Daniel Radcliffe Calls Escape From Pretoria A 'Brilliant' True Story More People Should Know

Daniel Webber and Daniel Radcliffe Escape From Pretoria

Daniel Radcliffe makes the boldest movie choices. Dare I say he'd be sorted into Gryffindor, at least as an actor? His new movie is called Escape from Pretoria. It's based on the book Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Prison by Tim Jenkin, one of the escapees. Radcliffe plays Jenkin in the movie, and the real Tim Jenkin was on set for much of filming and revealed what he thought of the finished product.

Here's what drew Daniel Radcliffe to the movie, as told to the BBC:

As soon as I read the story and found out about the escape and the nature of the escape -- it's so genius and so brilliant. I was like 'How has this story not already been told? How do not more people know about this?'

Escape from Pretoria is based on the true story of Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber), two young white South Africans against apartheid who were branded "terrorists." They were imprisoned in 1978 in Pretoria Maximum Security Prison for working covert operations for Nelson Mandela’s banned ANC. They decided to send the apartheid regime a clear message and escape. Thanks to ingenuity, meticulous surveillance, and wooden keys crafted for 10 steel doors, they formed a plan for freedom.

The real Tim Jenkin wasn't sure how Escape from Pretoria was going to turn out, but he told the BBC he approved:

I was worried that it would take off in a certain direction, but it didn't. Certainly the beginning and the end were absolutely how it was. It turned out to be very exciting and it's pretty close to the absolute truth.

Daniel Radcliffe said he was very aware of the days Tim Jenkin was on set, and it reminded him that he was playing at someone's real life. So the one thing he was resolved to do was get the story as right as possible. He also learned a great deal about this time in history through reading Tim Jenkin's book:

In the run up to this film, I read Tim's book. And actually that was really interesting in terms of what apartheid was, but also what the day-to-day life was of people who were resisting apartheid. It's a fascinating part of the story, which is that they probably would not have been able to do this escape if they were black. Because even down to the way black and white prisoners were searched going into prison, there was still sort of more dignity afforded to white prisoners in terms of how they are searched.

Daniel Radcliffe credited director Francis Annan for the tension in the film, admitting he worried a bit since so much of the story is Tim trying to make keys. But the trailer alone makes that pretty tense, and any prison break movie is going to get fans nervous for the characters, even if you know how it turns out.

Check out the new poster for the movie:

from r/movies

And here's the official trailer:

I don't know what a South African accent should sound like, but I have seen some comments saying this is not quite it. Eh. I grew up outside of Boston and I'm used to accents not quite being right in movies. Besides, there's no one way to speak and it's the words themselves that count. Hopefully the accents don't distract people too much.

Escape from Pretoria will be released on March 6.

This is a pretty big week for Daniel Radcliffe. He has two smaller films coming out back to back, for whatever releases they get. (Hopefully you can watch them near you, but no promises.) Guns Akimbo -- the video game-style action movie that gave us that Harry Potter guns meme -- is getting a limited release on February 28.

Daniel Radcliffe also stars in the TV series Miracle Workers on TBS, when he's not busy watching The Bachelor. And he could still play Moon Knight, his recent comments just refuted the idea that he already had the job or had been approached by Marvel. He seems open to the MCU, so maybe MCU Wolverine is even still on the table. But it's more likely he'll continue to make smaller independent films like Escape from Pretoria. 'Cause why not?

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.