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Daniel Radcliffe opens up on life after Harry Potter and giving up alcohol

Daniel Radcliffe appeared as a guest on Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4/Amanda Benson/PA)
Daniel Radcliffe appeared as a guest on Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4/Amanda Benson/PA)

Daniel Radcliffe has opened up on life after Harry Potter and his decision to give up alcohol in his early twenties.

Radcliffe became one of the most famous actors in the world when he was plucked from obscurity at the age of 11, landing the role of the schoolboy wizard.

He played Harry in eight films, which are among the highest-grossing of all-time.

Radcliffe, now 30, admitted to struggling with the intense scrutiny of growing up in the limelight and turned to drink.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he said: “If I went out and if I got drunk I’d suddenly be aware of there being an interest in that.

Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe has opened up on his time as Harry Potter and his decision to give up drinking (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“Because it’s not just like a drunk guy, it’s ‘Oh Harry Potter’s getting drunk in the bar’ and that carries its own kind of interest for people and also a slightly mocking interest because it is inherently funny for people.”

Radcliffe, who was born in London to actor parents, said he would often deal with the pressure by drinking more.

He said “panic” set in towards the end of his time as Harry and he did not know what he would do next.

On giving up drinking, Radcliffe said it was “weird” to realise he had to be sober at such a young age, but he was ultimately “very, very happy” to do it.

He added: “But I will always be fascinated and frustrated by the question of, is this something that would have happened anyway or was this to do with Potter?

“But I will never know. It runs in my family, generations back. Definitely not my mum and dad, I hasten to add that.”

Radcliffe deliberately pursued more adult-orientated parts after the Harry Potter films came to an end in 2011.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry Potter in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Warner Bros/PA)

He famously appeared in the play Equus, which requires prolonged nude scenes. Asked to look back on his time as Harry, he said: “It’s amazing, it really is. I sound very corny and earnest when I talk about it but it does inspire those genuine feelings in me.

“And I have things from when I was a kid I really loved and still mean a lot to me and if I met those people I would be a bit shell-shocked. So to think I occupy that place for other people is genuinely really lovely.”

Radcliffe, whose other film roles include 2012 horror The Woman In Black, 2013 drama Kill Your Darlings and 2016 comedy Swiss Army Man, now divides his time between the UK and US, with actress girlfriend Erin Darke.

Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne also asked why he thought he graduated from being a child actor relatively unscathed, while many others do not.

Radcliffe credited his parents, the cast and crew of the Harry Potter films and his love of being on set for his success.

Radcliffe’s discs included Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wise, Where Is My Mind by the Pixies and Into My Arms by Nick Cave.

Hear the full interview on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11.15am.

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