Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Daniel Radcliffe

The Harry Potter star drops by for a chat ahead of his new film, this week's Gothic horror The Woman in Black.

by | February 1, 2012 | Comments

“It’s actually a thrill to be talking about something else,” Daniel Radcliffe chuckles, pausing to consider a question about his new movie The Woman in Black. He is, of course, referring to the ubiquitous presence of a certain blockbuster franchise that has consumed almost half of his life on the planet. Radcliffe was just an untested 11-year-old when cast as the eponymous hero of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone way back in 2001; now, having triumphantly wrapped the series with last year’s Deathly Hallows, he’s a seasoned 22 and ready to spirit himself into the realm that lies beyond Hogwarts.

“To be honest,” Radcliffe admits, “I want to just cram in as many, and as diverse a range, of parts in films as I possibly can in the next few years — while I’m in this stage of transition from out of the world of Potter.”

Though he’s done a couple of small films between his wizarding gig (and received praise for his stage work in Equus), The Woman in Black represents the first significant step in the actor’s post-Potter direction. Based on a popular English novel and produced under the vintage Hammer label, the Gothic horror is set in a remote village whose children are being terrorized by the specter of dead woman. Radcliffe plays the young lawyer dispatched to investigate — and it’s a role the actor hopes will help cultivate a new screen image.

“The fact that the part is different, in that I’m playing older and I’m playing a father; there’s stuff that will physically separate me from Harry in people’s minds,” he explains. “But what’s more important to me is that the story of this film is so compelling — that even if people go in thinking, “Oh let’s see how he does in his next thing,” within, like, 15 minutes they’re going to be, hopefully, wrapped up in the story; because it’s a great story, and really compelling and scary.”

Audiences will have their chance to see Radcliffe’s transformation (and marvel at his dashing new accoutrements) when The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week. In the meantime, we asked him to talk through his all-time five favorite films.

12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957; 100% Tomatometer)

My five favorite films change all the time. Well, no — the top three never change, but the last two are kind of up for grabs constantly. 12 Angry Men is, I think, a feat of writing. It’s brilliant. The fact that it all takes place in one room — I think there’s maybe two minutes, three minutes of screen time that is not in the one room in that film — and yet it is one of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen. I mean, you can’t look away. You’re gripped by the dynamics between the people, by what’s gonna happen, and by the fact that it’s a whodunit, based in one room, which is brilliant.

A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946; 95% Tomatometer)

I think A Matter of Life and Death is one of the great works of imagination in cinema. It’s a brilliant story. David Niven could not be more charming in it if he tried. He starts off, you know, as a World War II pilot about to crash his plane whilst quoting Andrew Marvell down the phone to the mayday operator, who he then falls in love with. There is one shot in it, actually, of the heavenly court before it goes into session, which we absolutely — and I haven’t actually spoken to Mike Newell about this — but we lifted almost identically for the start of the Triwizard tournament in Potter, in the fourth film. There is one shot — because I think I watched Matter of Life and Death shortly after we finished that film — which I watched and went, “Oh my god, we’ve just stolen that!”

Well if you’re gonna steal, steal from the Archers.

Absolutely; if you’re gonna steal, you can’t do much better than those guys. So that would be one of my favorite films. Possibly — possibly — even more than 12 Angry Men.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964; 100% Tomatometer)

Dr. Strangelove showed me, I suppose taught me, a lot about comedy. The stuff that’s funniest is the stuff that scares us most — because all good comedy comes out of fear of death, fear of humiliation, fear of public awkwardness, fear of, you know, all those kinds of things. To have truly, really dark comedy where at the end of the film everyone in the world dies, that was very funny to me. I went to the Kubrick exhibition and there was this whole section on how originally the film had ended with a gigantic pie fight, and it was cut; but in a way I get what that might have been going for — the fact that it is all so ridiculous.

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006; 91% Tomatometer)

Little Miss Sunshine: I find it to be the sweetest, funniest… it’s a modern classic, I think. And I think Steve Carell is brilliant in it; heartbreaking. Also the fact that it came out of nowhere — that I went to the cinema knowing nothing about it.

Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963; 96% Tomatometer)

The fifth, because it is the film of my childhood, and I still think the skeleton sequence is one of the scariest effects sequences ever, is Jason and the Argonauts. That is the film that, within the first six months of a relationship of any girl that I’m with, I have to make her watch that film — and if she doesn’t react the way I’d like, then that’s kind of a deal-breaker. If you don’t like Harryhausen’s stop-motion then you are not going to be in my life. [Laughs]

Has it ever come to that?

No, fortunately not. Fortunately I think that they all picked up that the stakes were quite high — so at least they pretended to like it.

Really, what kind of awful person wouldn’t like it?

You really have to kind of just have a heart of stone to not be able to get into that film, ’cause it’s just brilliant. You know the other film I like? The Vikings, that Tony Curtis-Kirk Douglas one. It’s really good, just because it’s… well, it’s Vikings; but I think Ernest Borgnine plays, like, Ragnar, the king of the Vikings, and it’s a hysterical film — ’cause made in the ’50s, and there are these shots where they’re panning down the rows of Vikings and they’ve all got horned helmets and scraggly hair, and then you get to Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas who’re just perfectly coiffed, beautiful men still. [Laughs]

The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

Showtime Turner Classic Movies sitcom Photos biography ABC Family Esquire Opinion kids The Witch romance Marvel Studios classics women serial killer Cosplay Nickelodeon cinemax Mudbound TV political drama Amazon Studios Awards Tour DC Comics The Walking Dead New York Comic Con directors TruTV The Walt Disney Company LGBTQ Paramount Network laika Chernobyl science fiction toy story San Diego Comic-Con USA Network strong female leads PaleyFest scary movies USA richard e. Grant adventure MTV stop motion Tubi Certified Fresh razzies football facebook werewolf Comic Book romantic comedy First Reviews zombies Reality Tarantino comedies sequels vampires Lionsgate king kong Horror Sony Pictures Freeform Syfy Acorn TV Musical witnail comic books Hallmark Christmas movies cats travel medical drama talk show films GLAAD Pirates halloween tv PlayStation Broadway cartoon Black Mirror Adult Swim OneApp TCM Peacock mission: impossible mockumentary best ESPN Disney streaming service Fox Searchlight blockbusters Mary poppins Western zombie Avengers supernatural dc criterion The Arrangement Chilling Adventures of Sabrina doctor who CW Seed Logo Mindy Kaling series BBC One Nat Geo 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Crackle Legendary Character Guide ViacomCBS BET Animation DC streaming service CBS DirecTV National Geographic critics 21st Century Fox FX on Hulu die hard blaxploitation Awards Disney Calendar slashers TLC historical drama APB Pop 4/20 aliens crime drama technology Drama X-Men DC Universe Turner Winter TV name the review binge docuseries Arrowverse Spectrum Originals Superheroe Mystery 71st Emmy Awards MSNBC venice canceled Year in Review popular Marathons First Look social media TCA Awards Valentine's Day Christmas tv talk robots remakes superman Sundance kaiju fresh kong stand-up comedy AMC Set visit Masterpiece book adaptation toronto nature movies Academy Awards rotten Dark Horse Comics pirates of the caribbean spy thriller twilight Star Wars Pet Sematary unscripted The CW TBS Martial Arts cooking Spring TV TNT sequel revenge 2021 NYCC Biopics fast and furious Britbox theme song TCA 2017 ratings Holiday canceled TV shows Film Watching Series IFC Infographic news Hallmark WGN crossover ABC based on movie CNN video dceu Writers Guild of America Extras transformers hollywood miniseries children's TV award winner SXSW Grammys cars HBO Max elevated horror Black History Month all-time spanish language Mary Tyler Moore new star wars movies 72 Emmy Awards versus war jamie lee curtis dramedy spinoff Shudder crime thriller Premiere Dates Toys spanish teaser asian-american golden globe awards Travel Channel SundanceTV foreign parents cancelled television movie satire VOD ITV 93rd Oscars ghosts thriller GoT superhero E! godzilla VH1 period drama cops game show YouTube Red 99% Comics on TV police drama A&E reboot french Rocketman CMT 20th Century Fox Hear Us Out Sundance TV indiana jones screenings worst Disney Channel TV One chucky nbcuniversal golden globes Brie Larson james bond President diversity boxing Best and Worst animated TIFF dragons space green book a nightmare on elm street Superheroes Disney+ Disney Plus hispanic TV renewals composers BAFTA obituary trailers Creative Arts Emmys documentary Exclusive Video telelvision Paramount Walt Disney Pictures Film Festival cancelled TV shows MCU Starz documentaries The Academy 2016 Bravo discovery 2020 christmas movies Red Carpet free movies crime Action Countdown DGA anthology OWN Discovery Channel Rock dark Classic Film 2015 Mary Poppins Returns Epix cancelled TV series prank child's play Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FX Star Trek universal monsters El Rey 45 boxoffice Pixar RT History game of thrones Comedy Central mutant Marvel Comedy Family franchise Apple TV+ PBS spain Food Network See It Skip It comic Musicals 24 frames Video Games archives Emmys BBC America VICE Fantasy monster movies Election rt archives zero dark thirty CBS All Access NBC south america festival Amazon Prime Video Lifetime Sci-Fi cults GIFs Pride Month Quiz Cartoon Network Sneak Peek Ovation comiccon Women's History Month Vudu adaptation cancelled singing competition HBO video on demand festivals Winners LGBT RT21 TCA Winter 2020 007 indie Netflix Christmas movies what to watch hidden camera finale worst movies Elton John Television Academy ABC Signature anime Rom-Com Captain marvel YA rotten movies we love japanese true crime concert WarnerMedia Funimation sports Super Bowl Trivia rom-coms black Lucasfilm Stephen King Paramount Plus Apple TV Plus Marvel Television psychological thriller Rocky Heroines australia Kids & Family screen actors guild streaming justice league History blockbuster The Purge hist emmy awards Oscars TCA Alien Music italian Ghostbusters Box Office renewed TV shows 2017 Fox News Interview psycho nfl YouTube Premium scorecard Song of Ice and Fire reviews deadpool Amazon batman Schedule Spike BET Awards Lifetime Christmas movies politics latino Summer Fall TV Columbia Pictures E3 Tomatazos Ellie Kemper Polls and Games natural history YouTube FXX Crunchyroll spider-man stoner Warner Bros. Universal 2019 ID harry potter Endgame Binge Guide Country Podcast quibi independent Television Critics Association dogs Reality Competition joker sag awards BBC Amazon Prime Sundance Now comics Disney Plus Emmy Nominations Anna Paquin breaking bad Nominations halloween heist movie Pop TV Tumblr television disaster Teen Netflix jurassic park IFC Films Apple book docudrama Cannes SDCC American Society of Cinematographers Trailer casting Holidays Thanksgiving A24 Baby Yoda Hulu FOX Trophy Talk TV Land HBO Go 2018 Shondaland