Daniel Radcliffe stars in the new romantic comedy What If, opposite Zoe Kazan, as Wallace, his first non-fantasy, non-period character.

Daniel Radcliffe Stars In What If

Over the years, Radcliffe has played both fictional characters, such as the most famous boy wizard (Harry Potter series) and real people, like beat poet Allen Ginsberg (Kill Your Darlings). What If, however, may have presented him with his most challenging role yet: that of a normal, contemporary man. In an exclusive chat with uInterview, Radcliffe revealed that, despite his accomplishments, he worried about playing a character who so closely resembled himself.

“I think I’ve always been nervous about playing a character that was similar to me, because I thought, ‘Well, that’s not really acting.’ But being yourself on camera is, actually – well, there’s an act to that,” Radcliffe told uInterview at a fan screening of What If.

Daniel Radcliffe On Doing Comedy In What If

The romantic comedy, from director Michael Dowse, also required Radcliffe to do something he has rarely before done onscreen: comedy. While Radcliffe has done comedy on stage (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), a majority of his onscreen roles have been dramatic. The actor told uInterview that, when he read Elan Mastai’s What If script, he jumped at the chance to do a comedic film.

“On stage there’s a precision you can have about timing because it’s all in your hands. And on film, that’s all taken away. That’s in the hands of an editor and director. So, part of doing comedy for me was learning to just trust the director and not second guess myself and say whatever was coming into my head, and putting faith into the director that he would cut out all the unfunny bits and just leave me looking great,” Radcliffe said.

What If also stars Adam Driver, Megan Park and Mackenzie Davis, and opens in limited release Friday, Aug. 8.