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Daniel Radcliffe has always been the Harry Potter kid with the most public outside acting career-- a little Equus one day, a little appearance on Extras the next-- but with the series wrapping up it's time to start taking on even bigger acting roles, and Radcliffe is kicking things off with a doozy. According to Variety, Radcliffe will be starring in a planned remake of All Quiet on the Western Front, the World War I drama that won Best Picture in 1930 when it was first adapted from Erich Maria Remarque's novel.
Radcliffe's next commitment is a Broadway run of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying this fall, which means Western Front wouldn't start filming until spring 2012, well after the last Harry Potter movie has hit theaters. Producers Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson wrote the script together and will produce through their Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment; it's unclear if any studio would be ballsy enough to pick up this remake of a classic.
In the film Radcliffe will star as Paul Baumer, a young German soldier inspired to join the army by a teacher and faced with every kind of horror of war, from bad nutrition and nightmare to losing friends in battle. Both the book and the movie were praised at the time for realistically depicting the toll of war, though it's unclear how shocking or provocative any of that could be now, when the unrelenting The Pacific airs on HBO without much notice. Casting Radcliffe is a coup, but Stokell and Paterson will have to work doubly hard to make this story relevant for newer audiences.
If you're wondering about the photo, it's from the TV drama My Boy Jack, in which Radcliffe played Rudyard Kipling's son who also enlisted in the military during World War I. Who knew Harry Potter was such a history buff? .