You won’t believe this one. Daniel Radcliffe, beloved Jewish actor who is famous for playing “Harry Potter,” has a new role that may surprise you. In “Imperium,” Radcliffe plays FBI agent Nate Foster, who goes undercover to take down skinheads planning to set off a dirty bomb. Yup, that’s right–skinheads. Radcliffe jokingly noted that he doesn’t want his 93-year-old bubbe to see him in this role.
The film, which opens Friday, is loosely based on the experiences of FBI agent Mike German, who spent 16 years with the bureau, a dozen of which were undercover.
So, how did Radcliffe get cast into the role–considering he’s anything but a burly FBI agent type at 5’5″? Ragussis, the film’s director, stated:
“When I first met Michael German, he was so different from the prototype FBI agents. He was very intelligent, a soft-spoken guy who studied philosophy in college. I spoke to him and said you’re not what I expected.
He told me being an FBI undercover agent isn’t about physical powers but social skills, dealing with people, and once I realized that it enabled me to conceptualize the story and turned me on to an actor like Daniel.”
When it came to preparing for the role, Radcliffe said he prepared for it “like any other role,” and also went “online to look at terrifying message boards.” That, and he shaves his head on screen, wears Nazi regalia, and of course, does the whole Nazi salute. No wonder he doesn’t want his bubbe to see it.
It’s no surprise, considering she “was an evacuee during the war,” and was taken to the country to get away from Nazi bombers. While he was raised to be secular, he also say the film is a “little too close to the bone” for her and how he couldn’t help but think “about how odd it is. The strangeness of it struck me a few times.”
Of his Jewish heritage, Radcliffe has stated:
“I don’t think I can separate the various parts of my life. But the view that was always imparted to me by my mom and [Irish] dad is that the Jewish people and the Irish people were hard workers, that the Jews always punched above their weight class intellectually in terms of their numbers of people. I know that influenced me I suppose on some level, gave me a sense of responsibility to continue that. It’s something I thought about. I wouldn’t say it’s a driving force, but it is an influence.”
Well, I can certainly say I can’t wait to see this one.