Daniel Radcliffe has prided himself on being a true professional as he approaches his career. But the actor is just 22 years old, and has done more in his career than most ever will.
So he’s bound to make missteps along the way. But at least it’s alcohol, and not something worse. Either way, Radcliffe now looks back at excessive drinking in his younger days as a big mistake, and admits now to even showing up drunk on the Harry Potter set.
“I can honestly say I never drank at work on Harry Potter,” Radcliffe recently told Heat magazine. “I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work. I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.”
Radcliffe confessed his alcoholism recently as a way of combatting it. By coming clean about some of his work — which will likely disappoint many fans — he can now confront the demons behind it, and hopefully exorcise them from his life.
And it’s something he’s been working hard on.
“The drinking was unhealthy and damaging to my body and my social life,” Radcliffe told ShortList magazine. “That’s beyond question. I was living in constant fear of who I’d meet, what I might have said to them, whatI might have done with them, so I’d stay in my apartment for days and drink alone. I was a recluse at 20. It was pathetic — it wasn’t me.”
One of the people who helped him through it was Harry Potter co-star Gary Oldman, who himself has battled with alcoholism in the past.
“He just said, ‘You can’t keep doing this. You’ve got too much to lose,'” Radcliffe said. “And that really went in. But not even he could have stopped me alone — I had to stop myself. And stopping has shown me a world of happiness that I didn’t think was possible.”
Whether drunk or sober, Radcliffe didn’t allow too much fun on the set of the Harry Potter films, even though the young people involved had to work long days, and had little play.
Professionalism, Radcliffe said, is a “vastly underestimated quality that a lot of young actors don’t have. It comes down to the fact that actors get away with a lot of shit they shouldn’t, so people expect a certain level of complacency. I always feel that’s the perception of me I’m coming up against, and I want to counteract that as strongly as I can.
“One of the main reasons I want to direct is so I can be really fucking bossy with actors,” he joked. “I won’t take any shit.”
But even with that approach, there was a brief moment that he considered leaving Harry Potter.
“There was a time after the third film when I thought about quitting,” Radcliffe said, “It was only for a second, but I thought, ‘If I do the fourth, I’ll have to do them all,’ and that seemed quite daunting. If I was going to leave, that would have been the perfect time because it would have given whoever came in to play Harry enough films to establish himself properly.”
However, contemplation does wonders.
“I started thinking, ‘What other good parts are there for 15-year-olds? None.”
Radcliffe, who is ending a successful run in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on Broadway currently stars in “The Woman in Black.” He is also set to play Allen Ginsburg in the thriller “Kill Your Darlings,” slated to be released next year.
For the complete interview Radcliffe did with ShortList, click here.