You know Daniel Radcliffe as the mega-famous Harry Potter, and James McAvoy as the wise Professor X, but the hilarious duo have now teamed up as scientists in Victor Frankenstein, a new twist on the iconic legendary tale.
The guys stopped by BuzzFeed New York to chat about the upcoming sci-fi flick, and play a hilarious round of Never Have I Ever — in which Daniel reveals a prank he pulled on the Harry Potter set, and James reveals he's had a paranormal experience. Here's what went down.
Have you ever pulled a scary prank on someone?
Daniel Radcliffe: Uh, yeah. When I was really young, I got some blood capsules that you chew in your mouth — and we had a very elderly makeup and hair person who worked on the first two Harry Potter films — and I thought it would be really funny to just put it in my mouth and then slam my hand down on the metal steps outside the makeup trailer and then throw myself into the trailer and let blood flow out of my mouth. I was like, 11, and I thought it would be really funny and she was terrified; I felt quite bad. And then she squirted me with a water pistol, so she got even.
James McAvoy: Yeah, I'm guilty. I once convinced my sister that I was dead.
DR: THAT'S A LOT WORSE THAN WHAT I DID. How did you do that?
JM: We were playing hide-and-seek and she found me — we were very young at the time, like 29 —
JM: And she screamed, "Got you!" and I said, "No you haven't." And she said, "Yes I have!" and I said, "No, I'm not James, I'm James' ghost. James just died. He ate something that he shouldn't have and poisoned himself — he's dead."
DR: Is this Joy?
JM: Yeah, this was Joy. She was terrified. It took a bit of convincing actually, but I really worked on it. And then she ran downstairs and told my grandparents that I was dead and my gran ran upstairs screaming, "JAMES! JAMES!" When she saw that I pulled a prank, she proceeded to violently punish me. Which is fair enough.
DR: [laughs] You kind of maybe deserved it.
JM: Yeah, I totally did.
Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Do you believe in it?
JM: I want to believe. I try to believe. It's hard — I'm a lapsed believer. My granddad took me to the Glasgow City Chambers once — sort of like city hall. I was just standing in these massive, vast halls, and there was these huge portraits of old leaders of our nation — I don't know, probably not that important, but important enough to be in there — and I remember crossing over a roped line. And I touched [a painting] — and I've tried this many times since — and the whole room spun. I was very young, and maybe I had low blood sugar or something, but I touched the painting and it was so canvas-y and textured, it felt like it was a 3D thing. The whole room spun, and I thought the man was holding my hand. But it's never happened to me ever again, but I have tried to make it happen a few times. Like I said though, it was probably low blood sugar. I was a malnourished lad. We survived on sausage and fizzy drinks.
Have you ever been mistaken for a doppelgänger?
DR: I am almost always — and particularly more since I shaved my head — I am being even more than ever recognized as Elijah Wood. The other day someone leaned round to me at a restaurant and went, "It's not bad being a Green Street Hooligan, now is it?" And I was like, "Uh...I mean, no? I guess not?" And he said, "I liked you in that film." And I said, "I'm sorry man, that wasn't me." And then he still came up to me in the end. I also had someone who is producing a movie with Elijah Wood come up to me and be like, "HEY! Elijah!" And I was like, "Hey man, what are you doing?" And he was like "GUESS WHAT MOVIE I'M WORKING ON!" And I was like, "I don't know." And he says the name of the movie and I'm like, "I don't know what that is." And he's like, "You're Elijah, right?" And I'm like, "NO!" If you're producing a movie he's in, you should know what he looks like! And then I worked on a film recently and three days into production, a woman whom I had been working with for three days, said, "I just saw the trailer for the new movie you're in with Vin Diesel." And I said, "I don't know what that is." And she was like, "The Last Witch Hunter," which is another Elijah Wood movie. So me and Elijah Wood just need to do a film together where we play brothers; it needs to happen at some point. I might try and write to him. [laughs]
Have you ever told someone you cooked dinner but you really ordered takeout?
DR: I don't think any of my friends — no one would ever believe me if I said I cooked dinner.
JM: I think I did that. I think I invited my wife over for dinner when we were courting, and I got — it wasn't takeout, but it was like a tray of already prepared chicken, like 12 chicken thighs, enough for a family and it was just me and her — and I stuck that in the oven like, "Just something I knocked up." She was very impressed. She does know now that I'm a lying B.
Have you practiced pickup lines in the mirror?
JM: Only for comic effect, probably not.
DR: Yeah, I don't think so.
JM: If I had said yes, [Dan], you'd probably be like, "I have this great story!"
DR: [laughs] No, not pickup lines — I don't think I would ever practice that. I think I've practiced my lines in a mirror, which is probably something I shouldn't admit to either.
JM: Even when I was young and single, I never really practiced the dark art of pickup lines. But I remember when I was sort of trying to chat up some girl and I was really young and I was like, "How do you do chat-up lines? What do you do? They're rubbish, aren't they? None of them work. What's the best chat-up line you've ever heard?" And she said, "Want to find somewhere to go make out?" and I was like, Whoaaaaaa OK — that would never work for me.
Have you ever embarrassed yourself on set?
JM: Yeah! That's kind of what we get paid for. I was on a white horse, with purple leather chaps, and a yellow Stetson and a sitar, singing a Hindi ballad to Preeya Kalidas, so yeah, I've embarrassed myself. That was pretty much year one in my career, and it only got worse. So yeah, I've been there, done that.
DR: I'm struggling to think of specific instances, but there's something inherently embarrassing about acting. When you're on set like, crying or something, and you look up and the spots don't give a shit. But yeah, like James said, that's kind of what we get paid for.
Have you ever googled yourself?
JM: Yup. I think most people have these days. I've done it naked though.
JM: I'm only joking!
Have you ever prank-called a co-star?
JM: Uhhh. Yes. Who did I prank-call? I think guilty, but I can't... I know I've done it and I can't remember why and what the story was, but it was REALLY good. Trust me.
DR: You should've been there.
Have you ever laughed too hard while filming a scene and had to do various retakes?
DR: Oh yeah.
JM: Tons. Starter for 10 was one of the worst. I did a movie with James Corden and Dominic Cooper as well as various other people involved like Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Rebecca Hall. But me, Dominic, and James had a scene where we were playing air hockey in a local arcade and it was one of the worst instances in my entire career of not being able to keep my shit together to the point where the director was getting really, really angry with us. But that made it worse — it made it harder to keep it together. Also, James is very funny and Dominic is very funny and I laugh easily so it was a heady trio and a bad combination.
DR: The worst one was on the set of the second Potter film and me and Rupert could not keep our shit together and Ken Branagh was actually incredibly unprofessional and unhelpful in terms of egging us on. [laughs] I remember Chris Columbus, who directed the first two films, was a saint and had the patience of a saint with us — that was the only time I think he had to take me and Rupert off set and give us a talking-to. There was also another really bad time where we were doing auditions for the first Potter film, and a kid came in and was auditioning for Malfoy, and he had to say the line, "My name is Malfoy. Draco Malfoy." And he kept saying it with an exact James Bond intonation, and I kept laughing during his scene, his audition. I was like 11, and I turned around to the back of the room and I saw my mum just glaring daggers at me, like, If you laugh during this kid's audition one more time I'm going to personally kill you later.
JM: Did you laugh again?
DR: I did not.
You have to listen to moms.
Have you ever gone without a cell phone for a week?
DR: I mean, yeah, for the first 14 years of my life.
JM: I feel like I'm one of those people who's part of the last generation that got to be a full-blown adult and not have a mobile phone. It's so weird how different the world was to be an adult without a phone. It's crazy. And to be like, "Hey I'll see you Thursday at half past five at that place," and you would have to turn up. There was never anything of kind of going like, "Hey are you still up for tonight?" or "Yeah, um, this thing came up." You were just there, and if you weren't there, you kind of lost a friend. [laughs] There was no likes or dislikes or unfriending people; you just kind of showed up or called.
Have you ever stalked someone on Instagram and then accidentally double-tapped their picture?
DR: No, no.
JM: I've never actually been on Instagram.
JM: I know! We're both pretty —
DR: It's the one thing I do have.
JM: You've got it!
DR: I've got it, but I only have like 13 followers. Me and Erin [Darke] had American and English phones, but you can't send pictures to them, so that's why I got Instagram. And now I've said in interviews that I have very few followers and I'm not getting [a lot of requests], I think people have worked out what I am. And it's very close on Instagram, they set up so saying "no" to somebody is like, a fucking millimeter away from saying "yes" to someone, so you're constantly trying not to invite a load of people into your life.
JM: Excuse me — I keep trying every day!
DR: [laughs] But no, what started happening as well is, like, I got someone request to follow me the other day and it was the name of a producer that I had worked with on the first Harry Potter films. And I just wrote to my dad like, "Can you just email them and check that they're not trying to follow me?" I checked the account and there was no pictures on it, they just picked a name that I would know in the hope that I would say yes.
Have you ever sung karaoke?
DR: Oh, yeah!
What is your jam?
JM: "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow.
DR: I feel like the world knows my "Real Slim Shady" is something I do at karaoke now.
JM: You do that?
DR: Yeah, I do it and I did it and it was filmed and put on YouTube, so you can watch it now if you'd like. So that and anything completely overambitious like Queen, or stuff that you can't really sing, but just have a go at. Karaoke is about commitment more than anything else.
JM: You get that thing sometimes at karaoke where like, someone's really good, and it ruins the whole night. You want somebody to get up there and like, sing "Teddy Bears' Picnic" really badly, do you know what I mean?
DR: Yeah, the most amazing woman I ever saw at karaoke was the wife of boom operator on Horns, who came in and sang every single song — she'd do like, "Turn Around Bright Eyes" ["Total Eclipse of the Heart"] — in the style of metal. She transposes every song she sings and it's like the hardest-core, metal screaming, and I was like, "You are an amazing woman!" It's a pretty great way to go.
Have you ever accidentally mistaken another celebrity for someone else?
JM: The guy who is the creator — I think he's the creator — of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia... You know that show?
DR: Yeah, I know it.
JM: He's one of the three guys with the sort of long, dark hair. I think he might be the tallest of three gentlemen.
DR: Oh, OK, yeah.
JM: I've only seen the first couple of episodes, but I really like it (great work, guys!). I'm actually filming in Philadelphia at the moment — I'm going to try to get on the show. Can you imagine, "Hey! Hey I'm an actor, I've been in stuff. Want to have me on the show?"
DR: I'm pretty sure that's how Danny DeSito got involved in the second series. I bet he just wrote them as a massive fan.
JM: I wonder if they'd be like, "Hey I've been Professor X and stuff, and Frankenstein." They'd be like, "What? Who?" But anyway, that guy who created [It's Always Sunny], I thought he was a tall, grown-up Haley Joel Osment. He's not.
DR: [laughs] I can see it though, yeah!
JM: ’Cause I'm working with M. Night Shyamalan now — who, of course directed Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense — and I said, "Hey, he's created his own TV show!"
DR: So you still thought — [laughs]
JM: And Night was just like, "No, what? Weird Scottish man saying things."
Have you ever gone skinny-dipping?
JM: Yep, many a time.
Have you ever dressed up in disguise or undercover, but not necessarily with paparazzi?
JM: I have. I went to Comic-Con and Nick Hoult and I walked the halls dressed with these sort of postapocalyptic biker masks on. People thought they were really bad costumes because we didn't really do anything down here [neck down], we just had masks on, so people were like, "Psh, you could've tried harder, man." That was pretty cool.
DR: I did Spider-Man, probably the same year.
JM: You were Spider-Man in full suit?
JM: Oh wow!
DR: It was good; it was fun. Halloween is always great ’cause you can just wear weird, random stuff and you don't look weird and random.
JM: When I got my head shaved the first time, for X-Men [Days of Future Past], the directors and producers were like, "Well, we don't want people to know that you shaved your head, so we're thinking of getting you a wig made." And I was like, "For...what?" and they said, "Yeah, so when you go out and about on the streets, you have a wig on —
DR: Oh god.
JM: — and no one knows, so you can go and save the big surprise. And I'm like, "So I've got to wear — it would take a year to make this film — I've got to wear a wig for a year until the film comes out? No."
JM: Yeah, so that would have been really over the top in terms of that, but I didn't do it. But I kind of would have liked to have gotten them to make the wig just for the laugh and to see what my family and friends would say if I were like, "Yeah this is me now."