Daniel Radcliffe is back in the round glasses, only this time to play a young Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings. The movie, directed by John Krokidas, focuses on Ginsberg’s freshman year at Columbia and the mind-expanding — but dangerous— relationship he formed with the charismatic Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Vulture spoke to Radcliffe ahead of this Wednesday's release about the first time he read Ginsberg's Howl, bonding with DeHaan, and getting sacked by his new BFF in fantasy football.
Kill Your Darlings is really a love story between two men.
It’s a love story. I always like to make that point. To my knowledge, there’s no difference between how gay people and how straight people fall in love. So you just have to find that part of Dane, or of Dane’s character, that Allen was in love with. Which is that charismatic, outgoing boldness that he had that Allen didn’t have. And you kind of focus in on that and make that the part of the character that you always see. Basically, when people talk about chemistry, often what they mean is just being interested in the other person.
How familiar were you with Allen Ginsberg?
When I was about 14, I’d read the first line of Howl because it was in a book of quotations I had, but it was probably about another three years until I read the poem, proper. My initial reaction was, I don’t really understand this. It’s filled with allusions, and references, and it's wordy as hell, and I think when you first see that it can be quite intimidating.
The Kill Your Darlings cast really bonded, I understand. Did you find you bonded more with them than you did with the Harry Potter cast?
The interesting thing on Potter is that I was the only one out of the cast that was there for eighteen months. Me and the crew were the people that were there constantly and they constituted my best friends. On this film, in part because we didn’t have trailers, we actually all just hung out together in green rooms, we got to know each other in a very different way. Dane DeHaan, certainly, is kind of the best friend I’ve made through acting, in terms of another actor. He’s fantastic.
What did you and Dane connect over?
We’ve got a very similar approach to acting, I think. But also we have a huge amount of respect for everyone on set, not just actors. I don’t think I could ever be friends with somebody who didn’t have respect for everyone on set. That’s the one thing I actually can’t stand. But also, silly shit, like we’ve both got quite stupid, silly senses of humor. We also talk football a lot as well.
American football. We’ve had a terrible start to the season this year, but being a Giants fan is a lot like being an English cricket fan, in that it’s a lot of struggle punctuated by, like, moments of total glory. I would assume we’re in one of the struggle periods at the moment.
Dane told us he and his wife had a staycation at your place once. What did you do?
We watched a lot of football.
And played board games?
Played a lot of board games. Dane and I started playing Scrabble on set of Kill Your Darlings, that was where that began, because we were both really competitive, and Dane is really good at Scrabble. I think Dane said that only his wife and his dad had beaten him before. But Dane is really good; he’s beaten me a lot as well. We’re very evenly matched. Have you interviewed him yet?
No, I’m going to. Should I ask him about Scrabble?
No. Because then he’ll tell you about fantasy football. And he kind of trashed me this weekend in fantasy football.
I’d basically been talking a lot of shit about his team all week, to put it bluntly, and got very, very cocky. And as anybody who plays fantasy football will know, pride very often goes before a fall.
Do you owe him anything?
No, we didn’t make a bet on it, thankfully. I wasn’t that stupid.