Daniel Radcliffe may have reinvented himself as a convincing leading man thanks to those advance pictures and trailers for The Woman In Black, but before filming began, director James Watkins (Eden Lake) admits that he wasn’t sure the Harry Potter star was up to the job.
“Dan’s an absolute delight,” Watkins told us, “but I never believe the party line. It’s interesting because I met up with [Harry Potter director] David Yates before to get a bit of intel, and David Yates was really like ‘You’ll have a great time, he’s great, Dan’s a good guy and he’ll throw himself into anything’. And I thought he was just giving me the party line, and he wasn’t.
“This film really shows Dan in a new light,” Watkins enthuses, “he’s playing an adult, he’s playing a father, he looks different, he looks older.
“We spent a lot of time figuring out his look, screen testing him, making him look right. It’s important to me, if you’ve done the biggest film franchise of all time that means – good or bad – there’s a lot of preconceptions, so you want to do something a bit more iconoclastic and this kinda cuts through all of that, so it was very important to create a kind of graphic reintroduction to Dan and his character.
“I think the register of Dan’s performance is very different from what you see him doing in Potter – it’s much more withheld, it’s much more internal – he gets in character but it’s a different setting and a different type of film.”
The Woman In Black is in cinemas from 10 February 2012, read more about it in the current issue of SciFiNow.