GQ&A: Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe
“Kill Your Darlings: The Original Hipsters,” says Daniel Radcliffe, brimming with his usual enthusiasm, recalling the sartorial similarities between the Beat Poets and the current citizenry of east London. “They really were,” says Dane DeHaan, his laconic Pennsylvanian co-star, from the other end of a sofa in London’s Corinthia hotel.
“They coined the word, didn’t they?”
“Yeah. They described Lucien [Carr] as ‘an angel headed hipster’,” says DeHaan.
“Wow,” Radcliffe says, presumably pausing to reflect on the oversized impact such a small group of young men can have on our wider culture. Then he laughs. “I love that that we’re so far into in a press day that we’re going ‘they probably invented the word hipster.'” And with that, both actors fall into fits of giggles.
On such press tours, getting along with your co-star helps. After meeting on the set of John Krokiadis’ beat generation drama – Radcliffe plays Allen Ginsberg, DeHaan his contemporary and one-time love Lucien Carr – the pair have become close friends, even living together briefly in New York after filming. It shouldn’t come as a surprise: both share tastes in certain things (music, American football), and it helps that they’re both currently among Hollywood’s brightest young talents.
Radcliffe has carved out a remarkable post-Potter trajectory in the likes ofThe Woman In Black, while DeHaan has been catching eyes for breakout turns in the likes of Chronicle andThe Place Beyond The Pines. Next year, he’ll have his first taste of Potter-style fame, playing Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But for now, they’re in London to talk American football, card games, and why the media is still more homophobic than it admits…
GQ: What’s your favourite poem?
Daniel Radcliffe: I know it’s one that probably everyone says, but “Ode To A Nightingale” by John Keats. I have my ready answer for my favourite word as well: “verdurous”. It’s actually from “Ode To A Nightingale” – that’s where I first heard it. It means lush and green, and that’s what it sounds like so I love it.
You’ve obviously will have been getting a lot of questions about sex scenes. What does that say about gay characters in Hollywood right now?
DR: It’s not about Hollywood it’s more about the media. (laughs) It’s been fascinating to me, because I feel like we live in very progressive countries – gay marriage is legal now in a lot of states in America and over here in England, yet the only question we get… as Dane mentioned earlier, he murders somebody in the film
DD: I do. I commit murder.
DR: I have sex with a man.
DD: Yeah. Nobody really asks me about it. Murder? Not so controversial. Sex? Well, let’s talk about that.
DR: Very controversial. And particularly in this country, everybody has been making a joke about it, “so, so you guys have been getting off… discuss!” Like they’re afraid to ask. It’s sort of the acceptable face of homophobia, in that you can still highlight that as being not normal, as being something weird. For a message to send to kids, and gay people, that’s f***ing terrible! The last few weeks of these questions have been revealing – and sort of good to know, because there is still much educating to be done.
Dan you hada nice quote in the New York Times, “People have been having gay sex as long as they’ve been having straight sex.” Which is true…
DD: Even like the question, “Oh, so you have a gay sex scene in this movie?”
DR: Yeah, why is it not just “a sex scene”?
DD: They’re never like “so, you have a straight sex scene in this movie.” Even the fact they have to qualify it is an interesting kind of homophobia.
DR: The amount of time I’ve been called up saying “so, you play a gay poet”. No, he’s a poet! He’s not a “gay-everything-he-did”. Obviously Ginsberg’s sexuality was incredibly important to him and he gloried in it, but it wasn’t the be-all and end-all of who he was as a person. It’s definitely been a revealing press tour in that regard.
Dane you’re in the current issue of GQ Style shot by Terry Richardson. How was the shoot?
DD: I love that dude! I think you have it there. [GQ hands the issue to Radcliffe, who starts thumbing through the pages.]
You went to the salon together to get the interesting haircuts you wear in the film.
DD: Yeah that was before we filmed and we were just getting to know each other. We went to a salon and Dan got a perm and I got a blonde hair… what was nice about it is that we were forced to spend time together and get to know each other. So anything that we could do in that regard was very helpful.
DR: [Finding the page in GQ Style] There you are – hey, looking cool as well! And your face is on the T-shirt too.
DD: Yeah, it says “What dreams are made of”
DR: That’s very funny!
What’s your favourite piece of clothing that you own?
DD: I have this really amazing pair of velvet Prada slippers that have these monkeys on them, wearing a crown in a tree that’s dripping gold. I mean I’ve only worn them once – I wore them to the Met Ball – but they’re too unique for them not to be my favourite thing.
DR: That’s the one place you could wear those things. I have a 1901 red infantryman’s jacket from the Boer war, which I bought during my Libertines-obsessed phase, of course. And it still just is a great thing… it really was worn during the war, and it’s just f***ing beautiful.
Daniel, you’ve also talked about closing the gap between how the public perceives you and real life. There’s something about how the early beat poets’work was about how people perceive you versus your real interior self. Is it easy to relate to that in relation to fame?
DR: I don’t really think there’s a parallel, just because though Allen’s struggle is similarly between what he is and what he wants to be, fame doesn’t come into it – and so it’s a very different way of worrying how people perceive you. I see what you’re saying, but I think it’s a different type of perception issue.
DD: The way you are perceived is in many ways up to the general public. A lot of times people really want to categorize an actor – it’s easier for them to wrap their minds around an actor if they can put them in a category. But ultimately I think the goal is to just be perceived as an actor – that’s your job, you’re not somebody that only is this particular thing.
You two have bonded well – hopefully being asked about it all the time hasn’t spoilt that…
DR: It is a weird thing when you’re constantly asked to analyse why you’re friends.
DD: I know, right? Constantly talking about what you like about each other.
DR: “Well, he’s really… er, kind… erm…”
You lived together briefly, and talked about playing board games together. Can you explain what Cards Against Humanity is?
DR: Oh, yeah, sure. Cards Against Humanity. We don’t have it over here – have you played Apples To Apples?
DR: I didn’t think it was a game over here – it’s clearly not! There’s an American game called Apples To Apples. Basically it’s a version of that but with much ruder words. So, somebody asks a question and they pick up a question card, like… “Why did my last relationship end?” And somebody else will pick another card which might say… we were playing and it’s particularly funny if I got the card, which does exist in there, “Harry Potter Erotica”. And that card did come up, and I did have it, and I did play it, everyone will be pleased to know. Somebody asks the question and out your other cards you find the funniest, rudest answer that you can apply to it – and then a person who is judging awards the points.
Who out of you is the better cook?
DR: Oh, it’s Dane! Out of me and him? I don’t even know how you cook, but I know that you’re better than me.
DD: I have a few things I can make, but it’s more that I can make something…
DR: I can do like one pasta dish and I can heat soup up. So Dane wins.
You’re both huge American football fans.How are you doing in your NFL Fantasy League so far?
DR: Dane’s doing better than me.
DD: My team is still doing better than his team.
You could just trade all your players.
DR: No, I can’t trade all my players – my players are very good! I just need them to start performing. Julio Jones just out with a f***ing ankle injury…
What do you think about the talk about the NFL getting a London franchise?
DD: It would be really rough on the players.
DR: That’s what I’m saying, the away schedule? Although I did speak to someone the other day that had worked it out, and they said you could have four home games, four away games, four home games and do it like that. I also think it would suck because it’s not like we have a farm system where we would be producing American football players – we produce, like, three every draft. So a load of American guys would have to come and play in London, and they wouldn’t feel any loyalty to the country or to the team. And frankly, I don’t know if there are enough people like us who are into it. Two games [at Wembley] is great, but a full season?
What music should we be listening to?
DR: [Answering for DeHaan] Styx. Sorry.
You can answer for him, that’s fine.
DD: I have a pretty eclectic taste in music.obviously I just did the Metallica movie and I can get into that kind of stuff, but mostly I’m a lot more mellow in what I listen to day in day out. I really like the Avett Brothers right now. I really like a lot of the stuff that Macklemore is doing too, but honestly I rely on my wife to play things for me because I won’t seek it out myself. She’s very in tune to music.
DR: It’s not my favourite of his albums but in terms of one for everybody to listen to, Hold Time by M Ward is brilliant. You know this is British GQ, so you should say Styx because nobody over here knows it.
DD: I’ve been talking about Styx all week and nobody knows it!
DR: “Domo Arigato Mr Roboto”, you must know that.
DD: That’s by Styx! Tell them to check out Styx. (Laughs) “Come Sail Away”, you know that song?
In terms of films about the Beat Generation, are there any clichés about the genre you wanted to avoid?
DR: I suppose the main thing is I think people have an image of poets as being quite serious and dull, and I think that these guys were the punks of their era, they were vibrant and exciting and bounced off one another and had a huge amount of fun. So the image that poets all just sit alone writing and not being connected to things… if we can dispel that, that’s good.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
DR: My problem with actors is that they start forgetting that they still have to behave like a person, and they can’t just turn up to stuff late or forget lines or generally be bad people. It’s excused a lot of the time, just because they are an actor. On set, if a boom mic comes into shot and some actors will be like “Oh, for God’s sake…” You screwed up your line five times, you know? Don’t ever assume that an actor is somehow different from any other member of the crew, because you’re all there to do the same job, which is to make a good film.
DD: I remember when I was living in New York and shooting In Treatment, and I was deciding whether or not I was going to move to LA to pursue a film career. I would leaving this community of people that I had formed around myself, and it was a scary thing. And Gabriel Byrne wrote me a letter which said something like, “Don’t be afraid to take leaps and fall off cliffs.” I heeded that advice, and it worked out quite nicely.
Finally, Dan can you tell us what your screenplay is about?
DR: No! [Laughs] I am writing something, but it’s more for me at this point than anyone else. I’ve showed it to a few people who have given me notes on it, and I’m going to go and work on it. But it’s just a very dark comedy, basically.
We’re looking forward to seeing it.
DR: You probably never will!
Kill Your Darlings is out on 6 December.