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'The Woman in Black': Daniel Radcliffe talks about his new film role

'The Woman In Black' star Daniel Radcliffe discusses being inspired by classic horror films with Christopher Lee and the moment in the film that made him jump

By Ben MooreScreen Rant / February 2, 2012

'The Woman in Black' star Daniel Radcliffe says he himself was startled by a shot in the trailer where his character is startled by a spirit in his home.

Nick Wall/HONS/CBS Films/AP

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The Woman in Black is the third major film to be produced under the Hammer banner in the past few years (the other two being The Resident, starring Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Christopher Lee, and Let Me In, the English language remake of Let the Right One In), and in a many ways it feels like the Hammer horror films of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

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Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to talk with Daniel Radcliffe about starring in The Woman in Black — out this Friday — Hammer horror movies, being skeptical about ghosts and the supernatural, and playing Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming Kill Your Darlings.

On his favorite thing about stepping back in time and into the role of Arthur Kipps, Radcliffe said:

“On a completely superficial level? The costumes. If I could wear that stuff all the time, I really would. […] When you put [one of those costumes on], it makes you stand differently – it kind of ages you slightly, actually. It’s quite helpful in that effort.”

Indeed, one of the most jarring things about the opening moments of The Woman in Black is seeing Daniel Radcliffe – the boy who lived, Harry Potter – in the role of father and widower. Granted, this film takes place at a point in history when young men (Radcliffe is 22-years-old) were already well on their way toward grandfatherhood. Still, it’s initially difficult to break free from our preconceived notions of the actor as anything but a boy wizard, since we’ve known him almost exclusively as such for the past decade.

On the subject of the period of the film, Radcliffe continues:

“What’s kind of great about that period is that it came […] after five thousand years of [England] being a completely pagan nation. We fell out of love with any kind of spirituality as soon as Christianity came in. [Then], in the Victorian era, [England suddenly] started to come around to the idea of spirits and demons and the notion of there being [an] afterlife.”

On whether or not he was paying tribute to the  Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee Hammer horror films of yore – The Woman in Black is a Hammer film – Radcliffe said:

“Absolutely. Peter Cushing was the still center of all those films around which that chaos could develop. So yes. [And if I wasn’t] actually paying tribute, I was certainly aware that had this film been made in a different time, Peter Cushing would’ve got the part.”

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