Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.
This week’s heresy:
“After several years trying to throw off the suffocating mantle of the Harry Potter franchise’s leading role, through a wide variety of roles, Daniel Radcliffe may finally have found the one to let him stand out: the upcoming film adaptation of Joe Hill’s horror novel Horns.”
I never really warmed to Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. It wasn’t, really, his fault; I didn’t rate the Harry Potter film series as a whole. The Prisoner of Azkaban was good, and I did enjoy the unrelenting bleakness of The Deathly Hallows Pt1. But on the whole, it was a disappointment. It was less than it could have been.
And yet, the boy wizard is something which Radcliffe has carried with him. He was in Extras, in which he did a brilliant send up of himself. And he was in The Woman in Black, which some loved but again I felt fell short; I didn’t buy into the fresh-faced Radcliffe as a qualified solicitor, father and widower. Had he been a solicitor-in-training, had the boy been his brother rather than his son.
Here though, he has something. I have read Joe Hill’s “Horns”, an excellent and nuanced book. And Radcliffe is the right age for Ignatius Perrish. I had my doubts at first, but after seeing the early trailers, I am more convinced. His American accent isn’t perfect, but something about him seems to live in the role.
Horns isn’t your typical horror story, but a tale of loss and anger. Ig is a complex character, and more than a bundle of tropes. The emotional performance which the role demands is something taxing, something more. And I now suspect that Radcliffe has what it will take.
I’m a regular listener to the Kermode and Mayo film review show on Radio 5 Live, and last week Radcliffe was interviewed by Edith Bowman. I was struck by how keen he was to be more than just the boy wizard. He presumably has no need ever to work again, and yet he displays an inate love of film, keen to play different roles, and even the idea of directing and writing.
I have’t seen Horns yet, and it will be another few months until it is released (and even then I have to hope my local cinema will deign to show it). So I don’t wish to make premature judgements which I may yet come to regret (It wouldn’t be the first time – Ed). However, there is something about this. If the adaption is good, and he performs as well as I hope he will, then this role could be the making of Daniel Radcliffe’s future as an actor.