Call me a pessimist, but I doubt that Daniel Radcliffe will ever free himself from the shadow of Harry Potter. He’s yet to have a role bigger than that of the bespectacled teen wizard (and it’s doubtful that he’ll ever find one), but he’s also never had a role that proves his wizarding success was due to his acting ability and not just his resemblance to the kid on the “Harry Potter” book covers.
Kill Your Darlings might be a revelation, but it might also be one more step in Radcliffe’s march from under the towering presence of so much whimsical witchcraft and wizardry. In the film’s debut poster (which you can see below), it’s clear we’re supposed to be seeing an older, wizened man, still wearing the same glasses (Radcliffe is playing the bespectacled Allen Ginsberg, so it’s not like he could just swap them out for contacts) but hardened by the passage of time.
Yet all I can see when I look at the poster is Radcliffe in that eerie old-age-makeup from the end of the last Potter movie.
Hopefully, for Radcliffe’s sake and for the filmgoing public’s, Kill Your Darlings will finally shake off our lingering memories of butterbeer and blast-ended skrewts. James Franco gave his own career a boost by playing Ginsberg (in 2010’s Howl), so perhaps Radcliffe can do the same. And the rest of the cast certainly seems up to the challenge, as the other Beat poets converge around the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Hopefully we can all get through it without humming the Harry Potter theme even once.
Kill Your Darlings premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival this September, with a wide release on October 18, 2013.