Biography

Biography

Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23rd 1989 in Fulham, London. His parents are Alan Radcliffe, a literary agent, and Marcia Gresham, a casting director. His father is from Banbridge in Northern Island and his mother, who is Jewish, was born in South Africa and raised in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

When Dan was nine, he became disheartened by his lack of achievement at school so his parents, after discussing his problems with family friend Sue Latimer (who has since become Dan’s agent) suggested that he audition for a role in an upcoming BBC adaption of David Copperfield. To the surprise of everyone, he got the role of Young David and started filming in 1999, turning ten four days into the shoot.

The following year Dan won the role of Mark Pendal, in his feature film debut, The Tailor of Panama which also stared Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis and Piers Brosnan.

The same year, Dan was spotted in the audience with his parents watching the play “Stones in His Pockets” by the producer of the Harry Potter film series, David Hayman and the screenwriter, Steve Klovis. It is there that Hayman asked Dan’s parents if he could audition for the title role to which they reluctantly agreed to. They had previously been asked if Dan could audition as Maggie Smith had recommended Dan to the director Chris Columbus (she had worked with Dan before, playing his aunt in David Copperfield). Originally the deal for Harry Potter would be for all (at the time) seven films and would be shot in Los Angeles, USA. By the time of Dan’s actual audition the deal had changed to just two films and both would be shot in London, UK.

Dan consequently went on to star in all eight Harry Potter films which became the biggest film franchise of all time. Upon the series ending, Dan took two pieces of memorabilia home with him. Two pairs of his glasses – one from the first film (Philosopher’s Stone) and one from the last (Deathly Hallows Part 2).

While the films were ongoing Dan managed to make his West End debut in 2007 in the controversial Peter Shaffer play, Equus which he starred in with Richard Griffiths. Much was made of his stage debut mostly due to the ten minute nude scene toward the end of the play, especially because at the time Dan was only 17 (and of course was mostly known for a family friendly film series!). Luckily Dan’s hard work in the play paid off and he received warm reviews from the press and fans alike. The play later went to Broadway in New York for a similar reception in 2009.

Also, in a break between filming Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, Dan headed to Australia to film a small independent movie called December Boys. This would be Dan’s third time at playing an orphan. The film was released in 2007 and opened to lacklustre box office receipts.

Upon Harry Potter ending in 2010, Dan dove straight into filming his next movie, The Woman in Black where he played widower and single father Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer sent to a remote village to sort out the paperwork of a recently deceased client. The film was released in 2012 and was a big success, becoming the biggest British horror film for 20 years. It was also the most complained about film in the UK in 2012 – parents felt the film was too scary for its 12A certificate despite marketing and Dan himself warning people not to take young children to the film.

Before The Woman in Black was released, Dan spent much of 2011 performing on Broadway in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to much success. He gained nominations at the Drama Desk Awards, Drama League Awards and the Outer Critics Circle Awards as well as a Fred and Adele Astaire award nomination in recognition for his dancing (consequently, Dan has stated that he’s very proud of this nomination as he couldn’t dance a step before learning for the show!).

In 2012, Dan spent most of the year in front of the camera first filming Kill Your Darlings in New York where he played a young Allen Ginsberg. He then filmed the first series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook, a tv mini-series with Jon Hamm based on the short stories of Mikhail Bulgakov (one of Dan’s favourite authors).

In June 2012 it was announced that Dan would be a part of a new collection of productions being directed by Michael Grandage in the West End. Dan was to play the lead role of Billy Claven in The Cripple of Inishmaan, a play about a disabled orphan (number four, for those keeping track!) who dreams of a better life away from his boring, sad existence in Inishmaan.

Towards the end of the year he filmed the movies The F Word (later renamed What If) in Toronto, Canada which would become his first romantic comedy and Horns, a dark tragi-comi-horridy based on the Joe Hill novel in Vancouver, Canada.

In January 2013, Kill Your Darlings premiered at the Sundance film festival to favourable reviews and gaining early award buzz. Sadly by the time the film did get released in October, it got lost in the shuffle of other films and was largely ignored by awards committees and indeed movie go-ers. However, it remains one of Dan’s best reviewed movies of his career, his performance being highly praised for his sensitive portrayal of Ginsberg.

In June 2013, The Cripple of Inishmaan made its debut on the West End stage where, again, Dan’s incredible performance of Cripple Billy was highly praised with one critic in the Sunday Telegraph naming his performance the best on stage that year. Dan later went on to win Best Actor at the What’s on Stage awards.
While performing eight times a week on the West End, Dan spent about a month of the shows run filming the second series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook with Jon Hamm once again playing his older self, which aired at the end of the year.

In September 2013, Dan headed to the Toronto film festival where all three of his upcoming films; Kill Your Darlings, The F Word and Horns were shown to audiences. The F Word became one of the big buzz films of the festival while reviews for Horns were mixed.

Also at the end of 2013, Dan began filming Victor Frankenstein, playing Dr Frankenstein’s (James McAvoy) assistant Igor. For the film, Dan had to have extensions put into his hair for five months. This is Dan’s first big studio film since the Harry Potter series ended. Filming continued into the beginning of 2014 and is scheduled for release in October 2015.

In early 2014 it was announced that The Cripple of Inishmaan would be transferring to Broadway for a limited three month run. It again opened to much acclaim for the production and the actor’s performances and garnered several Tony nominations (though again, Dan was horribly overlooked).

In August 2014, The F Word – now known as What If due to MPAA problems – was released worldwide. Reviews remained mostly positive but the film struggled to find an audience at the box office due to its limited release.

Two months later, Horns was released worldwide. Suffering from mixed reviews (although Dan was widely praised for his performance as Ig Perrish), it also struggled at the box office. In America, the film did much better On Demand, bringing in more than $1 million.

In December 2014, it was announced that Dan would play Walter in the sequel to 2013 hit Now You See Me. Michael Caine, who played Arthur Tressler in the original film, revealed that Dan was to play his son. Filming commenced in London, England and finished in Macau, Hong Kong in March 2015.

Last updated: March 2015

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