Daniel Radcliffe spent years embodying Harry Potter — his time as part of a series, which has started branching out and spinning off (and wildly out of control, depending on who you ask) beyond him, is over. And while he’s more than happy to look back at that time, he’s not quite as willing to see at least part of its continuation.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the “let’s have a stage play for some reason” branch of J.K. Rowling’s sprawling transmedia Potter-Empire is apparently where Radcliffe draws the line at experiencing it for himself. Set after the events of the books and focusing on Harry’s son having adventures at Hogwarts (while his dad’s off doing magic-cop business and being the world’s worst helicopter parent), Cursed Child has been running across the world to acclaim for for two years now, but Radcliffe still hasn’t seen it.
And not because of being busy with his post-Potter career, or because it might present a version of Harry’s future that doesn’t match up with the one he imagined while portraying the character. It’s actually quite a simple one, as he told Seth Meyers on Late Night recently — it’d make for an awfully uncomfortable night of theatre, while audience members crane their necks for a chance to see Harry Potter’s reaction to, err, Harry Potter:
I’m probably not going to see it, I don’t have plans to. Not because I think it would throw me into some sort of existential crisis of like, ‘Oh, is that what happened?’
I feel like I would be being watched for my reaction. And maybe that is completely conceited and egotistical and people wouldn’t care, but I do feel if I was just surrounded by Harry Potter fans, it would be a little odd.
It’s a laudable reason — people pay huge amounts of money for tickets to see Cursed Child, and all the hubbub of crowds trying to get a look at Radcliffe and how he reacts to the events of the play wouldn’t just be disruptive to his own view of the story, but the audience at large. Even if that audience at large would be a bunch of Potter fans mentally (or maybe actually) jumping for joy at the thought they get to watch a Harry Potter play with Harry himself alongside them. He’d be miserable, they’d be miserable, and well, no one actually wants that. And so Radcliffe is happy to sacrifice his own chance to see it, so that Potter fans can enjoy it on their own terms.
Maybe he could just read the script at home instead?
[H/T Entertainment Weekly]