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Daniel Radcliffe Didn’t Realize His New Play Makes an Accidental Harry Potter Reference

Mischief managed. Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage

About halfway through The Lifespan of a Fact, Daniel Radcliffe’s overeager, Harvard-educated magazine fact-checker is shooed away while his editor (Cherry Jones) sits in a living room poring over an important essay. In an funny extended negotiation, he paces the room looking for where else he can go before she just tells him to take the door under the stairs and head down to the basement. Radcliffe opens the door, but it’s not a basement: it’s just an under-stairs closet, not unlike the one that served as his bedroom in the Harry Potter movies. Vulture talked with Radcliffe at the play’s opening night, and asked if he ever saw the moment — which elicited knowing chuckles from Thursday night’s crowd — as a Potter reference. “It wasn’t at all, until people pointed it out to me. I miss this stuff, I really don’t think about it,” he said. “Somebody the other day, at the stage door, asked, ‘Is it an intentional Potter reference?’ No! I wasn’t like, Build a cupboard on this set for me to make a joke about Potter.”

On its own, the moment is a funny one: The fact-checker is so thorough that even being dismissed from a room requires a conference. Radcliffe said that he can sometimes sense when the audience is laughing at the joke or the Harry Potter reference. “Last night it got a reaction, and I was like, Oh no, that’s people thinking it’s Potter. It got almost a round of applause. I thought then that I’ve got to find a different way [to play that moment], I can’t encourage that,” he said. Does swatting away Potter references ever get old? “It’s lovely, that’s the thing. I have this habit of not seeing the references. I did a film about Allen Ginsburg, and the first scene was him dancing around his room with a broom,” he recalled. “He was just sweeping with a broomstick. The first question I got asked doing press was, ‘So did you think of Harry Potter when the first scene is you with glasses and a broom?’ And I was like, No I didn’t, but maybe I should! I don’t pick up on these references at all.”

Daniel Radcliffe Didn’t Realize His Play Makes a Potter Joke