In “Now You See Me 2,” Daniel Radcliffe, known for the “Harry Potter” franchise, leaves his invisibility cloak and wand behind to play a tech savvy magnate, Walter Mabry.
As the reclusive tech genius, he gives the magician quartet Four Horseman (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Lizzy Caplan) the task of retrieving a stolen chip that has the power to expose the public’s privacy from his ex-partner. While his intentions seem to rest on the side of defending the public, his motivation is darker than originally suggested.
amNewYork sat down with Radcliffe to speak about the film, which opens June 10, as well as value of privacy, the evolution of technology and more.
You had a successful path in transitioning away from “Harry Potter.” That role was such a big chunk of your life. Once that franchise ended did you know what your career would look like?
I just wanted to keep working, and trying to do as much diverse work as possible. It’s a very hard industry to make a plan for because you don’t know what’s going to come your way. You have to have a vague mission statement, and then be open to whatever comes your way. I’ve been lucky — for every one person out there that thinks, “He’s Harry Potter forever,” there’s somebody else who says, “Wouldn’t it be cool to see him do something crazy different?”
“Now You See Me 2” is worlds different from “Harry Potter” but the overarching theme has to do with magic. Were you hesitant about joining the project because of that?
No, I wasn’t because I stupidly didn’t think about it at all. Then when I did think about it, I thought, “Oh, I’m going to get asked about this” but it was never a concern because the worlds are so different, and because my character doesn’t really do any magic. He’s slightly anti-magic, too. There wasn’t a particular concern.
Was working with Michael Caine a deciding factor in doing this film?
That was it! Knowing that I would get to do significant scenes with Michael Caine was a huge personal goal for me. Growing up I heard so much about him, and the way he worked from people in the industry. He was everything I wanted him to be and more. He’s 80-something years old and he’s still so enthusiastic to be working, and still loves his job. That was inspiring.
The film touched upon the breach in the public’s privacy via technology. What are your thoughts on how vulnerable we are?
We willingly give up a lot. Even someone like me — I don’t have Facebook or Twitter, but I’m still giving up a lot by having an iPhone, or even ordering a book online. You have to divulge a lot of information about yourself to become a part of the system. The internet is comparatively very new and we haven’t learned how to deal with it. We don’t quite know how to police it and legislate for it, so this is a very interesting time. I think we’re going to get better in integrating technology into our lives in ways that support or lives, than make us feel disconnected.
What was your decision behind not signing up for social media?
I can barely keep up with all the stuff I need to do in my life without that. If I had to dedicate time to that as well, I don’t know what I would do. At first it was kind of a thing where everyone was doing, so I didn’t want to do it, just to be contrary, but now I’m grateful because I think I would get into fights on Twitter. I think I would be one of those people — I’m totally capable of being that impetulant and annoyed by somebody that I would contact them on Twitter. It’s not worth it for me to be on there. I don’t know why you would invite that level of scrutiny into your private life.