Column: Let the boy wizard grow up

Column: Let the boy wizard grow up

Daniel Radcliffe, known to most as the kid who plays “Harry Potter” in the movie series, has reached a turning point in his life.

“Daniel does not want to step away from Harry Potter, but he does want to show he is a rounded actor capable of very different and diverse roles,” said his spokesperson, Vanessa Davies, according to the British entertainment website, ThisIsLondon.co.uk.

Next month Radcliffe, 17, is making a departure from his Hogwarts days and starring in a London revival of Peter Shaffer’s controversial play “Equus.” Like so many child-stars-turned-serious-actors before him, Radcliffe hopes to show people a side of himself they’ve never seen before. And after this, there won’t be much left to show. In one “lengthy” scene with a female co-star, Radcliffe will be completely naked.

This news was actually announced last July. However, the story of “Harry Potter and the Full Frontal Nudity” (The Boston Herald’s Jan. 31 headline) has been rushing across the pond these past few weeks because of the play’s recently released promotional posters.

In some of the photos, Radcliffe is shown in just jeans, and in others he appears to be naked. These photos are from the waist up, but let’s just say viewers are only a few inches from a glimpse of Harry Potter’s “magic wand.” In one of the shots with jeans, Radcliffe sits on a barn floor gazing lustfully up at a blonde girl wearing only a pair of black underwear. Google the pictures. Come on, you know you want to.

Response to these photos has been varied, but most reactions come from “disappointed” and “concerned” parents, as reported by ThisIsLondon. These parents claim their young children look at Radcliffe as a role model, and they plan to “avoid the future movies he makes.”

On The London Daily Mail’s website, the controversy has turned into a transatlantic dispute. In the comments section for a story about Radcliffe’s venture, “Ronski” from St. Petersburg, U.S., wrote, “Sometimes, I really don’t know what to think about you Englishmen and your total moral decay. Sad.”

“Christine” replied, “Sometimes, I really don’t know what to think about you Americans and your totally uptight and moralistic cultural ignorance. No wonder this country is held in such low esteem by the rest of the world.”

Wait a second. I thought the British were the uptight ones. What about those Buckingham Palace guards? They aren’t even allowed to move, let alone remove any clothing! They’re still wearing white wigs and tights in the House of Lords, and we’re uptight? Hey, our president wears jeans and cowboy hats. We’re laid back.

Then again, “Christine” may have a point. Countless Americans are up in arms about a 17-year-old actor playing the leading role in a classic Tony Award-winning play, and why? Because the production isn’t appropriate for their 9-year-olds.

OK, so how about this? Don’t take your children to see the play. In the acting world, Radcliffe is very close to being an adult. He’s an actor, and if he wants to make it in the industry, he needs to prove he’s versatile.

Admittedly, Radcliffe’s actions in the play aren’t something children should emulate, but not every movie or theatre production can be full of good role models. It’s up to parents to teach their children moral values – it’s not up to Harry Potter. Also, “Equus” is not obscenity or porn.

“Equus” is about a young man named Alan Strang (played by Radcliffe) who is institutionalized for blinding six horses with a metal spike and the psychiatrist who attempts to unearth the reasoning behind his crime. A theatre critic for the Chicago Sun-Times called it an “intoxicating mixture of sex, religion, psychiatry and social class” in October 2004. Of course, that was before everyone’s favorite boy wizard was playing the lead role.

Another critic for The Windy City Times wrote on Oct. 13, 2004, “This is a play and a production

Leave a Reply