'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
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On the status of his own belief in ghosts, Radcliffe said:Skip to next paragraph
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“[It’s] nonexistent. I don’t have any belief in ghosts or the supernatural or anything like that, unfortunately.”
On why his character stays in the house of the Woman in Black to do, essentially, paper work, despite the fact that there is a terrible and ghastly ghost woman in black tormenting him:
“One of the first questions I asked James was, ‘Why does [Arthur] stay there?’ The moment you read the first page [of the script], you know it’s going to end badly. Get out of there, idiot. I had that question, too. And there’s that great line where I say to somebody, ‘Oh, no, it’s fine, I’ll just work through the night.’ [Laughter.] So I said to James, ‘Why does he stay in the house, what’s that about?’ And James said, ‘Well, here’s a young man who has lost his wife and he goes to this house and he suddenly starts seeing the – what he thinks is – the ghost of a dead woman. To have any kind of confirmation that that is what he is seeing would mean that he would be able to confirm the fact that there is an afterlife which means he will perhaps one day see his wife again.’ So he’s staying there for some kind of sense of conciliation, I suppose.”
On Misha Handley, Daniel’s real-life godson, playing Arthur Kipps’ adorable young son, and whether or not he wants to be an actor as he gets older, Radcliffe said:
“I don’t think he [wants to be an actor] now. He’s four. He wants to be everything [and that’s] changing every day. You know, he has no ambition whatsoever in this area, to my knowledge. I think he had a really good time on the film [and] I think he’d do it again, but not for any other reason than ‘that got me out of school for a few days.’ I mean, yeah, it was fantastic having him there. I became totally protective of him. And, like, just worried, because he was four when we filmed it. And I was hoping, the first time he stepped on set, it would be like a really nice day and he’d have a fun time – no, it was a night-shoot, it was freezing cold, we were on a train platform somewhere. He had a nice time for like the first two hours and then he was like, ‘It’s cold, can I go to bed now.’ […] I was so obsessed with [him having a nice time] at the time that I didn’t really notice that he actually gave a really nice performance and he’s really sweet and good in the film.
“What was really great about it was, he didn’t really know what we were doing there. It would get to the point where he’d have to say a line and he’d just not say anything. I’d give his hand a little squeeze and he’d look up at me, like, ‘What?’ And I said, ‘Say hello, Sam.’ [And he said], ‘Hello, Sam.’ And he’d look at me again, like, ‘Happy now?’ The way I kind of told it to him was, like, ‘I’m playing a dad in this, so I need you to help me.’ So he was just – helping Uncle Dan. And that was what he thought he was doing.’”
On the subtext of the film, Daniel Radcliffe said:
“That was one of the things I felt about it, was that [the subtext] felt unusual for the genre. [‘The Woman in Black’ is] unashamedly a horror film, but it’s character-driven and it does have some really strong themes. For me, the film was about what happens to us if we don’t move on from a loss. If we can’t move on. Arthur is somebody who has been devastated by his loss and has become devastated from the world, from his son, from his life. The Woman in Black has had a terrible wrong done to her during her life and has, of course, been unable to move on from that and [was] consumed by grief and rage and has carried that desire for revenge into the afterlife with her. Then there’s the fisher’s marriage, which has all gone wrong. [There’s] the fact that Ciaran [Hinds] is in denial [about his son’s death] and Janet [McTeer, who plays Ciaran’s wife], is having visions. Everybody is reacting to grief in a different way in this film.