Exclusive: Daniel Radcliffe Talks Horns, Working with Alexandre Aja, and Portraying Igor


Yep, with the title Horns (review) you do get what you expect to see. Daniel Radcliffe in big ol’ devil horns on par with Tim Curry’s in Legend or Terrance Zdunich’s in The Devil’s Carnival.

The film follows Ig Perrish (Radcliffe) the underachieving son of well-to-do parents and the boring boyfriend of restless beauty Merrin (Juno Temple). Ig’s life suddenly gets interesting when his sweet S.O. is brutally slain and he’s the sole suspect. Shortly after that Ig sprouts a pair of hellish horns, and the sight of them compels mere mortals to confess their sins to him – an effective tool in his quest to discover the true circumstances of the crime and for getting revenge on her killer.

Horns Daniel Radclife

It’s a bit different territory for director Alexandre Aja, who’s better known for his brutal and bloody horror, a la High Tension, Mirrors, and The Hills Have Eyes remake. When we had the opportunity to sit down with Radcliffe and ask him about that, he said, “I think that’s one of the things Alex and I first talked about, actually, when we met and talked about his film… how this is the both of us showing a side of ourselves that we haven’t really before. It’s funny because obviously people, and rightly so, have such strong associations with Alex and horror. I think it’s because he has a lot of talent and does it so brilliantly, but it’s interesting because he is so great. If I could work with Alex Aja on every film, I would for the rest of my life. He is amazing… [not] just because how he is technically, but how he is with the crew. I have never seen a director who ignites and sort of nurtures the creativity of his crew more, and so quickly, and so easily, as Alex Aja does. It’s very, very cool to be around.”

Dread Central: His enthusiasm is really infectious. I’ve interviewed him many times over the years, and you just feel that he really, really loves what he’s doing and that’s why he’s doing it, not just for commerce.

Daniel Radcliffe: Oh, no. God, no. Absolutely. Alex certainly does not care about the money. He’s doing stuff because it excites him, absolutely. That’s what all the best people do, I suppose, but mainly Alex.

DC: I understand that the book, which I have not read, is pretty close to the movie. Could you talk about how fans compare the two?

DR: I think the book is told very much from a few different perspectives… we do a bit of that, with flashbacks around, because there’s one scene in the movie that’s very pivotal and that a lot of people are present for… We see the scene from several different characters’ perspectives, and then there’s [a moment] which is sort of a nod to what happened in the book. You see, the whole book is divided into three different characters’ journeys. There’s stuff – this is I suppose a bit of a spoiler alert – but there’s stuff in Lee, you know… in the book Lee is given like a crazy backstory. He has an intense backstory where you find out that he’s been killing cats since he was a kid. I think it’s his bedridden grandma, and she is like really ill and he has to bring her water and stuff, but he starts slowly killing her by adding loads of salt to the water that she’s drinking. He does loads of things that are just like maniacal, awful, horrendous things. And I think that obviously in the movie we wanted sort of not to present Lee in that way… like oh, this guy is absolutely psycho.

DC: It’s a better mystery in the movie, then.

DR: Yeah, because it is a whodunnit, and it’s about who kills Merrin, but really, you can probably have a stab in the dark of who the murderer was fairly early on, and that’s not the tension that follows through the end of the film. The tension at the end of the film is like once you have that information, what is Ig going to do about it when he finds out who the killer is?

DC: Juno Temple is terrific, as always.  She’s getting so much work now, and she’s like the Jessica Chastain of the past couple of years. I love that scene with you and her and the treehouse and the David Bowie song. It’s so ethereal. Can you talk a little bit about the elements of the story? Because there are so many, which one did you connect with when you first heard about it and read the script and talked to Alex?

DR: I thought it was really funny. I thought the first act was brilliantly funny and witty and bizarre and absurdist. And, you know, I like anything that is kind of allegorical in any way; it always is a fun way to write and in some ways tell a story. I also really respond to the fact it is anchored by the romance. The love story is that, you know, if Ig and Merrin’s relationship means nothing, then the film doesn’t have to happen, but it’s because that relationship means everything to him and he has that taken away from him that he loses a huge part of himself in that as well and is struggling to deal with that. But the love story at the heart of it is so key and so beautiful in that something so lovely, I do think Joe Hill created like the perfect intellect, especially in this time where a lot of relationships can be very fleeting, the idea of a relationship that is ten years old by the time they’re 21 is such a rarity. And there’s something so sort of innocent and beautiful about that. And Joe just wrote this incredible relationship, so he could destroy it.

DC: That’s really evil.

DR: It is, really. It’s really tough. And, you know, I found that relationship, and then the whole Merrin story and Ig’s story in trying to find out what was really going on with Merrin before she died, to me that’s the story of the film. That’s what it is. That’s the heartbreaking moment at the end where you realize what’s really been going on. You know, that to me was, when I read the script, I was like, ‘Oh, god… that’s what takes this from being a really cool, fun movie about a guy who grows horns and a guy who kills his girlfriend. That’s what takes it to another level of being emotionally really powerful’

DC: We are a horror website, as you may know, and so that’s why we love Alex Aja. If I may ask one last question about your upcoming role in Frankenstein as another Ig – Igor. So many wonderful actors have played that character. How did you put your own spin on it?

DR: You know, just by doing my job and trying not to… I don’t focus on like what other people have been doing. I think you obviously have to, you know, people have a certain image in their mind of what they see when they see Igor, which is something that I think you do have to pay a certain amount of homage to, and yeah, I think I do. One of the things I’m most pleased about the film is really the physicality in the first part of the movie when I’m properly hunchbacked and things like that. Generally I think it’s such a different script and such a different interpretation of Igor and the Igor and Victor’s relationship that I don’t think I have to work very hard to consciously do things that would further set it apart from previous incarnations. I think people expect a certain thing when they think of Igor. And you want to do that, but also hopefully find a character that is extremely different and unexpected.

DC: So no Marty Feldman impressions from you?

DR: No Marty Feldman impressions. But if I had to pick an Igor, it would be him every time.

Directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Mirrors, Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes) from Keith Bunin’s script, Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Juno Temple, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, and James Remar.

Look for Horns NOW on VOD and in theatres in both the US and the UK on October 31st.

Horns, a supernatural thriller driven by fantasy, mystery, and romance, follows Ig Perrish (Radcliffe), the number one suspect for the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Temple). Hungover from a night of hard drinking, Ig awakens one morning to find horns starting to grow from his own head and soon realizes their power drives people to confess their sins and give in to their most selfish and unspeakable impulses – an effective tool in his quest to discover the true circumstances of his late girlfriend’s tragedy and for exacting revenge on her killer.

This rock and roll infused dark fantasy explores why bad things happen to good people and what the loss of true love can do to a man. The widely acclaimed book was on the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks and has become an international bestseller as well.





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