Perhaps it was starting so young in the industry that gave him a head-start, but boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe, famed for his portrayal of Harry Potter, has wise advice for his fellow artists. Along the lines of “If you don’t like the heat get out of the kitchen” Radcliffe tells media-phobic moaners to get off social media if they want to keep their privacy. And, don’t go to red carpet premieres when the film has nothing to do with you and you’re not even in it.
Still only 23 years old, Radcliffe has an extraordinary CV. Not only did he star in all eight of the globally successful Harry Potter movies, he has gone on to tackle a series of difficult and demanding adult roles. In these he has excelled and drawn yet more critical acclaim. Taking the part in stage-play Equus was the first indicator he would be bold and brave with his choices. One role he won’t take on is that of commentator on Facebook and Twitter. He has refused to open his own accounts.
“If you tell everyone what you’re doing moment by moment,” he has explained, “and then claim you want to have a private life, no one is going to take that request seriously.” Radcliffe has decided there are certain things you can do, or not do, to make “life easier for yourself ” when the public are always going to be agog for detail. One of these, clearly, is not to feed the machine.
Much older celebrities, who ought perhaps, to be wiser, could well pay heed to this sensible advice. Alec Baldwin does spring to mind.
As well as refusing to tramp the red carpet at “premieres for a film you aren’t in” he recommends avoiding all events that come with paparazzi and press attention. If you don’t show, he wisely counsels, you don’t fuel the interest. Fellow artists should take note of the wisdom of the former wizard.
Daniel Radcliffe spent almost his entire childhood on movie sets, on location and, yet, he is realistic about the experience. He does not agree that he was stripped of a normal childhood. “Kids that are abused have their childhoods taken away from them,” he has observed. Any frustrations he felt growing up were, in retrospect, just “childish, petulant.” The worst period was when he was around 18 or 19 and did not have the freedoms his friends had. He does not say so, but he also had the unique opportunity to become supersonically wealthy.
He does admit he was lucky and since he “fell into the role,” at 11 years old, he now feels strong motivation to prove himself again. For that reason, he is grateful that people might say he’s got a “chip on his shoulder” because it gives him the impetus to get fired up.
He is not the only famous name to stay away from Twitter. Jennifer Lawrence told David Letterman that to be forced to go on it would be like “a punishment” for her and that writing down random things about stuff nobody cared about was her idea of being sentenced by a Judge.
Tina Fey feels the same. She said, in an Ask Tina video, that most people (on Twitter) are so “f**king boring they should shut up.”
Radcliffe’s latest show, the second series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook, is airing on Sky One. He loves the fact that he gets to be a baddie in this and ditch the good-guy image. The clever young multimillionaire won’t be making the sort of money he made from the Harry Potter franchise, but that hardly matters as he is set for life with a personal fortune of $87 million.
He cheerfully confesses that he will spend up large sometimes – but – “and this is going to sound so nerdy” – only in bookshops. Books are his big indulgence and he often buys 20 in one hit. His other biggest extravagance is treating his mates to a night out, but not at fancy film premieres or places where flashbulbs are popping.
Daniel Radcliffe may have left his broomstick days behind him, but his formative years of wizardry seem to have made him very wise. If he can work this out at 23, you’d think fellow artists in the entertainment industry could take a leaf from his book. Which, to paraphrase, could be: Be smart, turn the smartphone off; and stay home and read one.
By Kate Henderson