“My inclination is to say no,” Daniel Radcliffe told TV critics this afternoon when asked if he’d be interested in playing a graying Harry Potter. The question came out of J.K. Rowling publishing on her website today a new, 1,500-word story about Potter, married, in his mid-30s and going gray — the first update since Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows published in 2007.
Radcliffe was at the TCA’s Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton to talk about the four-episode next batch of Ovation’s black comedy A Young Doctor’s Notebook & Other Stories, in which he plays a younger, morphine-addicted version of a doctor played by Jon Hamm. Since Radcliffe’s the guy most closely associated with Potter on the screen, naturally he took a question about a possible new Potter movie, based on Rowling’s post.
“I don’t think it’s a question that’s even — not even hypothetical,” Radcliffe said nervously. “As I understand, it’s a very short piece, not of itself worthy of adaptation to film. And he’s at least 12 years older than I am now. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that for a long time,” he concluded, dodgily.
The TV critics understandably were put out that Hamm was a no-show — having been told he was coming to the Q&A. “Unfortunately, Jon Hamm is not able to be with us,” Ovation SVP Scott Woodward said at the start of the session. He didn’t bother to elaborate, except to say, “He sends his sincere apologies and really, really wanted to thank you for all the support you’ve given to the series” — which sounded vaguely insincere and didn’t help a bit.
So it was left to Radcliffe, who wisely appeared via satellite from New York, where he’s working on Broadway, to swat away TV critics’ questions as to how the Ovation series’ Young Doctor character gets about six inches taller by the time he’s Hamm’s age. “This show is so crazy anyway. People are either going to go with it and enjoy it so much they don’t care about it — if they get hung up on that, there’s plenty of other logical problems they’re going to find. That definitely wasn’t something we lingered on too much,” Radcliffe said, pulling it off pretty well. But then, this was a group that couldn’t even steel itself to demand an explanation of the Ovation exec when they found out his network, or Hamm, had pulled a fast one on them, in re Hamm’s absence.
Every TV Press Tour finds its leitmotif pretty quickly in its weeklong march. This one will be about The Marvel Of Big Stars Being Attracted To Short-Order TV Series. “Definitely, that’s the thing with this,” Radcliffe said when asked if the fact A Young Doctor’s Notebook is produced in batches of just four episodes made it attractive to much-in-demand thespians like himself and Hamm. Radcliffe said the show’s writers told him, ” ‘If you want to get a series ordered, tell them you have Daniel and Jon for four weeks over the summer.’ … Everything just moved very quickly” after that, he said. This so-called British System of TV Production gives actors a lot of freedom to take on other commitments, Radcliffe explained. “There are interesting things happening now in British TV, but it’s nowhere near the money that is in American TV, if you’ll pardon me for being vulgar,” he added apologetically, not realizing the TV critics hadn’t even noticed — maybe because they are in Beverly Hills.
A year ago, the producers announced Hamm and Radcliffe had signed up for a second season of A Young Doctor’s Notebook & Other Stories. The first, four-part season of the Big Talk Productions mini aired in December 2012 on Sky Arts in the UK and became the most successful program in the channel’s history. Ovation telecast the first season last fall. The adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s short stories sees Hamm as a Russian doctor during the Russian Revolution and Radcliffe as his younger self. The comedy-drama’s second season returns to the small village of Muryevo in 1918, to find the Young Doctor battling morphine addiction. Under the critical gaze of his sadder-but-wiser older self, the Young Doctor struggles to cope with life in the hospital, the Civil War and the arrival of a beautiful young aristocrat (Margaret Clunie).