Though countryside skies and childhood fairytales promise a notion of their proximity and generosity, the truth is, stars rest in space at a distance beyond the mind's capacity to fully conceive. Steady fireballs burning lightyears away, it's more than their glow that make them the perfect metaphor for Hollywood's fame hierarchy: the sheer will it takes over so many thankless years to reach star status parallels the space flight required.
With that grit and patience and understanding of greatness required to reach that star level, conversely, the meteoritic rise and atmospheric flameouts of Hollywood one-hit wonders mimics the dangers of untethered space travel. So often, it's the child actor, shot from a rocket into show business at an age far earlier than is truly advisable, that assumes that arc of the solar flare, or the imploding dwarf that never shone bright enough. The stories of troubled adulthoods following childhood flame are legion, with a certain extra mettle required to avoid the fate.
Perhaps appropriately, given his character's legendary magical powers and storyline of simmering bravery and valor, it seemed that Daniel Radcliffe, the big screen's Harry Potter, would defy those pitfalls and reach that star status, so calm and collected and level-headed, he. And as his final Hogwarts adventure rushes toward worldwide release, it does indeed look as if he will be the exception to the rule, a star in his adult years akin to a Ron Howard or Michael J. Fox. But as he reveals, it wasn't always so written in stone that he would make that transition.
Speaking to GQ UK about a mid-Potter lapse in self-control and appreciation, Radcliffe revealed that for a while, "I became so reliant on alcohol to enjoy stuff. There were a few years there when I was just so enamored with the idea of living some sort of famous person's lifestyle that really isn't suited to me."
Now 21, Radcliffe largely escaped much paparazzi scrutiny for his hard-partying ways (though some photos were captured by the Daily Mirror), a stroke of luck rarely afforded a child star in the midst of growing pains. And though any photos that would catch him drinking would now only reveal a partier, not a law breaker, Radcliffe says he's moved past that point.
"I'm actually enjoying the fact I can have a relationship with my girlfriend where I'm really pleasant and I'm not f*cking up totally all the time," he says (via DanielJRadcliffe.tk). "As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time, that doesn't work for me."
With liquor's temptations no longer there to provide its own murky script, Radcliffe is determined to not only become a star in adulthood himself, but prove that no other child star has to fall prey to Hollywood's vices and pitfalls.
"If I can make a career for myself after Potter, and it goes well, and is varied and with longevity, then that puts to bed the 'child actors argument,'" he says. "If I can do it, in the biggest film franchise of all time, no other child actor who comes after will ever have to answer those same bloody questions."
It's a very similar sentiment to one he expressed a few months earlier, when he struck out against the child actor curse at a symposium in New York City.
"Here's the thing: if I can do it -- in the biggest film franchise of all-time in terms of grosses -- no one else has any excuses," he warned at the 92nd Street Y in May. "I just want the next generation of child actors to not have to answer all those bloody questions in interviews, 'So, how long do you expect this to last?' Essentially, that is what we get asked. A lot. I have had that phrased that way. So I just want the next lot of kids who want to act not to have to deal with those questions."
Of course, it takes a certain level of talent, beyond perhaps a cute gap-filled smile and adorable laugh, to make it in adult Hollywood, and luckily, that talent is to Radcliffe as magical ability is to his Potter: in abundance. He's already a Broadway star, as he currently headlines the critically acclaimed revival of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," and has put in the can his first post-Potter film, "The Woman In Black," due out next year. He also plans on a career in directing smaller, character-based features.
Then again, all the maturity in the world couldn't help him avoid quite the emotional action when he wrapped up his last Potter film.