Last week we published our premiere coverage, where we spoke with the cast and crew of the film but we got to speak with Radcliffe in rather more depth a few days beforehand, where we discussed horror movies, missing out on school trips, and just where all the freaky props used in the film came from.
Given that you’ve come off the biggest franchise of all time and you’re one of the more bankable actors of the moment, you could have chosen more or less any role. What drew you to a small British horror?
“I’ve done the franchise thing and I loved it, but I know I’ll never be in a film as commercially successful as that again, so in a way there’s no pressure to try and be. I read the script and it was fantastic, and I thought it was a really compelling story that I think will have an appeal to a wider audience than just me; then I met the director, James who’s wonderful, then it became a really exciting prospect, because it was to do something – it was to make, what would be a very effective horror film, but also a film about loss, and about grief, and where the relationships and characters feel real, which is a thing that’s becoming less and less common in horror. That, I suppose is what drew me to it.”
You Speak as if you’re a horror fan.
“You know what, I’m not really. I think that was one of the things that drew me to the script, that it was so – I didn’t expect to enjoy it. When somebody said, ‘this is a horror film script that you have to read’ – I knew The Woman in Black, obviously I was aware of the play and that there was a book.”
Had you seen the play?
“I hadn’t seen the play, no. I missed that particular school trip. Everyone I know seems to have seen it on a school trip, and I spent less time than I perhaps should have at school. But I was reading it, and I was so into it and I hadn’t expected to be, and that drew me in even more. I think this is a film for people, both buffs of the genre who love it will really enjoy the film, because it gives them a lot of respect. It’s not about gore, it’s about suggestion. It’s about the fact that James, our director keeps the audience in a state of slight tension throughout the film, so when there are those moments that get you, they’re heightened.”
On set is a very artificial environment, but was there that tension for you?
“Actually, it was a pretty relaxed set. We actually had quite a lot of fun. What would happen sometimes is that James would let the camera run, and would let me explore the space with a Steadicam following me around. Those were the moments that got quiet enough, and when the camera’s behind you, you could convince yourself for a second that this is all there is. There are a couple of moments you can work up a sense of fear and panic inside yourself, but generally speaking, it’s a very relaxed set. It’s like kissing. You can be kissing the most beautiful woman in the world, on a film set it suddenly becomes not quite what it would be in real life, because you’ve got people watching.”
On this you’re working with people you have worked with previously, Ciaran for instance,
“Yes, he’s going to be beside me. I’m going to have it written into my contract. Every film I do will have Ciaran Hinds in it at some point.”
Was there a hangover [from Potter] with some of the crew and some of the cast?
“Quite a lot. In fact, Simon Wilkinson, props, who had looked after my glasses for ten years on Potter was doing this as well. The AD team from second unit on Potter came over. Who else was there? In fact, Peter Cavaciuti came in and did some Steadicam work, and he worked on the early Potter films. That’s what’s lovely now about having worked on these massive British films for 10 years. I will never work on a film in Britain again where I don’t know at least one person on the crew. It’s a nice feeling of safety so it’s not like your first day of school every time you walk in.”
You mention the props master, was his job just to assemble the creepiest props? That room, that bedroom. Who would give their children those toys?
“Simon’s job actually was to make sure I didn’t break any of those toys. Those toys are all unbelievably expensive, and I think I’m right in saying, come from one woman’s house in America. They’re all part of her private collection. I think one of them’s worth upwards of 50 grand, and was made in the 1870s or something. They’re incredible, they’re unbelievably creepy and I hope she’s – they’re made to look very beautiful in the film, so I hope wherever she is, she’s pleased with how they come off.”