It’s sometimes difficult to reconcile the fact that Daniel Radcliffe was once a child actor. The 26-year-old actor is one of the most grounded, down-to-earth, stars today, which is thrown in high relief when one considers that many child actors go off the deep end before they exit their teens.
Radcliffe did a 20-question Q&A with Playboy and opened up about his struggles with alcohol, dealing with fame, letting it all hang out on stage, and finding time for a wank.
On when he realized the role of Harry Potter role was going to follow him for his lifetime:
It may have become clear to me only in the past few years. In your head, you imagine it will all go away once the series is over. When I was first going out to bars and pubs, I was trying to pretend I could have a normal existence. Then you realize that people know who you are, and when you’re in a bar they take out their camera phones. Eventually you accept that you have to adapt how you live.
On why he drank so heavily at a young age:
Anytime I’d go out to dance, camera phones would come out. That would make me very self-conscious, and what’s the easiest way to escape being self-conscious? Alcohol is a quick way of doing that. So it was related in that way. A few years ago there was a TV ad that showed a lot of inventors, including a guy who invented the camera phone. He was smiling smugly into the camera, and I was just like, Fuck you. What have you wrought? [laughs] Camera phones are definitely not my favorite.
On being a "small guy" and whether that limited potential roles:
I don’t think so. Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise have very different careers, and they’re both about the same height as I am. I could play a soldier. The minimum height for a marine is five feet, and I’m well above that. If you’re asking, “Can you play a really fucking tall person?” No, obviously not. [laughs] Can I play a black guy? For similar reasons, no. I couldn’t play something I wouldn’t take myself seriously in. I wouldn’t be able to take myself seriously as the quarterback in a football movie, which is my one legitimate gripe. I would love to be in a football movie. The only part I would get is the general manager.
On whether there was time to wank on set:
Yeah, I was like every other teenager in that sense. My favorite line about masturbation is Louis C.K.’s, something like, “I found out about it when I was 11, and I didn’t skip a day.” I think I started very early—before my teens. But not when I was on set. I wasn’t going, When is Alan Rickman going to nail this scene so I can run back to my trailer? There’s another feeling, again perfectly described by Louis C.K.: that fear just after you’ve jerked off that everyone knows what you did. It would have been embarrassing to walk back on set and look the dignitaries of British acting royalty in the eye, knowing what I’d been doing.
On whether there was "fluffing" involved during his Equus Broadway run:
Dude, there was no opportunity for fluffing. I was onstage for the entire show, and I ran around naked for 10 minutes in a scene that’s about sexual failure and horse blinding. But I’ve heard stories about actors putting an elastic band around their dick. If you wank and then put elastic around the base of it, it keeps the blood in there, and then you whip it off and go onstage. I would have had to do it an hour and a half in advance. I’m pretty sure I would have castrated myself. I was shit-scared and 17 when I did Equus, which is the age when you’re most self-conscious. And I was very aware that a certain percentage of that audience was coming to look at my dick every night. Looking back, that was mental. I have a lot of respect for myself for having the balls to do it, so to speak.