Daniel Radcliffe, the titular star of one of the most profitable movie franchises in Harry Potter, has certainly been making a few determined moves to disentangle himself permanently from the tentacles of Voldemort now that the long-running wizard and potions saga has reached its cinematic conclusion.
After making some well-received stage appearances in 2007 in Peter Schaffer’s powerful, horse-blinding drama Equus, in both London and New York, including challenging nude scenes to boot, even before J.K. Rowling’s fantasy fest had ended its film cycle, Radcliffe has also featured in the recent screen chiller, The Woman in Black, to more luke-warm notices.
But it is his next project that will perhaps see the young Briton tested most – playing a gay American in a true-life murder mystery. No, it’s not CSI: Hogwarts with a gender twist, but an adaptation of the events outlined in the Jack Kerouac/William Burroughs collaboration And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, a rare, two-scribe novel penned in the mid-1940s but one that did not see the general light of day until 2008.
For most Beat aficionados, however, the action in the story centres on those real-life events of 1944 when David Kammerer was stabbed and killed by Lucien Carr, in a bid, we have always been led to believe, to fend off the victim’s homosexual advances to the younger man. The fact that Kerouac would then become embroiled in the events that followed – he hid the murder weapon and was arrested as an accessory – has become a key part in the early Beat chronology.
In the movie, entitled Kill Your Darlings, Radcliffe dons the spectacles once more to portray Allen Ginsberg. Carr, who would serve two years in jail for what the press of the day dubbed ‘an honour slaying’, is played by Dane DeHaan, Kammerer is Michael C. Hall, Burroughs comes to life in the hands of Ben Foster, while Kerouac is reincarnated by Jack Huston. The film, currently in production on the Manhattan streets and directed by John Krokidas, is slated for a 2013 release.