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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Another orphan role for Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe
December Boys, set in the '60s, is based on a Michael Noonan book
Actor Daniel Radcliffe leaves Harry Potter behind to play another orphan in the independent film December Boys.

The coming-of-age film tells the story of four Australian boys who head off on holiday and find themselves competing to be adopted by a couple they meet at the seaside.

It is the third orphan Radcliffe has played on screen, having also starred in a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield.

But the actor is quick to point out that his December Boys' character, Maps, is very different to JK Rowling's famous wizard.

"Harry wears his heart on his sleeve and is very, very vocal about how he feels," he says. By contrast, Maps is "very quiet, and for the first quarter of the film doesn't say much".

Indeed, Radcliffe found his main challenge playing Maps was "having to communicate the same as with any other character, but with less dialogue".

Worldwide fame

The film marks the 18-year-old's first big screen role outside of the Potter series.

Radcliffe says he chose December Boys for many of the usual reasons - namely that it was the right script at the right time.

But he admits his choice was influenced by an anonymous director.

The director's advice to Radcliffe was to choose an ensemble piece, rather than a film dependent on his individual performance.

Nonetheless, Radcliffe is aware media attention will initially be focused on him and his performance.

December Boys
It's just a question of establishing myself as an actor, not a character
Daniel Radcliffe

But he hopes "once they [the press] get in there, they will look at the film as a whole rather than just analysing my performance".

Radcliffe has earned worldwide fame as the boy wizard Harry Potter, a role he has been playing since the age of 12.

But he admits he is still nervous about the critical reaction to his performance in December Boys.

His way of dealing with critics is "not to think about it". "Once you start worrying about reviews, you end up being self-conscious and neurotic," says Radcliffe.

Serious actor

December Boys also sees Radcliffe's first on-screen love scene alongside Australian actress Teresa Palmer.

But the teenage star claims he had "a sufficient amount of experience" to fall back on.

Since baring all on stage in the London production of Equus, love scenes have not proved a problem for the young actor.

Daniel Radcliffe
Radcliffe is hoping to take Equus to Broadway next year

However, he graciously adds that things may have been different if it wasn't for his co-star Palmer, calling her "the seasoned pro" when it comes to playing love scenes.

Perhaps surprisingly - given his early film success - Radcliffe has been having one-on-one drama coaching for the past two years.

"I need to establish with people in the industry that I absolutely want to make a career out of this," he explains.

Although he is "incredibly proud" of the Potter series, he realises "it's just a question of establishing myself as an actor, not a character".


Despite his long-term involvement with the boy wizard, Radcliffe says he finds it "surprisingly easy" to detach himself from Quidditch-playing Harry when reading the popular books.

But his inside knowledge still gives him a headstart on other Potter fans.

With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows only recently published, Radcliffe claims he "worked out the ending" to the final instalment in the series, "based on fragments of conversation with Jo Rowling".

A part of him admits he will be relieved when the Harry Potter films are concluded, but he adds that it will also be "quite daunting", as he will no longer be in the "Harry Potter world".

In the meantime, he can return to his comfort zone, with filming of the sixth instalment - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - due to start later this month.

December Boys is released in cinemas across the UK on 14 September.

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