Anyone who read J.K Rowling’s books before Harry Potter broke it onto the big screen will agree Daniel Radcliffe was the dream lead.
The then 10-year old burst into the blockbuster realm in the titular role in the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, back in 2001, nabbing the part out of thousands of candidates.
And the way in which he was discovered in the first place is truly the stuff of fate.
A young, bright-eyed Radcliffe was sitting behind producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves in a theatre in London in the summer of 2000, and despite the fact he wasn’t even performing, the duo were immediately captivated by his presence.
“There sitting behind me was this boy with these big blue eyes. It was Dan Radcliffe,” Heyman told Los Angeles Times writer Geoff Boucher in 2009.
“I remember my first impressions … He was curious and funny and so energetic. There was real generosity too, and sweetness.
“But at the same time he was really voracious and with hunger for knowledge of whatever kind.”
Heyman was thrilled to spot Radcliffe, having been into a seven-month search for his lead without success.
He was far from a household name but Radcliffe had still notched up impressive experience in the 1999 BBC series David Copperfield, in which he played the child years in the title role.
Radcliffe was brought in for his Harry Potter audition and the decision was unanimous, with Rowling declaring at the time: “Having seen Dan Radcliffe screen test, I don’t think (director) Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry.”
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However, Radcliffe’s parents initially declined the opportunity for their son, with concerns production was going to film away from their home base in the UK in Los Angeles for six months.
Warner Bros bargained by offering Radcliffe a two-film contract with shooting to be in the UK. Of course, this eventually turned into a contract comprising eight astronomically successful films, which are now streaming on Binge.
Around the same time, Warner Bros had also cast the then unknown British actors Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who won the parts of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, at ages 10 and 11, respectively.
Heyman said their casting was “especially impressive in hindsight. The trio’s selection was arguably one of the best show-business decisions over the past decade … They have shown admirable grace and steadiness in the face of teen superstardom.”
Given the success of the books and the big-budget backing of Warner Bros, Radcliffe was thought to have made about $1.3 million for his first film.
But by the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the now 31-year-old pocketed a $26.5 million pay cheque – and a worthy spot in blockbuster history.
Harry Potter movies are available to stream on Binge