This post has been updated to include Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
When the Harry Potter franchise came to an end in 2011, it was Emma Watson who many fans expected would have the most intriguing post-Potter career. And for a bit, that seemed to be the case with the actress earning praise for wide-ranging turns in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring. After just a few years, though, the hype dimmed; does anyone remember her turn in Noah? Regression? Colonia? While Watson’s career hasn’t made the waves many expected it would, another former Potter star has gone on to have one of the most exciting and unique trajectories of any former child star: Daniel Radcliffe.
Since leaving the series, Radcliffe has taken a strikingly unique path, largely avoiding safe moneymakers or franchise follow-ups in favor of intimate indies, twisted dramas, and (often wildly) eccentric comedies. He’s played poets, scientists, FBI agents, even a farting corpse. He spawned a thousand memes while walking a dozen dogs for Trainwreck, kidnapped Sandra Bullock in The Lost City, and is now embodying an accordion-playing, Madonna-kissing underdog in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Basically, the further a role is from one Harry James Potter, the more likely Radcliffe is to take it on with gusto.
In interviews, the actor has said he admires fellow shape-shifting stars such as Steve Buscemi for their versatility, and the influence is evident. At 33, Radcliffe is still early in his adult career, but the acuity of his decisions so far portends a long, thrilling future in Hollywood. Even when the actor’s projects haven’t earned top reviews (see Horns), the quality of his performances has rarely faltered. That said, some turns have been stronger than others, so ahead of his starring role in Weird, we’re ranking all of Radcliffe’s post-Potter film and TV roles. We’ve left out voice work (sorry, Robot Chicken fans) and hosting gigs (despite his top-notch SNL turn in 2012) as well as “blink and you’ll miss it” cameos à la Trainwreck and Lost in London.
18. Beast of Burden (2018)
In this crime drama, Radcliffe stars as a drug-mule pilot attempting to flee both the DEA and his cartel (he’s a double agent!) while fighting to save the life of his sick wife (Grace Gummer), natch. It’s the kind of dull, by-the-book suspense thriller that neither thrills nor leaves you in much suspense with weak writing and a one-note performance from its lead.
17. The Gamechangers (2015)
Oof. This BBC docudrama had promise, but alas, it failed on all fronts. Radcliffe plays the president of a video-game company caught up in a legal feud, but while the real-life story is fascinating, the dramatized version is awkward, stilted, and far too surface level to truly work. As for its star, Radcliffe tries his best, but the material just isn’t up to snuff.
16. Now You See Me 2 (2016)
The first Now You See Me was amusing if thin. The sequel, which added Radcliffe as a deranged tech tycoon, was weaker. There are too many nonsensical plot twists and overlong exposition explainers, and Radcliffe’s villain is so unmemorable you’ll forget by the credits you ever saw him at all.
15. Victor Frankenstein (2015)
“Written by Max Landis” should be enough of a warning that this bored reimagining isn’t worth a viewing. Radcliffe’s Igor and James McAvoy’s Frankenstein are decent together, but alone, both actors flounder with the cheesy, overwritten dialogue.
14. A Young Doctor’s Notebook (2012–13)
Radcliffe is fine in this British dark-comedy series set during the 1917 Russian Revolution. But Jon Hamm (playing the older version of his character) is better — though the material isn’t strong enough for either actor’s performance to really shine through.
13. Guns Akimbo (2019)
You have to give Radcliffe credit for taking a risk with this action comedy, playing a programmer who wakes up to discover guns bolted to his hands. But the film’s constantly frenetic pace and overwrought gore barely leave him enough breathing room to react, let alone have any real fun.
12. The Lost City (2022)
I liked The Lost City! You liked The Lost City! Everyone on your L.A.-to-NYC plane ride liked The Lost City! It’s harmless, silly fun aided by Radcliffe’s entertaining, if very familiar, performance as a crazed billionaire (named Abigail? Sure!) intent on doing anything it takes to find a hidden treasure.
11. Horns (2013)
Another bold turn for Radcliffe in his early post-Potter years, Horns features the actor as a man who, after being framed for his girlfriend’s murder, wakes up to discover he’s grown horns that give him a handy mind-reading ability. It’s an intriguing if inconsistent film, and Radcliffe plays a solid anti-hero. Still, he’d do better with stronger content later on.
10. Jungle (2017)
This Australian survival drama stars Radcliffe as a real-life adventurer stranded alone for weeks in the Amazon. Reviews were mixed with many noting the movie’s penchant for melodrama above all else, but Radcliffe earned praise for his physical commitment and surprisingly good Israeli accent.
9. What If (2013)
Radcliffe said he signed onto this rom-com because he’d never done a contemporary film before, and while it may not be the sharpest film in its genre, What If did help showcase a new side of the actor after years of fantasy. The movie, about two friends resisting their mutual desire to turn their relationship up a notch, is charming, and Radcliffe and co-star Zoe Kazan have solid chemistry.
If only Radcliffe had more to do in this interactive special, a follow-up to four seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. As Prince Frederick, a naïve and privileged royal engaged to the titular Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), the actor shows off his comedic chops and earns more than a few belly laughs. There just isn’t enough screen time!
7. Escape From Pretoria (2020)
Radcliffe sure does love those based-on-a-true-story thrillers, doesn’t he? No wonder — he’s great in them! Escape From Pretoria has him playing a South African political prisoner plotting an escape, and while the film itself is merely fine, Radcliffe’s work is above average. He elevates the movie’s procedural feel with his charisma and earnestness even when burdened with an accident he hasn’t quite mastered.
6. Miracle Workers (2019–present)
Now gearing up for its fourth season, the TBS anthology comedy series has given Radcliffe his most freedom yet to play onscreen. No matter what role he’s taking on, from a prince in the Dark Ages to a reverend setting out on the Oregon Trail, his enjoyment is palpable, and it’s great to see him experiment with so many types of humor (particularly when playing off his co-star Buscemi).
5. Kill Your Darlings (2013)
Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg! A quieter and more introspective movie than most on the actor’s resume, Kill Your Darlings gives him a chance to deeply embody the poet in all his complicated, tortured glory. His chemistry with Dane DeHaan is top-notch, but it’s his solo work in this film that really displays Radcliffe’s range, especially so soon after Potter.
4. Imperium (2016)
Another impressively bold choice by Radcliffe, Imperium saw the actor shaving his head and donning tattoos to play an FBI agent going undercover as a neo-Nazi. Both the film and its star earned sizable praise with Radcliffe delivering a compellingly unsettling performance. He’s not the actor you’d expect to see in the role, but he seems to take pleasure in subverting our expectations through his impressively scary turn.
3. The Woman in Black (2012)
Radcliffe’s first film after finishing Potter, The Woman in Black was an excellent showcase for his then-underseen talents. As a widowed lawyer investigating a supposedly haunted mansion in Victorian England, he scares and delights in equal measure. Even when he doesn’t do more than tiptoe around old buildings or run down the street, he’s convincing enough to have viewers going, “Harry who?” by the end credits. Just thank goodness he was wise enough to back out of the sequel.
2. Weird (2022)
When it was announced that Radcliffe would star in a movie about the famed parodist, the question many people had was simply “… Huh?” At a substantial seven inches shorter than the musician, the actor certainly doesn’t look the part, and though he has shown his singing chops on Broadway before, he’s not exactly known for his musicianship skills. Yet watching him as “Weird Al” Yankovic, it’s hard to picture anyone else in the part. Radcliffe goes all out in the role, embodying Yankovic’s weird, wild genius and hilarious guilelessness with truly impressive devotion. And that’s not even mentioning his serious star power in every onstage scene, no matter how silly.
1. Swiss Army Man (2016)
There is no question that this bizarre, flatulence-forward comedy (directed by Daniels, later of Everything Everywhere All at Once fame) is not everyone’s cup of tea. But the fact that it works at all is due in no small part to Radcliffe’s incredibly committed performance. Even when his physical antics are at peak ridiculous (see him propelling Paul Dano into the water using the power of farts), he somehow stays emotionally grounded. Swiss Army Man showed the true range of what Radcliffe can do when given material worthy of his talents.