Safe to say that Daniel Radcliffe will go down in pop culture history as the boy who played Harry Potter on the big screen. However, there’s a lot more to Radcliffe than that, as is evidenced by his other films, his stage performances, and his humanitarian work. Read these 42 facts for insight into the boy who played the Boy who Lived.
Daniel Radcliffe Facts
42. Better Go to Gringotts
When he was cast in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Radcliffe was paid $110,000 for his role, but that changed quickly. Radcliffe earned seven figure salaries for the next seven Harry Potter films, nearly all of which was managed and invested by his parents until he came of age. As of 2013, Radcliffe was allegedly worth $87 million!
41. Frodo Potter
A long-running joke is that Radcliffe is often confused for Elijah Wood by Lord of the Rings fans. Radcliffe has been known to take it in stride, especially when he poked fun at the confusion when he appeared as himself on the show Bojack Horseman.
40. Now That’s a Work Ethic
Don’t let anyone accuse Radcliffe of being lazy or unreliable. The young actor spent 10 years making the Harry Potter films and in all that time, he allegedly only missed two days of work, due to illness.
39. Method Acting on Both Their Parts
In the period horror film The Woman in Black, Radcliffe plays a young father drawn to a haunted mansion for work, only to be terrorized by a vengeful spirit. An interesting detail about this film is that the main character’s young child is played by Misha Handley, who is Radcliffe’s godson in real life.
38. In Case You Forgot He Was Harry Potter
During the indie film Horns, Radcliffe’s character Ig wears a yellow hoodie with a maroon shirt underneath. Coincidentally, these are close to the Gryffindor House colors in the Harry Potter films.
37. Thought For Sure It Would be “Sectumsempra”…
When it comes to the many creative words that J.K. Rowling came up with in the Harry Potter series, you can bet that Radcliffe’s been asked which his favorite is. Surprisingly, his favorite word that Rowling made up is actually “Voldemort.” Looks like he was more interested in the Dark Arts than we thought!
36. A Man of the Movies
It turns out that not only does Radcliffe enjoy being in movies, he also enjoys watching them. Among his favorites are 12 Angry Men, Dr. Strangelove, Toy Story, Little Miss Sunshine, and Monsters Inc. Nice to know that he likes his variety.
35. Random Record Holder
At age 14, Radcliffe became the youngest non-royal to have his own individual portrait on display in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Whether it can also move and speak, however, remains to be seen.
34. My Character’s a Slacker
The third Harry Potter film was directed by Alfonso Cuaron. While preparing for the film, he gathered the three main stars–Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint–together and asked them to write a short essay on their characters. All three actors decided to complete the assignment in character, as Radcliffe submitted a one-page essay, Watson handed in a 16-page report, and Grint didn’t bother to hand one in at all.
33. Work Relationships
In 2013, Radcliffe appeared in the Beat Generation film Kill Your Darlings playing a young Allen Ginsberg who is still finding his identity. Interestingly, Radcliffe also found something–or rather, someone–while filming Kill Your Darlings. Actress Erin Darke co-starred with Radcliffe, and the two of them began a relationship shortly after their meeting on the film.
32. It Really Runs in the Family
Like their son, Radcliffe’s parents also acted when they were children. No doubt they were getting the strangest sense of déjà vu when they dropped their little boy off to work during the Harry Potter films.
31. So Harry Potter, Black Widow, Zoolander, and Erin Brockovitch Walk Into a Bar…
When asked who his favorite actors and actresses are, Radcliffe chose Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, and Ben Stiller. That certainly sounds like an interesting cast for a movie!
30. Quidditch Is Overrated
Interestingly, Radcliffe didn’t dream of being an actor as a kid. Instead, his big dream was to be a professional cricket player for England.
29. Don’t Drink the Water
Radcliffe’s experience on Horns wasn’t without its drawbacks. At one point during filming, Radcliffe made a mistake by drinking non-potable water from his trailer’s sink tap. What he didn’t know was that anti-freeze had been mixed into the water due to the cold conditions of where they were shooting. Needless to say, it made him sick as a dog for three days!
28. Starving for a Role
To prepare for his role in 2017’s The Jungle (which is based on the true story of a group who got lost in the South American rainforests), Radcliffe sustained himself on one chicken breast and one protein bar per day. If he was feeling hungry besides that, he allegedly drank coffee and smoked cigarettes to kill his appetite.
27. Gosh, I Acted So Awful In That…
Like his What If co-star, Adam Driver, Radcliffe isn’t a fan of watching himself on screen, as he ends up being too negative towards himself. He also refuses to read reviews of his films or plays. We can only imagine his policy towards internet comments!
Despite his famous starring role in the slightly controversial play Equus, Radcliffe isn’t actually a fan of horses at all, it turns out. Well, he certainly had us all fooled.
24. Maybe He’s a Blackadder Fan
Any QI fans will remember that the Christmas episode Hocus Pocus featured Radcliffe as a panelist. While it certainly surprised people to see him there, it turns out that former QI host Stephen Fry is good friends with Radcliffe. Given that Fry narrated the audiobooks for the Harry Potter series, we can imagine how they first bonded.
23. An Eye for Politics
Like many celebrities before him, Radcliffe has thrown his clout into the world of politics. He initially supported the Liberal-Democrat party of the UK, but in 2012, he changed his mind over Nick Clegg’s performance as Deputy Prime Minister and has publicly supported the Labour Party ever since.
22. Can You Recommend Me Your Barber?
Did you like the look of Radcliffe’s hairdo in Victor Frankenstein? Well, unfortunately that wasn’t his real hair. Radcliffe wore extensions throughout the production, as growing it out would have taken too long.
21. How Much if I Shave it All?
Interestingly, Radcliffe found a good use for cutting his hair when he took part in a Comic Relief fundraiser. A lock of his hair was sold for the unprecedented amount of 751 pounds (the British currency, for those looking confused right now).
20. Sick of That Scar
During the course of the Harry Potter films, Radcliffe had to have Harry’s famous scar drawn on his head over 2,000 times. No doubt he had a few choice words for Voldemort by the time he was shooting the last film.
19. A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity
It’s indisputable that acting in the Harry Potter films changed Radcliffe’s life, so it’s incredible to think that he very nearly didn’t even audition for the iconic role. Radcliffe’s parents were unsure if starting so young in film would give him a fair chance at a good childhood. It wasn’t until Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus directly asked to have Radcliffe audition that his parents finally relented, and the rest is history.
18. Get That Kid!
It might be surprising that Chris Columbus requested an audition for Radcliffe, but there’s a reasonable explanation behind that. After a whopping 5,000 auditions didn’t deliver the right person to play Harry Potter, Columbus noticed Radcliffe in a movie called David Copperfield and was convinced that he was the one. He waited out the hesitancy of Radcliffe’s parents, and ultimately got to cast Radcliffe in The Sorcerer’s Stone.
17. Don’t Tell Ginny
Both Radcliffe and Rupert Grint admitted that they had crushes on their co-lead, Emma Watson, during the production of the films. No doubt Radcliffe was crushed when he read the seventh book.
16. G’Day Mate!
To prepare for the film December Boys, Radcliffe spent over six months preparing his Australian accent to make sure it sounded authentic. We can only assume he did this by watching every episode of The Crocodile Hunter that he could find.
15. A Real Hero
Radcliffe suffers from a mild case of dyspraxia. This is a neurological condition that affects motor functions as simple as tying your own shoes or writing. While this gave Radcliffe a lot of trouble in school, he’s always been determined to not let his dyspraxia stop him from living a full and healthy life. Radcliffe has often spoken about his condition and donates time and money to various charities and organizations to support others who share his condition.
14. Keep an Eye on Him
One way that Radcliffe’s dyspraxia affected him during his youth was his uneven blinking; this is visible in the early Harry Potter films. Radcliffe got the hang of it by the time the later films came out, but even if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have let it stop him from playing one of the most iconic roles of the 21st century.
13. Very Funny, Guys
Given that many of the main characters in the Harry Potter films were children, you wouldn’t necessarily think that it would be the adults who decided to pull the most juvenile pranks. During one scene, however, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) and Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) arranged to put an electric whoopee cushion near Radcliffe, interrupting his lines in the most embarrassing way. It’s nice to know that Professor Snape had a sense of humor after all.
12. It’s All Greek to Me
Of course, Radcliffe was no saint on set when it came to pranks. His prank of choice on the Harry Potter set was to take people’s cell phones and change the language setting to make it unreadable to the owners.
11. Broadway Calls to Me
Equus wasn’t the last time that Radcliffe appeared on stage. When Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri) launched a revival of his play The Cripple of Inishmaan in 2013, Radcliffe played the lead role. The play was nominated for six Tony Awards (though Radcliffe sadly wasn’t nominated).
In addition to his passion for acting, Radcliffe has always had an eye for literature. Reportedly, some of Radcliffe’s favorite books are Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Germinal, Labyrinths, and The Old Man and the Sea.
9. Secret Writer
Not quite satisfied with reading, Radcliffe has also got a passion for writing, too. He’s published poems under a pseudonym, which combines his middle name (Jacob) and the Jewish spelling of his mother’s maiden name (Gershon). Radcliffe also has plans to write a screenplay in the future.
8. Butt Out, LaBeouf
Radcliffe has had to compete with Shia LaBeouf at least twice in his life for roles in films. The first one was the role of Maps in The December Boys. Meanwhile, LaBeouf was actually the first person cast in Horns before he was replaced with Radcliffe.
7. Can’t Stop Giving Back
While Radcliffe was filming Imperium, the production team had a bike they used to travel between the filming locations. After the production was wrapped, Radcliffe autographed the bicycle before it was donated to the city of Hopewell (where they’d been shooting). The bicycle sold for over $2,000 at an auction, which donated the proceeds to Hopewell’s United Way campaign.
6. The Man Who Made the Paparazzi Howl
If there’s one thing that celebrities hate, it’s the paparazzi. But Radcliffe found a way to prank them so hard that they knew never to mess with him again. While he was performing in the play Equus, he noticed that if he wore the same clothes as the day before when leaving the theatre, it would mean the paparazzi wouldn’t be able to sell the pictures, much to their displeasure, since there was no way to prove it was a new day based on his outfit. He happily proceeded to wear the same clothes leaving and entering the theatre for the entire rest of the run of Equus.
5. How Could It Not Be My Favorite?
One of the stranger projects in Radcliffe’s career is the film Swiss Army Man, where he plays a talkative, flatulent corpse named Manny who is trapped on a desert island with a castaway named Hank, played by Paul Dano. Not surprisingly, this bizarre film is Radcliffe’s favorite project so far in his career.
4. He’s Beside Himself
While performing as Manny the corpse in Swiss Army Man, the production team designed a dummy to stunt as Radcliffe for the dangerous shots, but Radcliffe was adamant that he be onscreen as much as he could without risking his life. Later, he found another use for the dummy when he was promoting the film. He would take his dummy along with him on interviews and fan conventions in the US.
3. A Life Saver
Amongst his many actions as an activist and philanthropist, Radcliffe filmed several public service announcements for The Trevor Project. This organization strives to raise awareness of suicide prevention among LGBTQ teens. He also contributed financially to The Trevor Project and was awarded their Hero Award in 2011 for all his efforts to help their cause.
2. How’d You Figure That?
As a celebrity, Radcliffe gets asked many strange and random questions, but he’s not above giving his own strange and random answers in kind. When asked what his spirit animal is, Radcliffe came up with “a wolf with a crossbow.”
1. Too Much Butterbeer
One problem that arose for Radcliffe during the filming of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a dependency on alcohol. He has admitted to coming in to shoot while still drunk. Thankfully, before his addiction could completely destroy his life, and he was able to gain control of his addiction; he has been sober since 2013. Drinking while broom flying is too dangerous to risk.