“I want to last. I want to be an actor,” Daniel Radcliffe said Friday at his very first Comic-Con, where the erstwhile Harry Potter was promoting his dark horror pic Horns. French horror maven Alexandre Aja directs the tale of Ig Perrish, who awakens one morning to find a pair of demonic horns growing out of his skull in the wake of his girlfriend’s murder. Radcliffe, Aja, and author Joe Hill showed off the premiere of the U.S. trailer and an extended scene that had been edited for the young eyes and ears in the audience. Two f-bombs in the span of a single reel? Accio adulthood, Potterites.
Pic is adapted by Keith Bunin from Hill’s 2010 novel, a genre-bender he described as a “tragicomic-horror-dy.” In the footage, Radcliffe’s Ig has developed the power to compel others to express their worst impulses and persuades a scrum of journalists to brawl in exchange for an exclusive interview. “Getting journalists to fight … I took pleasure in that scene,” Radcliffe laughed. He admitted the heavy media scrutiny on the young Potter cast eventually took its toll. “Towards the end of time on Potter, I did start to get worried,” he said. “I wasn’t before but journalists started asking, ‘Do you think your best years are behind you?’ — at 20.”
Radcliffe said he was determined “to have a career after Potter” and sought out mature stage and film works “that sent a message to people that I wanted to challenge myself as an actor.” He came to the filmmakers in pursuit of the Ig role. “That was before Woman In Black, so I didn’t really know about your work,” said Aja to Radcliffe. “I was really impressed that you were so skilled as an actor.”
Throughout his run as the face of the Harry Potter franchise, Radcliffe had never appeared at the annual fan convention. Having recently turned 25, he got a Hall H welcome — “Happy Birthday” sung by 6,000 fans.
Preceding Horns on Radius-TWC’s panel was another star-fronted genre pic, Everly. Salma Hayek stars in the actioner from director Joe Lynch (Knights Of Badassdom) as a down-on-her-luck woman who is forced to fend off waves of assassins sent by her ex, a dangerous mob boss. Lynch directed from the Black List script by Yale Hannon in what he calls “Die Hard in a room.” Hayek called it the most physical performance of her life — and as glimpsed in footage, she spends most of the pic scantily clad, fighting off baddies with an assortment of weapons, including sais. “Screw the Ninja Turtles,” said Lynch. “When you see Salma Hayek with a sai twirling in the air, you’re gonna crap.”