Okay the awards are LESS than a month away. The last two weeks we’ve devoted considerable attention to the ladies who star in the movies, aka Our Fave Movie Actresses. Anne, Emma, Julia, Jennifer and Reese (don’t those also sound like the top ten baby names of 2004?)
Today we begin our exploration of the male of the movie species. The heartbreakers, the kingpins, the heirs apparent, the young swains, the smirking lothario, and the brooding loner. Now, those are random descriptions but as soon as I rechecked our list it seems a number of the epithets seem to fit a few of the gents. No?
Our first Favorite Movie Actor nominee is a young man who’s still a young man (he’s 22) even though for the past decade he’s starred in some of the most spectacular, beloved (and indeed profitable) movies in the entire world. He has also starred on TV as well, and he’s headlined more than one Broadway cast. While again, just 22.
He’s also English. In fact – as I look at our list of Favorite Movie Actors I see that only ONE of them was born in the United States. Two are English, two are Canadian, and one was born and raised in Kentucky. I’m reasonably sure you can guess who that is.
But today we talk about Daniel Radcliffe, the boy otherwise known as Harry Potter. He was born and raised in England, and had already established himself on TV by starring in David Copperfield for the BBC in England before Hogwarts beckoned. When the first Potter book came out there was much speculation and reportedly Steven Spielberg had been on board to direct an animated version of HP with Haley Joel Osment. This never actually happened, and as far as Daniel Radcliffe goes – as well as millions of fans – the rest is history. Nor was there a casting call with thousands of adorable, bespectacled boys brushing up on their Quidditch skills. The story goes that the guy who produced all of the HP movies (which make up the highest grossing movie franchise ever) was attending the theater and Radcliffe was literally in the seat behind him. When he turned around he noticed the boy, he knew that he’d found Harry.
Now, no matter how coveted that job might have been, the truth is there are literally thousands of horror stories about what happens to little kids who experience fame early on. And that’s little kids who star in ONE movie, not eight. With Radcliffe, so far so good. In fact everyone who’s ever met him says he’s just as smart, as charming, as humble and as curious as can be.
During the films he kept busy, got tutored on set, weathered the onslaught of fans (and attendant absence of privacy), and kept going. For another ten years, during which he parodied himself on TV (in Extras) and starred on Broadway. Not once but twice. Nor were the stage roles small-transition-to-theater parts; Radcliffe bore all in the controversial play Equus, and then became the ultimate song-and-dance man in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The point here is that to sing and dance (especially at the same time) night after night is never easy no matter how versatile you are and Radcliffe himself admitted to dreadful fear and anxiety. He took singing lessons and studied dance for eleven months. It sure looks like it paid off. Entertainment Weekly has just named him Entertainer of the Year, which is none too shabby either.
Bottom line, this is a remarkable young actor who – while not old enough to rent an automobile – has amassed a body of work that would do anyone proud. Nor does he appear content to watch his post-Potter word go by. We expect big things.
1)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
2) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
3) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
4) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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