NEW YORK — Daniel Radcliffe had to decide what his first starring film role would be after the "Harry Potter" franchise ended in 2011, and he didn't make that decision lightly.
Despite demonstrating his acting range by starring in "Equus" and "How to Succeed in Business" on Broadway, the pressure was on for Radcliffe to prove he could play more than Potter on the big screen.
He chose "The Woman in Black," a dark thriller about a recently widowed father who is haunted by his wife's death. The movie will be in theaters Feb. 3.
"I never expected the first thing I did after 'Potter' to be a horror film or anything like that. That was one of the reasons it was intriguing to me as well because it was so unexpected," Radcliffe said in a recent interview. He also talked about growing up fast, getting praise from actor Sean Connery, who starred in James Bond films, and why he isn't ready to marry his longtime girlfriend.
AP: You knew the world was watching to see what movie you picked after "Harry Potter" ended. Why did you decide on "The Woman in Black"?
Radcliffe: This film is a film that has a great story but it is driven by characters at the heart of it. It fit in perfectly. It was going to be filming when I was on break from finishing "Potter" and starring in "How to Succeed," so it was perfectly timed out. Also, when I was reading the script, I was surprised to be enjoying a horror film because I have never gravitated towards that in my own life.
AP: Did any former child stars, or people who have made the transition from doing iconic roles to having diverse careers give you advice about how to avoid being typecast?
Radcliffe: Not particularly, but I did hear the other day from a friend of mine who is friends with Sean Connery and apparently Sean Connery asked him to pass along to me how well he thought I was doing and how well I seem to be handling everything and making good choices. For me, that was great because he is a great actor. He had this amazing start to his career in Bond and managed to create a fantastic career for himself outside that, so to hear that from him was very flattering.
AP: You play a father in this role. Did you feel that was a stretch?
Radcliffe: It is very hard to create that chemistry with a 4-year-old boy who you have never met before and who is stepping onto a film set going, "What in the hell is all of this?" That was one of the reasons that I suggested (director) James (Watkins) audition my real-life godson who auditioned and was great and is great in the film. At the time when we were filming, I was so obsessed with him having a good time and making sure he wasn't cold or wasn't freaking out that I didn't really pay attention to the fact that he is actually quite a good little actor.
AP: This movie is dark, but it is also about love. Did you think about the love you have for your longtime girlfriend, Rosanne Coker, for inspiration?
Radcliffe: At the time we had been filming this we had only been going out for a couple of months. There is actually one shot in the film where Rosie had to play the woman in black because we didn't have a double for her that day so she is actually in one of the reveal shots in the film. She is going to kill me for telling you that. I don't think I probably drew on things at that time, but I am sure now I will probably use — the fear of losing her will be a very good motivating tool.
AP: Are you thinking of marriage?
Radcliffe: Who knows. God, I am not even thinking about that for a long time.
Alicia Quarles is the AP's global entertainment editor. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/aliciaquarles