behind me at Daniel.' The next day he rang Alan, asking if Daniel could audition for Harry.

Daniel got to know both David and Christopher, who said later, 'The moment Daniel walked into the room we all knew we had found Harry.' JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, also said how happy she was with the choice of Daniel as Harry4.

At around the same time, Rupert Grint was chosen to play Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson to play Hermione Granger. The three young actors became firm friends.

When asked at the casting announcement for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone if he was a Harry Potter fan, Daniel looked embarrassed...

Oh dear, a long time ago, I read the first two books, and since then I've forgotten everything about them... I read the first two when I was eight or nine but I found it really hard to get into them - I couldn't get into any books when I was that age.
A lot of the other boys in my class know I've read the first one or two books, and they've read all of them and they're a bit angry because I have read the least Harry Potter books.

Shortly after he was given the part of Harry, Daniel won another role in a feature film, The Tailor of Panama, based on a John le Carré novel. He played Mark Pendal, the son of a main character.

Filming Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone involved Daniel missing several months of school but he continued his studies with a private tutor on the set. Daniel often spoke in interviews about how much he enjoyed filming. He said he enjoyed playing practical jokes on actors and crew members.

During filming, Daniel's fan base was beginning to grow. Many of his fans had seen him in David Copperfield and were impressed by his acting. Others couldn't care less about his acting, and were merely crazy about him because of his looks and the fact that he played Harry Potter.

In November 2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone premiered in England and the USA. At the premiere Daniel spoke about how nervous and excited he was - he said that he burst into tears during the film's final credits when he saw his name on the big screen.

Daniel's acting was praised by all but the bravest film critics. Most fans felt he looked like Harry, therefore his acting skills didn't matter. Others planned to be keen on whoever acted Harry. Most fans and critics felt his acting in the second film had improved since the first.

Shortly after the premiere, Daniel and the rest of the Harry Potter cast began work on the sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Daniel had received the relatively small sum of $115,000 for his role in the first film. He was set to get a similar amount for the second film, until the Actors' Equity Unit stepped in. His payment was then raised to $3,000,000. Daniel's fans and fan mail also increased dramatically. Daniel was growing extremely fast, and his voice broke.

After filming for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets had finished, Daniel settled down to begin at secondary school. His parents were keen on him spending as much time at school as possible, so the Harry Potter production team decided on a long break before filming for the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, began.

Despite the pressures of media attention and fame, Daniel considers himself extremely fortunate.

I am so lucky. How many kids in the world would pay thousands to be doing this right now?'
1Called Dan or Danny for short.2It was rumoured that he was born on 31 July, like the character of Harry Potter. However this was a publicity stunt.3Called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the USA.4Although it has been stated that what she said is not necessarily a true reflection of her feelings, as she would have had to say she was impressed with whoever was chosen as Harry, so as not to send out negative publicity messages.

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