THE WOMAN IN BLACK
This 'Woman' Finds A Leading Man
Casting the role of the film's protagonist, Arthur Kipps, director James Watkins
young actor who could bring vulnerability to the screen while still conveying
attributes of a hero.
For Watkins, Daniel Radcliffe, best known for his role in the blockbuster Harry
series, was the obvious choice. A meeting with Radcliffe was arranged.
actor and director live just a short bike ride apart in the UK but, since Daniel
was in the
US, Watkins had to fly across the pond to meet him.
"I met with Dan and we had a long chat in which we discovered we both saw the
character in the same way," Watkins recounts. "Arthur Kipps is a very rich
and a much darker place for Dan to explore."
For his part, Radcliffe recognised the need to strike out from the role of the
that made him famous. "I'm very, very proud of Potter," Radcliffe says. "But I
have to prove to people that I'm serious about acting, and I think the way to do
that is to
select interesting material.
This fit that bill - it was a great script and a great story -
unsettling and frightening."
Goldman's screenplay, and the meeting with Watkins, was enough to convince the
young actor that Arthur Kipps would be the right challenge to take on. "Arthur
complex but there's a real stillness to him as well," Radcliffe shares. "He's a
interesting character to get a chance to play."
The opportunity to take on a ghost story was also appealing. "Here's this guy
his wife, goes to this house and starts seeing the ghost of a dead woman," says
"I think the reason he stays there is out of some hidden desire, or instinct, to
sort of assurance that his wife is in a better place."
For Watkins, Radcliffe brings a sense of maturity to the role. "He's just so
his craft," Watkins explains. "He put a lot of trust in me and allowed me to
take him to
different places in terms of his acting. I think he's really excavated and
of himself and pushed himself as an actor in really different ways."
Watkins thinks audiences will be surprised by Radcliffe's transformation. "It's
reinvention of Dan into Dan the grown-up actor," he says.
"I don't think I've seen someone throw themselves into a piece of work so
Goldman of Radcliffe's work ethic. "We met up a few times in the very early
talk about the character, and he was keen to put everything he had into it."
When Hill heard Radcliffe had been cast in the role, she was thrilled. "I'd
never read the
Harry Potter books, nor seen the films," she says. "But I knew who Daniel was -
couldn't not - and the moment I met him I knew he was right. I don't think we
have found anyone better, really."
She adds: "Daniel said in an interview that this isn't just a spooky thriller.
grief and bereavement and what happens to people during loss. And he's right -
a serious element and he's captured that. He's understood it."
Radcliffe describes Kipps as a man "so completely destroyed by his wife's death
has found it almost impossible to live in the human world for the last four
He continues: "Arthur's been unable to connect with people, particularly his
loves him, but he hasn't been there for him as he should have been. He's not
to give him a happy childhood, because he doesn't have that capacity for
"He really inhabited the role," says Watkins of Radcliffe. "It got to a point
where we had
such a shorthand that I could just suggest tiny little adjustments on the fly.
didn't need direction by the end. He understood exactly who the character was,
really lived him."
Watkins is well aware that gushing about your lead actor is a director's default
but in Radcliffe's case, he says, he means every word. "He's been an absolute
work with," he reveals. "I know people always say that, and it hides all sorts
of lies, but
in this case it's true!"
Hill says that Radcliffe's jovial personality was evident from their first
so unspoilt, which is lovely," says Hill. "It's very easy at that age, with that
get airs and graces. But he's got his feet on the ground and I think they'll
stay there. I
hope one day he'll do something else of mine, he's just very good."
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