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Feature: Harry Potter & Prisoner of Azkaban
Star Daniel Radcliffe tells us about working with new directors and growing up as he looks ahead to The Prisoner of Azkaban, and beyond…
Attention is already turning to the fourth Harry Potter movie. Casting rumors and actual news are running around, fueled by the appointment of another new director with another new approach. And we haven’t even seen how Alfonso Cuaron puts his stamp on the look and atmosphere of the Magical World yet.
Still, the turn around in directors has had a big impact on budding film buff Daniel Radcliffe, who’s expressed an interest in directing in his later years and was getting an education in screen techniques from Chris Columbus, the master of the feel-good movie who helmed the first two installments.
“That’s what’s been a really interesting experience,” comments the now not-so-young actor, though as we’ll discover later his co-stars are overtaking him in the growth department, “as everything that I learnt with Chris, I’m now getting a chance to practice with a new director, and that’s a really interesting, new challenging experience.
“That’s one of the things that’s been really great about filming this one. With Chris I did learn so much about all the different films [from Hollywood history], and now I’m learning about foreign film history with Alfonso.”
On-set, there’s also been differences, he tells an inquisitive journalist during a worldwide link-up. “Chris always had this fantastic energy about him which suited the first two films perfectly, and Alfonso has a much more laid back intensity to him, which suits the third film perfectly. I can’t really say how it comes through visually,” though, Radcliffe adds, “as I haven’t seen the film.”
So what’s different about the atmosphere of the third movie? Mainly that Harry is growing up and encountering the disillusionment of adolescence for the first time.
“I definitely feel I have grown up with him. When we first meet him he’s just turned 11, and he grows up from there to 13 so far. So by the third he’s gone through all the changes that everybody, myself included goes through in those years.”
Foremost amongst them is the realization that your parents aren’t perfect, and can’t protect you from everything. Of course, Harry knew that from the mere fact that his parents died when Lord Voldemort attacked him, but there are worse revelations to come. “Absolutely,” comments Daniel Radcliffe. “One of the things that does strike me about the book is that Harry thinks that he knows everything about his parents’ past, and then he finds out about their relationship with Sirius Black,” the eponymous Prisoner of Azkaban, “and then there’s a twist towards the end that obviously I can’t say. But it does confront a lot of those things where you think you know someone or something very well, and actually it turns out to be completely wrong. That does help greatly to find new and interesting aspects of the character. It just increases the range, the emotional scope of the character that you can play around with.”
by Anthony Brown
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