The actor's standout moments of 2014 – her Minajesty’s bubble butt, reaching peak celebrity and his fav rock’n’roll nun
Since rehabilitating his image with riskier roles in films like Kill Your Darlings and Horns, Daniel Radcliffe is toe-dipping his way back into public consciousness. This year, he only took us to the cinema twice – What If and Horns – the former being his first lead role in a rom-com; the latter probably the first time he had horns glued to his forehead. Next year he's lined up a starring role in Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck opposite Amy Schumer, Brie Larson and Tilda Swinton. Then he'll be hobbling on screen as Igor in Victor Frankenstein, the quasi moto maniac who breathes life into James McAvoy.
While I'm waiting to meet Daniel Radcliffe, he dashes past me to hunt down an ash tray. He returns, shakes my hand, introduces himself as if he wasn't on the side of the bus I just rode to get here and he starts to roll a cancer stick. "Do you mind if I smoke?" he asks me once we sit down, as if I would dream of saying no. He cracks open the hotel room's window, lights up, and we get to work. When he's not working, his eye is surveying the pop culture landscape. So what caught his roving gaze this year? A certain rapper's bubble butt, roadside sick, and a rock'n'roll nun.
What was your defining pop culture moment of 2014?
Daniel Radcliffe: God, what was… you know what? I feel like, this morning I was on a radio show talking to Nick Grimshaw and he’s very good friends with Harry Styles, and I feel like we might have reached peak celebrity right now. Apparently – I was unaware of this until today – but apparently Harry Styles threw up somewhere, and a shrine has been made where he threw up, and people are visiting it. I feel like, if you want to talk about where celebrity culture is in 2014 – that’s a good story.
I also read that they were selling his sick online.
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah. I feel like that might be the defining pop culture moment of our time (laughs). Also, Nicki Minaj’s video. I’m trying to think of other stuff that make me sound like I actually—
What do you think about the “Anaconda” video?
Daniel Radcliffe: What do I think? She’s sexy! There’s nothing more to think than that. Has there been a huge controversy about it or something?
Some people think she’s reappropriating twerking as an idea of feminism, and other people think it’s just a sexualized body.
Daniel Radcliffe: Oh right, I don’t know.
There’s a booty debate going on.
Daniel Radcliffe: God, well, I’m blinded by lust in that debate. What’s she like? I’d be intrigued to know what she’s like.
I’m sure she’s got her diva attitude but I think she’s a bit of a feminist, you know?
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah but that’s the thing, I feel like people as well sometimes just read so much into songs to the point where like – you can analyse the fuck out of something fun. I know, I guess it’s about the image it promotes and the influence it has on people but I guess you can’t – she wants to make that song, you can’t stop her from making that song.
It kind of kills the fun of it, doesn’t it?
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah I guess. Oh fuck, I’ve obviously picked a side.
What was your favourite song and movie of this year?
Daniel Radcliffe: My favourite movie of this year was The One I Love, the Charlie McDowell film.
Daniel Radcliffe: Because it’s so unusual and so simple and one of the first, it’s very very funny, but it’s also one of the most interesting stories. It’s a film about a couple that go away to a sort of retreat in the US countryside. There’s a guest house in the grounds of where they are, so they go down from time to time, and whenever one of them enters the guest house without the other person with them, they meet an idealized version of their partner, and their real partner can’t get into the house. It’s a crazy movie, but it’s basically about a couple struggling to save their marriage, but it’s done in an amazingly inventive way.
My favourite song… oh God. I’m really enjoying Jamie T’s new album, and there’s a song on it called “The Prophet” – not sure if it’s my favourite of the year but it’s definitely up there. It’s very high up there. I can’t think of anything else right now.
“I worry a little bit honestly. I worry a little bit about how obsessed with people like me we are. When I say that I mean just any celebrity in general” – Daniel Radcliffe
What do you think will happen with style and pop culture in 2015?
Daniel Radcliffe: More vomit selling on the internet, even more. Stocks in vomit, buying now. What do I think will change? I have no idea really. I mean, I worry a little bit honestly. I worry a little bit about how obsessed with people like me we are. When I say that I mean just any celebrity in general.
This morning you talked about the rich list.
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah, and I mean that’s odd and that’s fine. That’s a very British thing, do they have – oh, I suppose they have the Forbes list (in the US).
How do you feel being ranked against other people?
Daniel Radcliffe: That’s fine. I mean it’s all ridiculous, the whole thing’s ridiculous and everyone on the list knows it. Anyone who looks at that list and goes, 'Oh, where am I this year?' is a twat. That’s beyond dispute. I remember earlier this year, me and my girlfriend went to the shops in America and we bought some stuff and we went home – and there were pictures of us online, and that��s a minor thing, it was Perez Hilton which is, to me at least, generally fairly harmless and a few other sites. But it’s so weird that the trivial actions of people are being made to look like they’re exciting. And they’re not, it’s just life. I think that it sort of creates an atmosphere where people aspire to fame for fame’s sake rather than fame as a byproduct of doing something really cool. So yeah, I don’t know – I worry slightly.
What new skill did you learn this year?
Daniel Radcliffe: I’m learning to play guitar. I just started like a few, a couple of months ago and I really enjoy it.
The acoustic guitar?
Daniel Radcliffe: No, I got an electric, with like an amp and a distortion pedal – acoustic is amazing but like, acoustic is much harder, for me at least. You can play around on an electric guitar and get a good sound out of it really quickly, so I’m enjoying that.
Who was an unsung cultural hero that you discovered this year?
Daniel Radcliffe: Actually I just mentioned her in another interview, funnily enough. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, do you know her?
No. Was she a nun?
Daniel Radcliffe: No, she was this amazing – maybe she was, actually! I just thought it was a stage name, perhaps she was. That would be even cooler! She’s this kind of unsung hero, originator of rock'n'roll, along with obviously all the sort of male guys in that group she was this amazing black lady who played electric guitar. I had a moment of real pride as well, because there was moment when she was playing on a train station and she’s playing to an all-white crowd of young kids – I guess it would have been in the 50s – and they’re really into it, they’re really enjoying it. I was like, 's this America?' I was very confused, and I was really proud because it was Manchester, England.
What is something that has happened to you this year that you wouldn’t have expected to happen at all?
Daniel Radcliffe: It was last year, but I got hair extensions for playing Igor. I never saw that coming. That was odd.
Was that a dark time? Wearing the hair extensions?
Daniel Radcliffe: It wasn’t a dark time for me but it was for my girlfriend. She was not happy, yeah, not happy – but they’re gone now, thankfully. I can’t think of anything else right now but I’m sure that’s ridiculous because loads of weird shit happens to me all the time. Oh! When I was in Mexico doing press for something, all the fans bought me a Mariachi band – they clubbed together and paid for a Mariachi band to stand outside the hotel and serenade me. Again, something I didn’t see coming.
That’s kind of a 'I can’t believe this is happening' moment.
Daniel Radcliffe: It was. It was one of those real moments of, 'That is the sweetest thing, and my life is very strange.'
What can we expect from you in 2015?
Daniel Radcliffe: Well Frankenstein comes out next year, so that, and hopefully if things kick into gear in the next few weeks at least one other film.