After mesmerizing millions of fans with his on-screen portrayal of the boy wizard Harry Potter, in February 2007 British actor Daniel Radcliffe worked his magic onstage with his performance in the London West End theatrical production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus. In the challenging role of psychotically deranged teenager Alan Strang, whose unnatural love of horses drove him to blind six of them with a hoof pick, Radcliffe demonstrated the breadth of his acting skill, as well as his level of maturity as an actor. He also succeeded in literally shedding his childlike image when he was required to appear nude onstage during one scene.
Radcliffe began acting at the age of six when he appeared as a monkey in a school play. After passing up an opportunity to audition for a television production of Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, he caught the attention of TV producer Kate Harwood, who was impressed by his “charm and simplicity,” and he was cast in the title role of David Copperfield (1999). Two years later Radcliffe appeared in the film The Tailor of Panama (2001). His big break came when he was cast to star in the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). His parents initially refused to let him audition for the role, but a chance meeting with Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus and producer David Heyman at the theatre one evening led to an eventual audition. Those involved with the film, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, were in overwhelming agreement that Radcliffe would make the perfect Harry, and the books’ legions of fans seemed to agree. He reprised his role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), in which he performed some of his own stunts.
In addition to Equus (which was expected to open on Broadway in 2008), Radcliffe juggled numerous other on-screen projects, including three released in 2007: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the British TV movie My Boy Jack, and the Australian coming-of-age film December Boys. Radcliffe also signed on to complete the last two films in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which went into production in 2007 for release in late 2008, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (scheduled for release in 2010).