EXCL: DANIEL RADCLIFFE TALKS “THE WOMAN IN BLACK”: PART ONE
Daniel Radcliffe’s first movie post-Harry Potter, The Woman in Black, finally sees release tomorrow, Feb. 3, and The DLB recently sat down with him to discuss the film and his post-Potter career.
Tell me about choosing this script.
One of the first things [director James Watkins] and I talked about and what attracted me to the script was that it was a horror film but it felt unusual within the genre because a) it was so character-driven, b) had such great themes of loss and what happens to us if we can’t move on from a loss.
What else did we talk about? The fact that we saw this as the chance to not just make a horror film but a comment on grief and things like that. And also James and I knew the type of film that we wanted to be involved in and wanted to make and it being a film about suspense; what you don’t see as opposed to what you do, and all of those things that make this film good.
What is James Watkins’ greatest strength as a director?
There are many. He knows exactly what he wants and exactly what he needs to tell a story. He also cultivates very, very close relationships with the DOP [director of photography] and the editor. I’ve never seen a relationship as collaborative between the editor and a director as James and [editor] Jon Harris. And Jon Harris is also kind of a bit of a genius. But the way they work together. James will constantly be on the phone, saying, ‘Right, John. What do we need for this scene? Is there anything I’m not thinking of?’ They work together as a team really well. James is a great collaborator. He’s also a very good human being which means the crew respect him and like him and want to work for him.
He comes to set every day with a very definite shot list of what he needs to tell the story. And that’s actually his greatest strength is the fact that he never misses an opportunity to keep telling the story, be it through set design, makeup, costume, whatever. He uses all those things to nuance the script and story to make it feel like a really complete film. He’s very good at that.
And also I don’t want to ever make it sound like he would be limited to the genre of horror, but he really knows his way around it. He knows how to cultivate tension. One of the things he does brilliantly in this film I think is to keep the audience in a slight state of tension for the whole time so that when those jump scares come you’re already somehow ready for them. I think he really is a very, very good director generally for this type of film, he’s brilliant.
The Woman in Black opens Feb. 3.