Daniel Radcliffe isn’t afraid of pain. For his latest role as Igor Strausman in director Paul McGuigan’s Victor Frankenstein, the former Harry Potter frontman jetted home to England to shoot a brutal finale scene in the dead of the country’s December and January cold. Over the course of three weeks, Radcliffe and his Frankenstein compatriots—the latest iteration of Mary Shelley’s classic ghoulish creature included—entered a picturesque seaside castle, where 18 rain machines supplemented the area's natural showers to achieve the perfect thunderstorm for the picture’s closing sequence.
“I enjoy disciplining myself into weird, painful looking shapes. So that was fun, finding that physicality and making it look sort of as painful as possible,” the actor charmingly tells InStyle. “It wasn’t so much that it was physically draining, we were tired, but it was more just the pressure of, ‘Oh man, are we going to get what we need to do done today?' It was just a lot.” Radcliffe may have been nervous about his ability to nail the role, but the frenetic plotline lent itself to another killer performance by the beloved star.
“When I read the script, my first reaction was that it was such an unashamed, unapologetically entertaining script,” he says. “We all kind of live in this world where we are all incredibly grateful for everything science and technology does for us, but we also kind of live in fear of it and what it can do in the wrong hands. It was nice to read a really strong script that also had that intellectual side going on as well.”
As Igor, the overeager but cautious apprentice to James McAvoy’s Victor Frankenstein, Radcliffe successfully returns to the world of “fantasy” and “magical realism,” one he was accustomed to with Harry Potter. Don’t assume otherwordly creatures and well-crafted fright scenes are his thing, though. “I was way too much of a coward to watch horror movies growing up,” he tells us. “I was not one of those kids in school that said, ‘Oh! You should probably watch The Exorcist.' I was like no! That sounds like the worst.”
The Frankenstein role may have been a perfect fit for the 26-year-old talent, but the long locks he added to his grooming routine for the movie definitely took some getting used to. “Well, it wasn’t my actual hair! I had extensions. I had them in and they were the kind that you bond in and I had them put in sort of over a 14-hour period over two days. Then they stay in pretty much for four months,” he admits. “I did not mind the way they looked, but it was more like looking after them that was slightly odd—it takes ages. You have to plan so much ahead just to wash your hair and dry it.”
So can we expect Radcliffe to rock the inches-long ‘do IRL? Not exactly. The actor recently buzzed his head to a military-like cut, and for good reason. “I’ve earned more respect for people who choose to have long hair now. I don’t know why anyone would do it. On the other hand, now having a shaved head, it’s just the easiest thing in the world and I kind of love it.”
Despite his innate ability to dress like a gentleman for the red carpet, outward appearances aren’t his first priority. “I don’t have necessarily a strategy,” he says of his approach to dressing for the step and repeat. “You should feel like you, and you should feel comfortable, and feel great—if it feels comfortable then I’ll look better in it.”
Victor Frankenstein hits theaters Nov. 25.