In Daniel Radcliffe’s latest film role, the Harry Potter star goes in a split second from a normal, anonymous young man to a celebrity sensation whose life is turned upside-down.
Does that sound familiar to the former child actor who was plucked from obscurity to front one of the biggest movie franchises of all time?
“Yes I suppose so! I really hadn’t thought about that,” Radcliffe told AFP. “God I need to call my therapist!”
Fortunately for Radcliffe, his real-life journey was considerably more gentle than the protagonist of Guns Akimbo, which had its world premiere at the Toronto film festival.
He plays a nerdy video game developer who wakes from a brutal attack to find guns have been surgically bolted to his hands, and he has been forced to fight to the death for the amusement of a sadistic online community.
Asked how he chose the role, Radcliffe said: “A lot of the things I’ve done have been like weird fairytales, like ‘Horns’ or ‘Swiss Army Man.’
“They’re all about somebody living a normal life and then something crazy and transformative happening to them.
“So I guess I enjoy those kind of stories, stories that take a crazy route into a thing we can relate to. And this film definitely falls into that category.”
As the plot suggests, Guns Akimbo is a more radical departure from Hogwarts than any of his projects yet.
Its darkly cartoonish approach to copious on-screen violence includes countless gory fight scenes and deaths in which the characters wield guns, hammers and even a bazooka.
Like The Running Man or The Hunger Games, ordinary people are cheered on by bloodthirsty crowds in their fights to the death — with the millennial twist of live-streaming and YouTube-style trolls.
“This film is inspired by the darker corners of the internet and parts of social media and those ideas, but it’s not necessarily making a massive point about them,” said Radcliffe.
“Jason is somebody who has absorbed certain parts of the internet and ’80s action movies and gaming, and this film is the result of all those things coming together,” he said, referring to director Jason Lei Howden.
“I don’t think anyone should get their moral code from this movie!”