British actor Daniel Radcliffe has charted an ambitious course ever further from his Harry Potter days, taking on very different roles in no less than three films premiered at the Toronto film festival this week.
The former boy wizard flexed his acting chops in Michael Dowse’s romantic comedy The F Word, Alexandre Aja’s fantastical murder mystery Horns and as Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings.
“I’m excited that people will finally get a chance to see me do different stuff,” he said.
He chose these far more mature roles, based on scripts about murder and homosexuality, that he loved and responded to, he said.
“It certainly wasn’t a strategy that they’d all be at TIFF [the Toronto International Film Festival],” he said.
In Horns, based on Joe Hill’s dark novel of the same name, Radcliffe plays a young man who grows horns after being accused of killing his girlfriend and embarks to solve her murder, while as Ginsberg he is thrown into New York’s wild jazz scene and parties.
The latter includes a steamy sex scene with Radcliffe and another man.
Meanwhile, The F Word pairs Radcliffe as hopeless romantic Wallace with Chantry, played by Zoe Kazan, and takes them into a complicated world of modern relationships.
The Dallas Buyers Club premiered on Saturday night, giving the moviegoing world its first glimpse of Matthew McConaughey’s highly anticipated performance as a Texas man diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s.
Based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, the film follows his frustration with the US Food and Drug Administration and his enterprising smuggling of more promising drugs.
For the role, McConaughey lost nearly 22.kg, and appears startlingly gaunt throughout the film. After the film, though, McConaughey told the audience his weight loss was not the hard part.
“That was the easy decision,” he said. “I would have been embarrassed standing here looking like I do now playing the guy. That really wouldn’t have worked.”
McConaughey’s performance as a hard-drinking, homophobic rodeo cowboy whose illness changes him in many ways for the better was immediately hailed as a sure bet for a best actor Oscar nomination.
The Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom premiered at the festival with a heavy dose of reverence for its subject, and a few extra kilograms of muscle, too.
Idris Elba stars as the South African leader in the film, which the Weinstein Co will release in late November.
The film, directed by Justin Chadwick, takes a classical, inspirational biopic approach to telling the epic tale of Mandela’s life story. While the brawny Elba has a much larger frame than Mandela, Chadwick said he was “the brave choice” for the role.”
“We’re not going for a looky-likey, soundy-likey version of Mandela,” Chadwick told reporters on Sunday, after a Saturday evening premiere that drew a standing ovation, but mixed reviews. “We’re trying to catch the spirit.”
Producer Anant Singh long ago secured Mandela’s approval.
The 95-year-old Mandela has been ailing, so he was not involved in the production or able to meet with Elba.