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Naked ambition overtakes Potter February 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies.

He started his career playing the shy bespectacled schoolboy wizard sent away at a tender age to learn his trade at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

But now fans of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe have the chance to see him naked in publicity shots to promote his West End debut in Equus. Instead of the traditional school uniform, familiar to millions of fans world-wide, many still anxiously awaiting the next Harry Potter film, Radcliffe, now 17, has taken a distinctly minimalist approach.

In one picture he appears with actress Joanna Christie who plays his girlfriend in the play. In another Radcliffe poses alongside a white horse. The horse, called Capote, also has his own claim to fame, he previously starred in a Guinness advert. However, for reasons best left to the imagination, in the play the horse will be played by actor and dancer Will Kemp.

Radcliffe’s change of image is hardly surprising, and in this instance is strictly necessary for the plot, considering the theme of Peter Schaffer’s controversial play centres round a stable-hand who has an erotic fixation with horses.

David Pugh, the show’s producer, said: “There was no hesitancy about taking off his clothes. He has a confidence in his own appearance. With the performances that I’ve witnessed, when that boy takes his shirt off, Harry Potter has flown out of Hogwarts for good.”

Pugh said that Thea Sharrock, the play’s female director, had been impressed by Radcliffe’s physique when he stripped off. “We had never seen him with clothes off before. We all went, ‘Wow’. Thea went, ‘Oh my God.’ For her, there was a certain relief. When we did the audition we never thought to say, ‘Would you go naked for us?’ We were so overwhelmed with his talent that we set that aside,” he said.

Radcliffe has already begun moving on from his wizard persona. He made a cameo appearance in an episode of Extras, the star-studded Ricky Gervais comedy hit which takes the behind-the-scenes show business hierarchy and turns it on his head with stars such as David Bowie and Germaine Greer at the bottom and extras ruling the roost.

In the episode Radcliffe lampoons his Harry Potter character and tries to shed his good-boy image by playing a hormonally-challenged teenager who smokes and tries to snog women twice his age while wearing a scout uniform.

Harry Potter fans who buy tickets for Equus will also have the chance to see another Potter character on stage. Richard Griffiths who plays the psychiatrist treating Radcliffe’s character was odious Uncle Vernon.

Equus opens at the Gielgud Theatre on 27 February.

Daniel Radcliffe is not the only child star of the Harry Potter films to move onto pastures new. Rupert Grint, better known as Ron Weasley, Harry’s sidekick, has starred in the dramatic comedy Driving Lessons.

In his first adult film, alongside Julie Walters, he plays Ben, a 17-year-old struggling to break away from his overpowering mother. Rupert has said he is keen to pursue a full-time acting career when the Harry Potter series of movies concludes.

However he has said he is less keen than Daniel to work on stage, adding he would prefer to stick with the big screen if possible, because that is where is acting experience lies.

Emma Watson who plays Hermione has yet to move beyond the Harry Potter stable, although she has been touted to play shark survivor Bethany Hamilton in a Hollywood role. At 15, Emma became the youngest person to appear on the cover of Teen Vogue. She also appeared in The Queen’s Handbag, a special mini-Potter episode to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday.

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