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How Manny's Makeup Improved Daniel Radcliffe's Performance In Swiss Army Man

Long before Daniel Radcliffe took up the Elder Wand of that powerful wizard who studied at Hogwarts, the actor actually started his career by portraying Young David in a television miniseries production of Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield." And fellow Wizarding World alumnus Maggie Smith, aka Minerva McGonagall, also starred alongside Radcliffe.

Now, clearly, Radcliffe is best known for his portrayal of J.K. Rowling's iconic character, Harry Potter, who he brought to life in the film adaptations of the author's novels, but Radcliffe continues to challenge himself professionally with an eclectic body of work to his credit. But with roles like Ig in "Horns" and Igor in "Victor Frankenstein," Radcliffe was prepared to dive into the unique character of Manny in "Swiss Army Man." Radcliffe portrays a corpse that washes up onto a beach, only to be found by Hank Thompson (Paul Dano).

Radcliffe brings a whole new meaning to the cliché "playing dead" in the film, and what was even more distinctive than the character of Manny was the way filmmakers Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan pitched him the project. "They wanted to make a film where the first fart makes you laugh, and the last fart makes you cry," Dano said during an interview with the BUILD Series while promoting "Swiss Army Man" with Radcliffe. But did you know it was Manny's makeup that inspired Radcliffe to improve his performance?

Manny's makeup helped Daniel Radcliffe's performance

Daniel Radcliffe began preparing to play the character by rehearsing and practicing Manny's movements and speech at home. "Just doing like weird Manny voices and facial expressions," Radcliffe said during an interview with GQ. "Everything I was doing was kind of just slipping towards zombie [behavior]. Every time I would say something or move, I would be trying to communicate the fact that he is dead."

However, it wasn't until Radcliffe slipped into Manny's makeup that the character began to inform and improve the actor's performance. Once Radcliffe was made up to look like a corpse, the actor realized he could relax and not try so hard to convince audiences he was dead: The makeup was a game changer. "This [the makeup] is doing the work for me," Radcliffe said during the same interview. "I can be this sweet little character, but he'll just look like a dead sweet little character."

Yes, the movie presents a fresh and unique way to show how hope can be inspired by almost anything, even a rotting corpse. In addition to death, and Hank desperately trying to escape being stranded, there is also an enormous amount of time and attention placed on flatulence in "Swiss Army Man." However, at the film's core, there is a simplistic and universal theme. "The movie is about friendship," co-filmmaker Daniel Kwan said during "Swiss Army Man: Behind the Scenes."