Berlin (dpa) – It is probably the most famous birthday scene in the film among millennials: On July 31, 1991, a violent storm rages in the dark in the middle of nowhere off the British coast.
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Meter-high waves pile up, collapse again and catapult the viewer into the scenery, in which a hut, no more than a wooden shed, sits enthroned on the top of a rock in the middle of the sea.
In this hut, a boy lies on the dusty plank floor. He does not sleep, but draws a cake into the dirt surface with his fingertip, carefully topped with individual candles, which he blows out at midnight by whirling up chubby dust. There is a knock at the door, quite spectacularly a half-giant named Hagrid steps through the door frame and presents the boy with an invitation letter to hogwarts magic school for his 11th birthday.
The rest is history – in this case one of the most famous stories of our time: The boy is, of course, Harry Potter – and he is played by the British Daniel Radcliffe.
Forever “The Boy Who Lived”
Radcliffe, who celebrates his 32nd birthday on July 23, cannot be remembered without his prime role. In 2001, at the young age of twelve, she made him at least a bit immortal – forever “The Boy Who Lived”, as the very first chapter of the seven-volume world bestseller by author Joanne K. Rowling is titled.
Millions of people see Radcliffe fighting the noseless villain Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) with nickel glasses, lightning scar on his forehead and a magic wand in his hand alongside Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley).
Radcliffe was already active as an actor before that and starred in the film “David Copperfield” (1999) alongside Grand Dame Maggie Smith, who would later embody Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter universe.
In 2011, Radcliffe said at a press conference that he owes everything to Maggie Smith: Before filming “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001) began, she had obviously put in a good word for Radcliffe with Chris Columbus and advised the director to let him audition. With Maggie Smith as his “fairy godmother”, as Radcliffe calls her, the beginning of his acting career is already quite magical.
After the “Harry Potter” world success
Nevertheless, Radcliffe did not get stuck in the magic world. Today, 20 years after he first played Harry Potter, the 32-year-old has finally arrived in Hollywood. Above all, thanks to a variety of different roles and acting performances, Radcliffe is at no point in his career in a drawer, one would almost like to say: in a closet, stuck.
From the portrayal of the pop poet Allen Ginsberg in “Kill Your Darlings – Junge Wilde” (2013) to the depiction of a corpse in the grotesque “Swiss Army Man” (2016), the Briton can no longer be limited to a role. In early 2019, in an interview with Sam Jones on the show “Off Camera,” he said, “I’ve already done the most successful thing I’ll ever do, and I’m in a very happy position where I can pick things I like — and I’ll take advantage of that as long as I can.”
In 2019, for example, in the New Zealand action comedy “Guns Akimbo”, he played a man who wakes up one morning and discovers surgically attached handguns to both hands. Speaking to Wired, Radcliffe said of the film, “The moment I knew I loved the script was after about ten pages where there’s a scene where he tries to go to the bathroom very carefully, with pistols as his hands.”
His success as Harry Potter paved the way for Radcliffe to become an actor today. The role defines him, and yet she no longer defines him. Above all, the huge success did not throw him off track, as is the case with many child stars. Harry Potter does not become a curse for him.
In an interview on “Off Camera,” Radcliffe explained, “There was never a point where I thought, ‘I wish I wasn’t Harry Potter,’ something like that just didn’t happen.”
Sympathetic and stayed on the ground
Despite his unparalleled career, Radcliffe is a refreshingly unagitated celebrity. In a video of the US magazine “Wired” he replied to the question of how he came to acting: “Lucky! I was, so to speak, on the right place, at the right time and got into something I love.”
Radcliffe has remained the friendly guy everyone would like to be friends with: The lumberjack shirts, the “boy next door” look and the British-modest way of understanding acting above all as a profession and as a stroke of luck make him one thing above all: incredibly likeable.
Relatively little is known about his private life. This is also due to his decision to stay away from social networks. Out of self-protection: On the Youtube show “First We Feast” in late 2020, Radcliffe said that he did not believe he was “mentally strong enough” for this.
Of course, this permanent absence roars louder than any selfie and story presence ever could. It conjures up a certain mystery around the person Radcliffe, which encouraged fans to create countless fake accounts. Without FOMO, the fear of missing out, to renounce self-expression in social networks and thus put mental health above fame – this perhaps describes quite well how Daniel Radcliffe deals with his celebrity.
Birthday greetings from Ron and Hermione?
Radcliffe’s birthday celebrations are imagined to be accordingly relaxed. He probably spends his special day with partner Erin Darke. Radcliffe has been with the actress since 2013, who knows series junkies from smaller roles in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or “Homeland.” The two had met and met during the shooting of the film “Kill Your Darlings”.
Radcliffe told Wired that there was a “funny cool and sweet shot” of getting to know the two because the characters in the film had to flirt with each other in the first meeting according to the director’s instructions.
Radcliffe’s fans, primarily “Potterheads”, i.e. big Harry Potter fans, certainly wish for his birthday that actor Robbie Coltrane alias Hagrid brings him a homemade, poison green, lovingly grammatically incorrectly decorated birthday cake (“Happee Birthdae Harry”) year after year. But Muggles are also just humans and the Hogwarts School of Magic are mainly CGI technology and old monastery cloisters in Great Britain.
So maybe a little WhatsApp message from – now Daddy – Rupert Grint flashes up, and maybe a small congratulaty gif of Emma Watson dances over Radcliffe’s smartphone display. Actually quite magical, because what could be more magical than a birthday greeting from Emma Watson?