Overnight fame. It can be glorious, but it also has serious downfalls. These exact pros and cons have happened to so many talented people in the entertainment industry over the years, and we are now learning that Daniel Radcliffe, who became a global sensation by playing the boy wizard Harry Potter on the big screen, was a victim as well. The actor spoke out in a new interview about how he began drinking heavily after completing his work on the franchise and has explained why.
Daniel Radcliffe first started playing Harry Potter, the hero of JK Rowling’s literary series, at the age of 11. The gig consumed a decade of his life, and he now tells the UK Independent that the time spent following the job meant that many people would see him out in the world and apply it to Harry Potter. Particularly, like, “Hey, Harry Potter’s in a pub and getting hammered!” Radcliffe went on to explain:
[My] way of dealing with that [was] just to drink more or get more drunk, so I did a lot of that for a few years. … A lot of drinking that happened towards the end of Potter and for a little bit after it finished, it was panic, a little bit not knowing what to do next – not being comfortable enough in who I was to remain sober.
I’m not sure about you, but I find that very sobering that an actor coming off of the leading role in one of the largest franchises in film history worried about his future in the industry. You would assume that he would be financially set for his generation, and generations to come.
But I suppose there also might have been a fear that he’d only be seen as Harry Potter for the rest of his career, and that I can understand. So many talents have been pigeonholed because of playing certain parts, and that probably ran through Daniel Radcliffe’s mind as the Harry Potter series came to a close.
That’s probably why he chose a number of truly unusual projects in the years following his time as The Boy Who Lived, including being a man with demonic horns on his head in Horns, and even playing a farting corpse in Swiss Army Man.
But it’s eye-opening that a massive role like Harry Potter, in a franchise that seemed to be a huge hit and a life-changing revenue generator for all involved, had this kind of impact on Daniel Radcliffe. He does admit, though, that he has been sober since 2010, and credits friends and family with supporting him through those darkest hours. We continue to wish him all the strength in the wizarding world.