No longer the rosy-cheeked face of the precociously talented boy wizard under the stairs, Daniel Radcliffe is challenging audiences to see him in an increasingly grown-up light. Years after Radcliffe appeared naked onstage accompanied by a horse, the question of the professional risk involved in performing a same-sex love scene as poet Allen Ginsberg has been raised.
The script also called for sobbing tears, and Radcliffe was worried he wouldn't be able to deliver. In an interview with Vanity Fair about playing the revered poet in the new film "Kill Your Darlings," Radcliffe said that “whenever you, as an actor, see in a script a line like 'Allen weeps openly,' you always go 'Oh, Jesus' because you’re going to have to cry.”
He went on to say that emotionally investing in such a tough performance is difficult both going in and coming out; “Once I started, I was in danger of not stopping,” he said.
"Kill Your Darlings" is based on the true story of the college-aged Beat poets, a group that the real Ginsberg called "the Libertine Circle" in his journals. The crowd of students, poets and friends included Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, all of whom would go on to become significant literary figures. The group was swept up in the murder that is at the center of the film.
When Vanity Fair asked Radcliffe if he felt performing in the film's one gay sex scene was risky, Radcliffe brushed it off. Despite there being some buzz about the scene, the actor said that it didn't feel like a risk at all.
“I totally understand that people are going to talk about it, because it’s salacious and whatever,” Radcliffe said, “but the thing that was much more nerve-wracking to me about this film was hitting all those big emotional beats.”
Ginsberg was outspoken about his views against sexual repression, and in his poetry and work as an activist campaigned for sexual freedoms. In Ginsberg's 1959 poem “Kaddish,” he describes feeling within himself “a mortal avalanche, whole mountains of homosexuality.”
"Kill Your Darlings" comes to theaters Oct. 16.
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