Daniel Radcliffe is working out the kinks in his Broadway debut Equus, which began previews Friday and opens officially September 25. He plays a boy who has a pathological religious/sexual fascination with horses in the 1970s play.
The well-spoken, affable, self-deprecating Harry Potter star is dashing in a suit when he turns up at a Times Talk event in NYC. Some fans have been waiting in line for nine hours to get face time with their teen dream.
Meanwhile, Brit-born Daniel, 19, has had some adjusting to do since he moved from London to NYC. He’s here for the 22-week run.
“I’m constantly amazed by the noise,” he says. “London’s a busy city, but in the rehearsal room, there’s constant banging because they’re putting buildings up everywhere. I’m getting along with people and the vibe of things. ”
He continues, “I also love how everyone is into culture. Barnes and Noble, which I love, I was chatting away with the girl at the counter. I thought it was great that she didn’t notice me. And at the end, she said ‘when does the show open?’ Cool. I also like the signs that say they’ll fine you if you beep your horn. Is that a recent thing? People don’t follow it. Every three seconds one goes off.”
The actor made waves in London’s West End production in February 2007 due to his nude scene. While he had reached the age of consent in England, he was underage in the U.S.
“The shock came before it opened,” Daniel recalls. “Before, people were saying ‘it’s a terrible play’ and offended mothers were calling up newspapers saying ‘we’re not going to go see it.’ Well, fine, don’t see it. Everyone was expecting porn – it’s not – it’s seven minutes at the end of the play. It’s not worth coming for that. After it opened, they kind of really liked it. People did speedy, abrupt U-turns.”
How does he think Americans will react?
“Not to be disparaging, but there are a lot more people in this country who are in therapy. People will get it more here. In England, they don’t discuss. They say ‘walk it off.’ Also, England is more sexual than America, but in America it will provoke religious debates. It’s brilliant – there will be lots of people coming to see it who have never seen theater. If we can do it, amazing. It’s a play that needs to be put on every 30 years – not too much.”
Daniel’s feelings won’t be hurt by criticism.
“I haven’t seen one review,” he says. “I don’t read them because if it’s bad, you feel terrible; if it’s good, you’re self-conscious. I don’t read them. You’re not doing yourself any favors. There’ll always be someone who says ‘sorry about your review in the Times.’ I text back ‘I haven’t read it.’”
He echoes the same sentiment for the Web.
“If it’s on the Internet and you see bad stuff, you feel bad. If it’s good stuff, you’re vain.”
And what about admitting he suffers from dyspraxia, which causes difficulty planning and completing fine motor tasks?
“Of all the comments I ever regretted making," he says. "It’s a mild form, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of messages I’ve gotten going ‘so you can’t tie your shoelaces…’”
Catch Daniel Radcliffe in Equus beginning September 25.