Daniel Radcliffe gets his beardy geek on in controversial Grand Theft Auto drama

The Harry Potter actor says gaming can go "beyond what film can do" in the first trailer for BBC2's new drama The Gamechangers

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Harry Potter to Grand Theft Auto is quite the jump, but it’s all part of the magic of Daniel Radcliffe, who stars in new BBC2 drama The Gamechangers.

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Radcliffe plays Sam Houser, the man behind the Grand Theft Auto, the fastest-selling video game of all time.

The BBC drama focuses on the legal battle he fought with US lawyer Jack Thompson (Bill Paxton) over how the game’s ‘violent’ content was influencing gamers.

The first trailer for the one-off drama, set to air on Tuesday 15th September at 9pm, see a bearded Radcliffe playing the Rockstar Games co-founder on the cusp of an entertainment revolution. “This is beyond what film can do,” he says.

The 90-minute drama has had litigation problems of its own: Rockstar Games filed a suit against the BBC in May. “Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project,” a statement from the company said. “Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games.”

Programme information from the BBC explained that “this drama is for an adult audience and has not been authorised by the producers of Grand Theft Auto. Rather, it is based on court documents and interviews with many of those involved in the real events behind this compelling story.”

Radcliffe said in July’s San Diego Comic Con that he “grew up playing” GTA, and couldn’t understand the assumption that a violent game made people violent.

“It’s too simplistic,” he said. “So many have played those games that have never gone on to kill somebody.”

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He added that he was pretty confused about the lawsuit from Rockstar Games. “I don’t know what’s going on in their minds about suing us,” he said, “It’s not a biased film but like from the perspective as people who really have loved the games.”