Photography by Kai Z Feng
When John Krokidas, the director of Beat-genesis movie Kill Your Darlings, approached Daniel Radcliffe to gauge his interest in playing Allen Ginsberg, he was struck by Radcliffe’s humility. Although a marquee name whose involvement could guarantee the investment necessary to make the film, Radcliffe nevertheless insisted on a proper audition.
“I think he was nervous about whether I would want to audition or not, and so at my first meeting with him I said, ‘I want to read, I want to audition,’ because at this point in my career, I am aware that my name brings a certain kind of cachet,” recalls the actor, who is the face of Out’s upcoming March cover. “I want to know that a director wants me for me, rather than for the cachet. I can see why people are skeptical about me playing Allen Ginsberg, because I don’t look like him—although, neither does James Franco—and I’m English and middle class, and not from New Jersey, but that’s what I think is so exciting about it, because people have no idea. I’ve always known I have potential to be a good actor, and I think more than a good actor, but I’ve also at times lacked the tools and didn’t have any training. When John was first auditioning me for Ginsberg, we hadn’t even done the seventh Harry Potter yet, so I was 17 or 18, and he had nothing else to go on apart from the fact that he’d seen me in Equus.”
Director Krokidas recalls the audition as a revelation. “He [Radcliffe] wanted to make sure that the primary creative collaboration in the movie was going to be between me and him, that our chemistry was going to be successful,” he said. “In some Midtown corporate boardroom, the two of us read some lines from the script together, and wow—a lot of actors talk about colors of the rainbow and different facets of emotion in their performance, and Daniel showed me colors I’d never seen before—it was astounding.”