Daniel Radcliffe and Our Lady J: The Odd Couple

8.8.2010

By Noah Michelson

OLJ: I was surprised, actually, when I first moved to New York that these people are doing eight shows a week on Broadway, and yet on their night off, they're going down to Marie's Crisis or whatever their favorite cabaret bar is, and they're still singing or they're doing a benefit on Monday night. It's so obvious that they're in love with the craft.
DR: I've got to mention Sean Hayes, who is in Promises, Promises at the moment, which is a fantastic show. Up until he hosted the Tony Awards, he was rehearsing. The hours he was doing and the commitment he showed -- because the Tony Awards is not just an awards show, it's a massive Broadway party, and for him to be showing both huge commitment to that and his own show as well -- was amazing.
OLJ: Speaking of which, it's pretty impressive that you were shooting two films over an entire year and trained for Broadway at the same time. How did you handle that?
DR: Training for Broadway is an ongoing process. I've been doing dance lessons for about a year and a half, at this point, and singing for two and a half years. But the singing lessons actually stemmed from having to sing the Milky Bar [candy ad] theme tune at the very beginning of Equus. For some reason, I kept inventing a new tune every night. So they sent me off to this guy, Mark Meylan, who, among other people, taught Alan Rickman [Harry Potter's Professor Snape] to sing. To use Alan's words, 'Mark Meylan teaches through sarcasm.' He sort of just abuses you as you get it right. He's also just a lovely, kind, and brilliant man.
OLJ: What kind of music are you listening to these days? You're always passionate about your artists.
DR: An English singer-songwriter called Frank Turner. He's absolutely brilliant. Oh, the Drums -- I quite like a couple of songs by them. The Divine Comedy's new album is really, really good. It's called Bang Goes the Knighthood, and it's very, very funny and sad. And of course, I'm still listening to Florence and the Machine. 'My Boy Builds Coffins' was a song I listened to a lot this year when I was playing Harry. It felt like the right tone.
OLJ: I'm obsessed with Florence and the Machine as well. I like depressing music. Do you listen to it when you're getting ready in your dressing room?
DR: Or on set just before we start filming. I've always found music was just the most helpful thing in terms of getting into a scene, other than working myself up into a little bit of a frenzy.
OLJ: Well, aside from music, I have a Miss America question for you. When we met during the last big U.S. election, I was so excited to find out you're passionate about politics. Have you been able to pay attention to politics in the last year, in between filming and training for Broadway?
DR: I've been trying to. Certainly, British politics have been fantastic. I've not been keeping up with America quite as much.
OLJ: I've paid a bit of attention to the politics of Nick Clegg [leader of the government's coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats]. Are you a fan?
DR: I'm a very big fan. I've actually met him, and I have to say he's a really, really good man. I don't agree with everything he says, but of all the party leaders, he was the one I voted for. I thought he was a great speaker and very charismatic and very statesmanlike. And I'm glad that he is still in a prominent position in British politics because I think he could make a great contribution. He comes from absolutely the right place in terms of what his values are.
OLJ: Traveling the world, I've noticed that people are just so ecstatic that Obama is in office. And in the LGBTQ community, he's making baby steps. But is there anything you would like to see for the LGBTQ community around the world, not just in the U.S. or the U.K.?
DR: Well, obviously, in general terms, yes. The world needs to become better educated, but I would defer to you slightly on that, J, because I would never profess to be an expert. What would be high on your priority list?
OLJ: Well, I was impressed that Obama declared June national LGBT month, because change begins with education. But he also extended benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees, which is a pretty big deal. And then the U.S. State Department has a new policy that allows transgender people to change the genders on their passport to match their identity, rather than their sex, which I'm completely relieved about. It's a bit of a hassle when you go through an airport.
DR: That really does sound very important and vital to people who are making that transition, because otherwise you presumably, as you say, still have that moment in airports when you're forced to offer a look of explanation or something, which is totally unnecessary.
OLJ: Exactly. A lot of people keep it light and make a joke of it just to get through. But there have been circumstances where it's been a little bit more difficult than that. How about your involvement with the Trevor Project? How did that come about?
DR: My family and I have always thought it was best to focus our efforts rather than kind of spreading ourselves too thin across a lot of different organizations -- just really picking things that you care about and really, really believe in, and Trevor absolutely was one of them. And when I got to have a tour of the New York call center, my admiration for the projects, but also for the place and the people, tripled. The systems they have in place, the actual way the call center works on a practical level, is so brilliant and efficient. It's something I'm very, very proud to be able to be involved with.
OLJ: My friend Kate Bornstein has a book called Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide For Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, and it's comical but still a sincere way of preventing suicide among youth. Her philosophy is 'Just stay alive.'
DR: That is a brilliant philosophy -- to just keep going. There was a great quote I heard the other day from Churchill: 'When you're going through hell, just keep going.' I just love it. Why stop?

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