How Harry Potter Primed Daniel Radcliffe to Take on More Challenging Film Roles

Even though most of us know Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, he has appeared in numerous roles and films. He has taken on the challenge of trying out new characters away from the Harry Potter franchise to reinvent himself.

In this article we explore a selection of some of his more challenging film roles. Many of the popular streaming services like Hulu allow you to watch Daniel Radcliffe films and get a taste of his diversity as an actor.

Who is Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989, in London, England. Before auditioning for the role of Harry Potter, he appeared in BBC One’s television movie “David Copperfield.” He followed this with his movie debut in 2001 by appearing in “The Tailor of Panama.”

At 11 years old, he auditioned for the role of Harry Potter in the first of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter films. He and another actor, Liam Aiken, auditioned for the part. Aiken is an American, and Rowling only wanted British actors. It was so important to Rowling that the cast be an all British cast that Robin Williams was turned down for the role of Hagrid.

Daniel Radcliffe appeared in all 8 Harry Potter films, which ended with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” in 2011, at age 22. Long before the end of the Harry Potter series, he had already become an international movie star.

Building an Acting Career

While starring in the series, Radcliffe continued to learn and build his acting career. The series showed him what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He has said that while he is grateful for the experience, he is also embarrassed by some of his acting in the series.

Fearing that he would always be typecast as Harry Potter, he started to look at other roles. In 2006, he was in the film “December Boys,” a movie about three orphans in 1960s South Australia. He had other movie opportunities at that time, but he felt they weren’t different enough from what he had been playing as Harry Potter and not enough of a challenge.

In 2007, Daniel Radcliffe appeared in the television movie “My Boy Jack.” The film was about English author Rudyard Kipling’s efforts to get his 17-year-old son Jack admitted to the military. Jack had been refused entrance into the service during World War I because of his bad eyesight.

He is finally able to enroll in the Irish Guards and is sent to France during the war. Shortly after arriving in France, his unit suffers terrible losses, and Jack is reported missing. His mother, Caroling Kipling, relentlessly pushes Rudyard to use his influence to help find the truth about Jack.

The Woman in Black”

Once the Harry Potter series was finished, Daniel Radcliffe set out to reinvent his image and experiment with different acting styles. His first film after Harry Potter was a 2012 horror film, “The Woman in Black,” taken from the 1983 book by Susan Hill.

Daniel Radcliffe portrays a London lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who is sent to investigate the legal matters and documents belonging to the Eel Marsh House. Once he arrives, he meets another lawyer who tells him that he should return to London immediately. Arthur decides to continue with the assignment and proceeds to the Manor where he finds a resentful ghost, a woman dressed in all black, who is seeking revenge. You can watch “The Woman in Black” on Hulu when you add Showtime to the Hulu account.


In one of his most diverse roles to date, Daniel Radcliffe plays an FBI agent sent undercover as a skinhead in this 2016 film. The movie is based on the real-life experience of FBI agent Michael German.

The film is another chance for Daniel Radcliffe to change his image, and move further away from the Harry Potter character, and experiment with new and challenging roles.

Swiss Army Man”

Other than his Harry Potter role, this 2017 movie might be the actor’s boldest role and best performance so far. “Swiss Army Man” provided plenty of acting challenges for the actor. Challenging because it is a rather odd character he must play, which is that of a deceased man, a corpse.

The main character, Hank, is stranded on an island with a dead guy who achieves the ability to speak. Throughout the movie, Hank is guided by the deceased man through a surreal journey of discovering who he is. It is an interesting movie that you can watch on Hulu when you add Showtime.

Daniel Radcliffe Movies

Since the end of the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe has appeared in numerous movies in various genres like horror, rom-com and drama. Some of his more notable movies include:

  • “Lost in London” (2017)
  • “Trainwreck” (2015)
  • “What If” (2014)
  • “Kill Your Darlings” (2013)
  • “Jungle” (2017)
  • “Now You See Me 2” (2016)

His latest movie is “Escape from Pretoria,” a real-life story about two political prisoners during the time of apartheid in South Africa. You can watch this movie on Hulu when you also sign up for Starz.

Guest Writer

Daniel Radcliffe Shines as the Hunchback Assistant in Victor Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein has endured a huge number of adaptations, with some retellings and movies having very little resemblance to the original story. The newest incarnation of the tale is the recently released film Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein and Dan as his assistant Igor. This movie is nothing like its predecessors – rather than place the spotlight on the doctor, the focus is on Dan in his role as Igor – and is a fresh addition to the lengthy lineup of Frankenstein films.

Though the older classics, like The Curse of Frankenstein, stay true to many key details in Shelley’s novel, Victor Frankenstein is part of the greater majority that stray drastically from the source material – but is a good thing in this case. Many of Dan’s fans going to see the movie may be unaware of one major change in this rendition: while the focus is planted on Dan’s character, Igor is actually not a character that appears in Mary Shelley’s original novel.

The 1931 movie Frankenstein featured the doctor’s first lab assistant, Fritz. By the time the second and third sequels to the film came along – Son of Frankenstein (1939) and The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) – “Fritz” had fallen by the wayside and the character was referred to as Igor (Ygor) on-screen. Victor Frankenstein is unique in the sense that viewers are getting a whole new viewpoint into the relationship between the doctor and his hunchbacked assistant through the eyes of Igor, making this one of the farthest stretches from the original novel to date.

Bela Lugosi played Igor in the 1939 and 1942 sequels and gave the character a signature style that endured for decades. Dan’s portrayal of Igor takes the audience back to his roots as a worker in a traveling circus, where he met Victor Frankenstein (who was a medical student at the time). The film details how Igor and Victor became confidants and partners in crime, as well as how each changed the other’s attitude towards life and death. Dan does an excellent job giving the audience a better view of how Igor’s dark personality developed as a result of his relationship with Frankenstein. The emotional conflict and inner turmoil that Igor experiences turns him from a detestable occasional character in the franchise to one that deserves greater sympathy and is essential to Frankenstein’s own history.

While the critics and reviews have been rather harsh and the unfortunate holiday weekend opening only pulling in a shoddy $3.4 million, Dan and McAvoy’s performances are anything but subpar. The drama is ever-present, beginning with Igor being violently assaulted by other clowns and Victor rushing in as a mysterious doctor to save the day – and further amplified by gross-out gore and chase scenes with a pious Scotland Yard detective (Andrew Scott) who is routinely trying to arrest Victor. A self taught physician, Igor makes a quick turn around from hunchbacked circus freak to faithful assistant once Victor comes to his aid, and offers in return all he has in loyalty and friendship.

So, how does Victor Frankenstein compare to Mary Shelley’s novel? It actually has more to do with the Frankenstein mythology formed through the series of films than the book that started it all, while also paying homage to many fan-favorite elements from the book and past Frankenstein movies equally. Victor Frankenstein is not a retelling of Shelley’s tale – instead, this film gives Igor a background and takes him from sidekick assistant to a key player in the evolution of Frankenstein himself. Dan brings a depth and dimension to Igor that aren’t present in other Frankenstein movies, and his portrayal of the character makes this film a standout addition to the franchise.

Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyle blogger for directstartv.com from the windy city of Chicago, IL. A movie lover since day one; he wishes it were possible to travel back to the golden era of Hollywood. In his free time he is busy attempting to train his owl to deliver packages for him. His efforts have, so far, yielded no results.

Review - Guest Writer - Spencer Blohm

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