What If: Daniel Radcliffe discusses his latest project
What if you’re in love with your best friend? Director Michael Dowse’s soon-to-be-released film, starring Daniel Radcliffe, explores this situation while seeking to rise above the trappings of the rom-com stereotype. The Upcoming caught up with Radcliffe to discuss What If at a press conference in the Soho Hotel.
It was very smart. It was funny but didn’t feel contrived-funny; it felt how people actually speak. It’s a very simple, sweet story, which I think is quite emotionally affecting as well. I hope that this is the kind of the film that will stick with people. If there’s a point to be made, it’s about how a) it’s silly to live in denial of your own feelings and b) love is complicated and not clean and easy a lot of the time, but that doesn’t make it less valid or less true.
Your speech patterns and Wallace’s speech patterns are fairly similar. Was there any talk about playing him American?
I absolutely initially learned the part American but then two days before we started filming, the production company said “You have to do it English”. I think they were like, ‘You’re not marketable in American’. It was just a little annoying because I like doing American accents – it’s fun. The speech patterns I think evolved because we used a lot of improvisation during the film so a lot of my own personality comes out.
Did you use a butt double or was that really you?
I’ve obviously not been somebody who shirks nudity throughout my career so no, that was definitely me.
Did you and Zoe hit it off straight away?
Pretty much. A lot of between-takes is just telling each other embarrassing stories of terrible exes or dates. You try and match the collective memory that your characters have together so that you can have that relationship on-screen and use that stuff.
If you were Wallace would you have kissed Chantry sooner?
Yes, definitely. I don’t live in uncertainty as well as my character does. Even if you don’t get the answer you want you could move on with your life.
What’s the best line you’ve used on a girl or that a girl has used on you?
I don’t think I’ve ever used a chat-up line on a girl. I have had a couple of fairly cheesy Harry Potter lines but I’ve always been quite impressed; it takes some balls to walk up and say some of the things I’ve had said to me.
Can a guy and a girl actually ever just be friends?
Yes, obviously, yes they can. I’m sure plenty of you have friends of the opposite gender and you have not slept with all of them. (laughter)
Could you see yourself in an action film?
I can’t really picture myself in an action movie role – that’s why I think I have trouble reading them. I think one of the things you should do as an actor is know what you’re not right for as well as what you are. That’s the thing: I get an unusual amount of action in the other stuff I do like Frankenstein’s got loads, Harry Potter obviously had loads.. I get my fill of it.
What are your favourite rom-coms?
I love Arthur, the original with Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli. There’s a great movie – if you haven’t seen it I recommend it – called It Happened One Night. It’s honestly one of the most charmingly romantic comedies I’ve ever seen. When Harry Met Sally is up there; a fantastic film. I remember watching it and being stunned by how funny and clever the dialogue was all at once without trying too hard to be either.
In 2012 you said your talent crush was Ryan Gosling. Who is it in 2014?
Alex Aja who directed me in Horns. He’s an amazing director. He’s also super cool and French. He’s a complete leader of men on set. I one day hope to be a director half as good as he is, basically.
What If is released nationwide on 20th August 2014.
Read our review here.