Hollywood's most famous wizard just pulled off a pretty good trick.
Daniel Radcliffe, celebrated as young wizard Harry Potter in the popular film franchise, has taken on a new surprising role — that of executive producer for a documentary exploring what it's like to grow up in a circus family.
“Circus Kid” captures the real-life tale of Lorenzo Pisoni’s unique childhood with The Pickle Family Circus and how it wasn’t all fun and games when it came to taking the stage as an entertainer with his performing parents.
Radcliffe met Pisoni during his Broadway debut on “Equus” in 2008 and was immediately captivated by his fellow performer’s journey.
“We became very good friends,” Radcliffe told Fox News. “I started learning about his life… and then I became the most annoying [person]… Like, ‘Oh, you were in the circus?! Can you juggle?’ It was annoying I’m sure, but he was very sweet and humored me."
And while the two men shared similar offbeat upbringings, Radcliffe was more fascinated by their differences and how the spotlight had impacted them over the years.
“I think I'd be hard-pressed to find parallels in our families and how we dealt with it all,” explained Radcliffe. “Lorenzo’s parents are separated. I’m very lucky my parents are still together and are a wonderful team. And Lorenzo went off on his own for a lot of his childhood. I was generally chaperoned by one or the other of my parents… But it all just made sense.
When you’re living in a life where there really isn’t a blueprint for it, there’s nobody you can look to.
"When you’re living in a life where there really isn’t a blueprint for it, there’s nobody you can look to, there wasn’t a family my parents can go and say, ‘OK, so what’s it like when your kid gets involved in a massive franchise?’ You just have to go, ‘Let’s do this ourselves.’… I certainly wouldn’t change anything about my life or how I grew up because it made me the person that I am. I’m actually becoming more and more OK with that person.”
At age 11, Radcliffe achieved international stardom when he was cast as the lead in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 2001, which was based on the beloved best-selling fantasy novel by British writer J.K. Rowling.
Not only did the film become a box-office sensation, but the eight-film series spanned Radcliffe’s late childhood — and set him up for life. The franchise ended its run in 2011 and skyrocketed the young actor's net worth to nearly $100 million.
Radcliffe managed to escape the child star curse, however, and has gone on to enjoy a scandal-free Hollywood career. He credited his parents for providing a sense of normalcy over the years.
I think my mom and dad were just parenting very instinctively. Not that I’m saying I’m an amazing person, but I just feel like they did a really good job.
“From my point of view, I feel like my parents set a ridiculously high bar for me when I become a parent,” he admitted. “I just look back and go, ‘Man, they really made things easy for me and comprehensible and not scary.' I don’t think they were ever thinking, ‘We have to do this.’ I think my mom and dad were just parenting very instinctively. Not that I’m saying I’m an amazing person, but I just feel like they did a really good job.”
And while “Harry Potter” has certainly provided Radcliffe with immense wealth, he isn’t interested in enchanting audiences on screen with the same magic formula. Instead, Radcliffe is determined to take on diverse roles that showcase his talent.
In 2016’s “Imperium,” Radcliffe starred as an FBI agent going undercover as a white supremacist. That same year he also starred as a flatulent corpse in “Swiss Army Man.”
Radcliffe is aware some may question his choice of roles, but he’s perfectly content with transforming into different characters — even if they won’t become his next moneymaker.
“I think I wanted to try as many different things as I possibly could,” he explained. “You know, to find out what you’re good at, to find out what you like doing… I think this is something I’ve become better at [doing] in the last few years… [Just] really trusting my instinct.
I’m still really enjoying acting and I’m finding lots of projects that I really want to do.
"Having a good time with the [film] I’m doing now is the most important thing for me. Because I don’t watch myself back. I might see [the film] once or twice when they’re not finished so I can go and take a note of something… my experience of something is going to be the experience that I had making it. That’s ultimately the thing you’re left with. That’s my drive now. Will I enjoy this or won’t I?”
Radcliffe said he can envision himself working more behind the lens in the future.
“I would love to direct at some point down the road,” he said. “I’ve been saying this for years. I will get around to it eventually. I’m still really enjoying acting and I’m finding lots of projects that I really want to do. For the moment, I’m very happy to act. There’s no rush.
"I would also love to write. Ideally, I would like to write and direct, but… I don’t want the first thing I make to be s----y. I want to make sure the script is right. I’m going to take my time working on those things.”
Still, Radcliffe knows he may never escape "Harry Potter." But rather than shun the iconic persona who has delivered a life of immense wealth and professional freedom with just the wave of a magic wand, he embraces it. In fact, it only motivates him to show audiences what he’s capable of.
“I think I felt a lot of that pressure in the beginning,” said Radcliffe. “I don’t know what the percentage is, but there’s a percentage of people who will absolutely be willing to see me as different characters. There’s a percentage of people, probably smallish, that already do. But there’s a percentage of people who will never see me as anything other than Harry Potter. And I’m not going to worry about that.
"I’m also very happy with that. I loved the part. And if that’s the way I will remain in some people’s minds until the end of time, then that’s fine… The fact that I’m able to do stuff that I’m proud of, if I just carry on and do the things that I want to make, hopefully they will reach more and more people.”
“Circus Kid” premieres December 21 on Sundance Now.