Daniel Radcliffe: I learnt my American accent from Friends and Harry Potter

The star of Horns talks about putting on voices and swearing in front of children

“One of the most awkward things I’ve ever had to do was swear horribly in front of a young child.”


No, Daniel Radcliffe has not gone off the rails. In his new movie Horns he plays a young man who grows a pair of devilish bony protuberances that force people to expose their darkest inclinations. Speaking at the MCM Comic Con in London, he revealed that sometimes involves swear words and children.

“That whole sequence is brilliant, the idea of what the world would become if everyone was completely unfiltered all the time. And the answer is that the world would be a terrible place,” he laughed awkwardly. “It’s actually one of the hardest things I’ve ever filmed. There’s a young girl, a four-year-old child, and in the scene people are swearing and just being vile to each other in a very hilarious way. But it’s a four-year-old kid! They have no idea what is going on. As far as they’re concerned they hear the word ‘Action’ and everyone in the world becomes a terrible person.”

Indeed, you might struggle to recognise Radcliffe in the role, and not just because of the potty mouth or pointy horns. Adapted from an American novel by Joe Hill, it also sees the English actor adopting a US accent. “I’ve always enjoyed doing accents, I’ve done it before in Kill Your Darlings and on stage,” he explained, before revealing some surprising inspirations. “A lot of my American accent was learned by osmosis. We are suffused by American TV shows, so it was watching Friends and shows like that as a kid.”

Oddly for such a quintessentially British franchise, Radcliffe also credits Harry Potter for helping him cross the Atlantic. “I’ve actually been told by several people that my American accent sounds similar to Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter movies.”

Indeed, the former Boy Wizard recalled another voice from the past that still speaks to him. Asked what his favourite creature was from the novels, Radcliffe recalled: “not that I would like to have this as a pet, but my memories prior to making the Harry Potter films is that when my dad read it to me he did a terrifying voice of the Basilisk.”

Here’s hoping Mr Radcliffe didn’t swear.


Horns is released in UK cinemas Wednesday 29th October