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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.

Posted by marcie on July 15th, 2021
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