In 2001, moviegoers across the world were introduced to Daniel Radcliffe, the bespectacled British child actor who would bring The Boy Who Lived to life on the big screen in the "Harry Potter" film franchise. Now, almost ten years later, Radcliffe is several leaps and bounds away from his first year at Hogwarts. In fact, his magic-wielding days are almost behind him all together as filming has wrapped on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the final installment in the epic fantasy series.
But even as the days of Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, trips to Hogsmeade and Quidditch matches come to a close for Radcliffe, the young actor has his eye towards the future with a very big announcement — he's set to star in "All Quiet on the Western Front," a brand new adaptation of the classic World War I drama about youthful German soldier Paul Baumer's struggle to survive in the trenches of France amidst endless blood-soaked battles. Radcliffe will film "All Quiet" in the Spring of 2012 after completing his work on Broadway in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
Frankly, I think it's a brilliant career move for Radcliffe. Having served as the poster boy for the world's most instantly recognizable fantasy franchise for the majority of his life, the last thing Radcliffe needs is to sign onto another fantasy or similar franchise role — in other words, don't expect to see him saddle up as Bilbo Baggins for "The Hobbit," despite rumors suggesting his involvement.
At the same time, Radcliffe is wise to keep himself attached to projects that are known quantities. "All Quiet" was a wonderfully written and critically acclaimed novel that's already inspired one Oscar-winning movie, albeit one that was released in 1930. More than 80 years will have elapsed since the release of the original when the new "All Quiet" hits theaters — I think that's a fairly reasonable time table when it comes to Hollywood churning out a remake — but it still has more name recognition than a project that comes completely out of thin air. Originality is fantastic, but for a first major career move outside of the "Harry Potter" series, it makes a lot of sense for Radcliffe to go with something that's at least somewhat known already.
Radcliffe has a real shot here to continue doing the independent, dramatic work that he's already latched onto between his "Harry Potter" films, but in a more mainstream way. I'm sure you've heard the rave reviews surrounding his performance in stage plays like "Equus," and now this is a great opportunity for the young actor to show off those dramatic chops in his first major post-"Harry Potter" role.
"All Quiet," to me, is a brilliant step in a new direction for Radcliffe — a step that could potentially wipe his slate clean as he moves towards solidifying himself as an acting professional independent of the "Harry Potter" franchise.
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