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Süddeutsche Zeitung

Daniel Radcliffe and the Pee-Pistol-Dilemma

July 10, 2018   |   Written by Christiane Lutz

The star of “Harry Potter” shoots some abstruse scenes for his new movie in a decommissioned factory in Dachau.

Setting one: close-up of toilet bowl. Someone snorts, fidgets and sighs with relief as a stream of yellow urine pours into the bowl. Setting two: Pee from behind on the toilet bowl. It’s a man in a checked robe. Three attitude: Close-up of Pee. A tired, bearded Jungmann face, pained look. It’s Daniel Radcliffe who almost fails to pee. And he almost fails to pee because he has riveted two pistols into his hands. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to open your pants with two riveted pistols, everyone knows that.

This Pee Pistol dilemma is a scene from “Guns Akimbo,” an action comedy that has just been shot in Bavaria. The international team worked during the last stage in the paper mill in Dachau . And yes, Daniel Radcliffe is the right Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter Radcliffe.

“I’m sorry that you just had to see this scene,” says Radcliffe during a fifteen-minute break. There had already been cool stunts in the days before, and somewhere on the other side of the site, Second Unit was chasing a car up in the air. Maybe more spectacular than the pee scene.

Daniel Radcliffe sits on the steps of his trailer and turns a cigarette. It is a sultry early evening in Dachau, England is playing against Colombia. In a van next door, Radcliffe’s bodyguard looks at the game with the Radcliffe double. “Oh, I’ve got underwear on, by the way,” Radcliffe says eagerly, because that’s not really obvious. He wears boxer shorts and tennis socks to a checked dressing gown – the costume of Radcliffe’s character Miles. “Fool, how quickly you get used to walking in underpants all day long.” Miles is a slightly nerdy guy who collects action figures and does not clear the beer bottles from the coffee table for too long. He works for a computer game company and one day discovers an underground organization that transmits so-called Deathmatches in the Darknet. So people let go of each other. After Miles leaves hate comments on the page, some sinister types turn up and operate two weapons on his hands. They force him to compete even in a death match.

Many scenes of “Guns Akimbo” were filmed in New Zealand

“Guns Akimbo” (film release expected in the summer of 2019 ) is an American-German-New Zealand co-production, much of it is “Occupant Entertainment”, behind it. Jason Lei Howden is responsible for the script and directing, several scenes have been created in his native New Zealand. But because the film TV Fund Bayern (FFF) in the course of his “special program international co-productions” added two million euros, in turn had to be shot in Bavaria. Daniel Radcliffe therefore ran through the English Garden in the past weeks, through the slaughterhouse district and climbed on the Hackerbrücke. The decommissioned paper mill in Dachau was well suited to set up Miles’ apartment and shoot a few scenes in dark corridors.

On the deserted terrain, where flowers are already growing out of the concrete, there are now residential and office trailers, a large catering trolley, a toilet trolley (the problem with peeing is the result of filming – in the old rooms only a few work toilets). Once, a group of police officers trying to solve the accident stormed the filming and arrested people for assuming the set was part of the exercise. Otherwise everything went according to plan in Bavaria.

“Actually, the Pee scene was crucial for me to play in this movie,” says Daniel Radcliffe. He’s a fan of action movies, “but I’m having trouble seeing myself in an action role.” But this film has the right sense of humor and does not take itself too seriously. He not only tells how he suddenly has weapons instead of hands, but also how he fights with the things in everyday life.

One day Radcliffe wants to direct himself

Everyday life. Daniel Radcliffe, 28, has not had such a thing since he was ten years old. Better still, not everyday life, as most people know it. If there is such a thing as world stars, Daniel Radcliffe is one. Millions of children (and adults) watched him in adulthood during the incredibly successful Potter films and celebrated him for it. That he was not really Harry Potter: no matter. As Radcliffe ventured in Dachau with colleagues once briefly in front of the paper mill, a short time later lurk teenagers at the gates. It must feel strange to cause a peer breathing in peers and to be stared at as an alien.

Radcliffe was in his early 20s when the last Potter series movie was released in 2011 . He could easily have pulled out of the business for a few months, years, paused, he had earned huge sums of money. But he kept working. Played the Harry off, developed a fondness for bizarre characters and indie projects. He played at the Broadway Theater, was already a Nazi, a guy who grew horns and in “Swiss Army Man” a bloating corpse. Commercially successful were the fewest of these stories. But they have always made Radcliffe a respected actor.

“They say I could take a break,” he says. “But I could not, if I did, I would probably travel, but I do not think I would enjoy it, I would be bored.” He loves his work, the shooting on set, the common goal. Maybe he works so much, because there is such a thing as normality for him only on the set. The set is far more real and safe than life outside. The only place where everyone does not go nuts when he shows up.

He does not watch his films after the premiere. “To deal with the result is the opposite of the reason why I do this job, that’s not my job.” One day he wants to direct himself, that’s one of the goals he has not reached at the age of 28 . Daniel Radcliffe speaks incredibly fast and, although he is British, with an American accent. Again and again the cigarette goes out, because he does not smoke because of loud talking. Terrible-looking wounds are tinkered on his hands as they would have been, riveting weapons into someone’s hands.

A few days earlier, the children of a colleague had been on the set and wanted to get to know him. “One just stared at my hands with this what-to-hell-is-go-with-you-look, then I squeezed around the wounds to show it was all fake, only found it more disgusting.” Scare children, instead of making them scream, is something else.

It’s true what everyone is writing about him: he is extremely polite and apologizes profusely when he is called to the next scene and rushes back into the building with a fluttering dressing gown. The day is still long, until four o’clock in the morning to be turned. In two days his part of the work on “Guns Akimbo” will be finished. But the next films, the next theater projects, have long since dented Daniel Radcliffe.

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