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George Stroumboulopoulos

On ‘Extras’

Daniel Radcliffe: I get ‘Extras’ almost as much as I get ‘Harry Potter’. I get – because ‘Extras’ is what… It’s generally men, and it’s generally men between 15 and 25, who don’t really want to like come up and gush about Potter, but they do want to say hello, so the way in has become, like, “hey man, loved you on ‘Extras’, that was great.” “Yeah, thank you.” But I loved doing ‘Extras’, that was… It was 7, it was like 7 or 8 years ago now. It was a long – it doesn’t seem that long, but it was actually quite a while ago now.

George Stroumboulopoulos: It’s incredible how, I mean you’re really young now, but how young you were in that. Did you know Ricky? Did Ricky give – Ricky Gervais?

DR: I was telling that story the other day actually. It’s one of the weirdest – it’s the weirdest way I’ve ever got a job, without a doubt. It’s the first time I’ve ever said yes to without reading a script because it was Ricky Gervais. I was in Australia making ‘December Boys,’ and we had been watching the first series of ‘Extras’. And then one of the local PAs, Caroline, took us to her friend’s house, and they had kangaroos and snakes. And kangaroos are – you can’t just have a kangaroo as a pet in Australia, they have to – I think I’m right in saying, it’s very specific – they have to be found, like, abandoned, in their mother’s pouch, at the roadside, right? And then you can raise them.

GS: Reasonable.
[…]

DR: I spent most of the evening watching a snake crawl around a table and bottle-feeding a kangaroo. And then the phone rang, and it was Ricky Gervais, saying “I’d like you to be on ‘Extras’.” And that was how I got that job. And I said yes. My dad literally – I was in the other room, bottle-feeding a kangaroo, and my dad ran through with the phone going, “um, it, it’s Ricky Gervais. Can you talk to him?” And I was like, “well, yeah.” It was a very, very strange moment. And you know I was such a fan of his at that point, I mean I must have watched the English ‘Office’ in its entirety 3 times at least by that point, and just thought he was a genius, and really was very, very excited to work with him. And I have to say what was interesting about working with him was to really see how – Ricky is obviously an incredibly funny guy and really smart and all that – but how much Stephen Merchant is actually like, it’s a completely equal partnership.

GS: Were the Potter production people – were they okay with that character, what you did on ‘Extras’?

DR: Yeah, yeah. They never really – they never really kicked up a fuss about anything. I mean I’m sure there were a few people who were slightly, when ‘Equus’ was announced was a little bit taken aback, but generally speaking, there wasn’t a morality clause in the contract in terms of what I could go off and do, so I don’t think we ever really worried about it too much.

On ‘Kill Your Darlings’

GS: I wonder if your chance at a better product is improved because you had that kind of reckless fun on the set…

DR: I think so. I absolutely think – well I think it depends what you’re making, but I think ‘Kill Your Darlings’ absolutely benefits from the fact that we had to make it in 25 days for no money, running around New York. Like there is an urgency to it and a vitality that you don’t get if you’re, you know, hanging around for 6 hours between set-ups, and waiting for something – that, I think it’s a much better way of making films, and it’s certainly a much, as an actor it’s much easier.

GS: Do you have to learn a different gear when you’re making a film like that?

DR: No, I think I just have to go to my natural gear. I’ve always had this much energy, and I’ve kind of got it to spare, so being on a film set… I remember someone turned round to me on day 18 of ‘Kill Your Darlings’ and said “you must be knackered,” I’m like “no, my last job was 150 days, this is fine.”




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