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The Untold Truth Of Daniel Radcliffe

In 2001, the world waited with bated breath to see Hollywood's first film adaptation of the "Harry Potter" series of children's fantasy novels by J.K. Rowling. The literary phenomenon had enjoyed a once-in-a-generation kind of popularity around the globe, and fans were anxiously waiting to see which young actor would portray the titular "Boy Who Lived," and whether he would be able to meet their formidable expectations. 

That boy was then-12-year-old British actor Daniel Radcliffe. At an age when most children's biggest priorities are passing a test or playing the latest video game, Radcliffe was thrust into the global limelight as the face of one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. For the next 10 years, the budding actor grew up in the glare of the public eye where all his triumphs and tribulations were on full display, all the time. 

Despite the challenging nature of the fame he was forced to deal with from his tweens, Radcliffe has since gone on to establish himself as one of the most successful actors in the world. The man who fronted among the biggest blockbusters in the history of Hollywood also lent his star power to offbeat indie projects with up-and-coming filmmakers. Here are 14 lesser-known facts about Radcliffe that fans need to know. 

Radcliffe wasn't originally a Harry Potter fan

In the 2000s, it was hard to come by any kid who did not love the "Harry Potter" novels. J.K. Rowling's magical blend of fantasy, mystery, humor, and school-age hijinks cast an irresistible spell on children and grown-ups alike. But just like Harry himself could overcome the Imperius curse, Daniel Radcliffe initially proved quite immune to the charms of the boy wizard's saga.

In an interview with Business Insider, Radcliffe admitted he had not jumped on the "Harry Potter" bandwagon when the craze was first picking up steam. "I only read the first two and I wasn't really as into it as everyone else in my class was just because I wasn't really a reader," explained Radcliffe. "I was like oh books, I'm not ready." The young actor's reservations remained even when he was cast as Harry in the first movie in the series; as he told "Harry Potter" co-star Emma Watson (via The Huffington Post), "I like WWF better." 

Fortunately, Radcliffe got over his hang-up with time and, once he was in the thick of making the films, began to appreciate the level of imagination and creativity with which Rowling had imbued her novels. Radcliffe went on to star in the adaptations of each book in the series, and will forever be the definitive face of Harry for millions of fans. 

He pranked Hagrid, then wrote a letter of apology

While the "Harry Potter" series is full of heart-warming friendships, none hit us in the feels harder than the bond between Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). Coltrane is also one of the original actors with whom Radcliffe began his journey in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone." 

While Radcliffe was an intelligent and eager actor right from the start, he was also a 12-year-old kid who desperately needed some release from the long hard slog of making a big-budget movie. According to an article by Contactmusic.com, Radcliffe once played a prank on set where he changed the language settings on Coltrane's cell phone so all the messages were translated into Turkish. 

The prank caused Coltrane more than a little inconvenience, because he was unable to make phone calls. Eventually, it took the help of a crew member who was well-versed in Turkish to change the phone's language settings back to English. "I think Daniel was so upset at what had happened that he wrote me that note," Coltrane recalled. "[It read,] 'Dear Mr. Coltrane, I'm sorry I changed your mobile telephone into Turkish ...'"

Daniel Radcliffe is the Boy Who Raps

In the books and movies, Harry Potter was one of the best seekers the game of Quidditch had ever seen. In real life, Radcliffe's talents lie more in the realm of art than sports, with a genre bent that long-time fans might not expect. 

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Radcliffe revealed that he is a big fan of rap music and was introduced to the genre by Eminem's songs. "I've always had an obsession with memorizing complicated, lyrically intricate, fast songs," said the actor, further admitting, "It's a disease." Radcliffe then proceeded to belt out a flawless rendition of 1999 rap duo Blackalicious' hit tongue-twister "Alphabet Aerobics."   

In case you thought that was a one-off thing, the actor also sang and danced his way through the Broadway hit "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which ended up getting nominated for a Tony. It seems when Draco Malfoy mockingly asked Harry, "Training for the ballet, Potter?" Radcliffe took the insult deeply to heart and spent the next few years learning to become a singing, dancing showstopper.  

He's an atheist

Daniel Radcliffe is a private person by nature and rarely offers any insight into his personal life until specifically asked, but over the years, he's revealed a bit about his personal life and history and how they've impacted his views on politics and religion.

The actor grew up in an Irish family with a protestant father and a Jewish mother. When speaking out about the need to separate religion from education, particularly sex education, Radcliffe revealed (via Yahoo! News), "I'm not religious, I'm an atheist, and a militant atheist when religion starts impacting on legislation." In the past, Radcliffe has also expressed his admiration for well-known atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins.

Still, despite describing himself as a "militant atheist," Radcliffe appeared to have softened his stance in later years, telling The New York Post, "I personally am agnostic leaning toward atheism. I don't expect there to be a God and an afterlife — I would be pleasantly surprised if there was." Still, despite keeping a distance from organized religion, Radcliffe does see his Jewish heritage as an important part of his identity.

He has learned to accept his vertical shortcomings

The thing about being a child actor is that at some point you have to grow into an adult actor in the full glare of the public eye, where everyone is ready to endlessly pick apart your insecurities and perceived shortcomings. In the case of Daniel Radcliffe, much has been said about the fact that he is on the shorter side as an adult.

In an industry as obsessed with looks as Hollywood, the fact that Radcliffe often does not physically measure up to his co-stars has been commented upon time and again. Naturally, Radcliffe himself has had to come to terms with the fact that he is one of the shortest leading men in the film industry. 

The actor once commented on his vertical woes as his "Harry Potter" co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint shot up in height past him in later years. "I was worried on a personal level because I wanted to be slightly taller than I am, ideally," Radcliffe admitted (via Yahoo! News). "But I've now accepted it. Basically, I've came [sic] to the conclusion a while ago that you can either be really bitter about it or you can make loads of funny jokes."

Radcliffe is bit of a people pleaser

One thing that gets commented upon the most regarding Daniel Radcliffe's transition from tween star to adult actor is how well-adjusted he has managed to stay throughout the entire process. Far from being involved in any scandals or letting the fame go to his head, Radcliffe has always tried to act humble and accommodating towards his fans and the people he works with.

In fact, it could be argued that Radcliffe is a bit too accommodating, even when his fans behave in a less-than-exemplary manner. In an interview with Graham Norton, Radcliffe admitted that he has "worked really hard to not be [seen as a jerk] and be as far away from that as possible." In pursuit of this endeavor, Radcliffe described how he sometimes overcompensates in front of rude fans.

"That's sometimes meant you can be really rude to me, kind of, and I'll just be like 'Yeah, fine,'" Radcliffe continued. The actor then went on to implore his fans to be a bit more considerate in meetings, and to "just say a nice thing, it's so easy." But he also revealed that he is learning to stand up for himself more and not let his polite habits be taken advantage of by pushy individuals.   

He's not a fan of all his past work

It is often a strange thing for an adult actor to watch a hugely popular work that they starred in as a kid, before they had any real idea of what "acting" actually entails. Daniel Radcliffe is no different when it comes to judging his own performances in the "Harry Potter" films. 

In an interview with The Daily Mail, the actor explained that those movies are full of acting choices that he regrets making, especially in such well-known projects. "The moments I'm not as proud of, mistakes other actors get to make in rehearsal rooms or at drama school, are all on film for everyone to see."

In fact, there is one particular "Harry Potter" movie that Radcliffe feels represents his lowest point as a child actor, and that is "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." As the actor explains, "My acting is very one-note and I can see I got complacent and what I was trying to do just didn't come across." Radcliffe was kinder towards his performance in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," deeming it a "progression" from his work in the previous four movies. 

Crushing on his co-star?

Considering that Daniel Radcliffe spent his entire adolescence making the "Harry Potter" movies, it is understandable that he got his first taste of romantic attraction on the sets of the franchise. And considering how much time Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint spent together, it was only natural for feelings to develop between them.

In the past, both Radcliffe and Grint have been romantically linked to Watson. "Emma's a pretty girl," Grint said in an interview with The Telegraph. "Have Daniel or I ever hit on Emma? Well, she's quite popular with the cast. As for who has the worst crush on her — me or Radcliffe — I'd rather not say." From the actor's comments, it seemed both he and Radcliffe tried to start something with Watson at some point.

In another interview reported by The Independent, however, Radcliffe declared that he would never date Watson, considering the very idea itself "something really incestuous." On her part, while Watson has been mostly mum about her romantic history, there have been rumors that she was dating Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton at some point. Guess that's one area where Malfoy finally (allegedly) managed to beat Harry Potter.

Why the color of Harry's eyes was different

While Daniel Radcliffe is the perfect Harry Potter for most fans, there is one crucial area where the actor differs from his novel counterpart. In the books, it is repeatedly emphasized that Harry's eyes are a bright, arresting shade of green just like his mother's. In reality, Radcliffe's eyes are an equally arresting shade of blue. 

This difference in eye color proved problematic during the adaptation of the first novel. Any creative choices made at that time would have to be stuck to for every future film. In an interview with Empire (via Wizarding World), producer David Heyman explained that they made an effort to stay truthful to the books. To that end, Radcliffe was given green contact lenses. Unfortunately, the actor suffered an allergic reaction to the them, resulting in red, swollen eyes. 

"Dan's eyes were puffy and red [during the scene]," Heyman explained, though "oddly it was quite appropriate for the scene where he was saying goodbye to Hagrid." Still, the filmmakers had to resolve the problem of Radcliffe's allergy to contact lenses. Fortunately, J.K. Rowling allowed that Harry's specific eye color from the books had no impact on the larger plot of the series, and so Radcliffe was permitted to play Harry as a blue-eyed character without any need to change his appearance.

He's a secret poet

After dabbling in acting, singing, dancing, and rapping, you'd think Daniel Radcliffe would have had his fill of creative pursuits. But the star has yet another talent up his sleeve as a poet, even though he has tried to keep this particular talent under wraps with a pseudonym.

In a 2009 interview with The Guardian, Radcliffe let slip a few hints that he had secretly published poems under a false name in his late teens. The young actor also explained why he felt an affinity for the world of poetry and short stories. "As an actor, there is room for a certain amount of creativity," Radcliffe stated. "but you're always ultimately going to be saying somebody else's words. I don't think I'd have the stamina, skill, or ability to write a novel, but I'd love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions."

Naturally, the media jumped on the info and quickly dug up four poems that Radcliffe had published online under the pen name Jacob Gershon. One of the poems, titled "Away Days," is an exploration of the narrator's affair with a sex worker. Another one pays homage to rock star Pete Doherty. The third critiques the world of TV talent competitions, and the fourth is about a guy attempting to seduce women. Radcliffe has since expressed interest in writing even more poetry and short stories after becoming an adult.

He has some rather unusual medical conditions

We've already seen how Daniel Radcliffe suffered an allergic reaction to the green contact lenses he was supposed to wear for the "Harry Potter" films. But that was not the only time Radcliffe's body betrayed him in an unexpected manner. It turns out the actor also suffers from an allergy to nickel, a common metal used in the manufacturing of glasses. 

Radcliffe revealed in an interview for Digital Spy that his allergy was set off the first time he put on the iconic round "Harry Potter" glasses. "These two rings of whiteheads and spots had come up around my eyes," the actor explained. "It took us about a week to realize that it was actually the glasses." After that, Radcliffe had to wear specially manufactured specs that did not irritate his skin.

In 2008, Radcliffe also revealed in an interview with The Daily Mail that he suffers from a neurological disorder that affects coordination known as dyspraxia. While the actor has a mild form of the condition, it has caused certain problems in his life, from having trouble in school and in sports to having difficulty tying his shoelaces. But it looks like he manages to wield a wand just fine — maybe the role of Harry Potter helped him hone his skills.

Radcliffe stays away from social media

While most people would be thrilled to have social media followers numbering in the millions, celebrities who actually pull off such a feat often have to deal with the resulting lack of privacy and negative public discourse. Daniel Radcliffe is one celebrity who is very suspicious of social media — in fact, he prefers to avoid it altogether. 

The actor famously does not have any official social media accounts with which to engage directly with fans. In an interview with First We Feast, Radcliffe admitted that the main reason behind is his lack of faith in his own patience with online trolls, commenting, "I 100% know that if I did [join Twitter], you all would be waking up to stories of like, 'Dan Radcliffe gets into fight with random person on Twitter.'"

The actor also admitted that he has looked up people saying negative things about him on social media in the past, which he deemed a mistake. Finally, Radcliffe concluded that he was not mentally strong enough to face the torrent of criticism and abuse that celebrities have to deal with on a regular basis online, and he has made his peace with that fact. 

On using alcohol to deal with fame

Despite how normal and down-to-earth Daniel Radcliffe can seem, the fact is that he's had anything but a normal life. As one of the most famous faces on the planet before even hitting puberty, Radcliffe had to deal with the constant public scrutiny his job as a blockbuster actor entailed. While the actor has done a commendable job dealing with the fame, there was a time when he felt the need to rely on alcohol to get him through the tough times.

"The quickest way of forgetting about the fact that you were being watched was to get very drunk," Radcliffe explained during an interview for Off Camera with Sam Jones. "Then as you get very drunk, you become aware that, 'Oh, people are watching more now because now I'm getting very drunk, so I should probably drink more to ignore that more.'"

Radcliffe's dependence on alcohol spiraled out of control at one point, and he credits his close friends with helping him come out of the tunnel at the other end with a much stronger control over his use. Despite the issues the fame caused, Radcliffe has stated that he ultimately does not regret the role of Harry Potter.

He's not interested in blockbusters anymore

After the runaway success of the "Harry Potter" movies, the world was waiting with bated breath to see how Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint would handle their adult careers after having already become some of the most successful actors of all time.

While Grint has put in some solid work over the years as an adult actor, and Emma Watson has had many critical and commercial successes to her name, it is Radcliffe's career that has raised the most eyebrows. The actor seems to take an almost perverse delight in shedding his boy wizard image for a series of bizarre roles in small indie movies. From playing surprisingly useful farting corpse to a man who has guns nailed to his hands, Radcliffe's post-Potter filmography has been anything but predictable. 

And that is the way the actor seems to like it, now that his "Harry Potter" career has completely removed the need to do certain roles for the paychecks. Radcliffe describes it as "liberating" to have already done the most financially successful project he will ever be a part of. While he hasn't completely shut the door on doing blockbuster cinema again, he's stated that he prefers working with directors who have a unique voice, even if that voice is not considered very "commercial" within the film industry.