Daniel Radcliffe Answers Sex Symbol Question, Defends Emma Watson and Becomes a Feminist Hero

Actor says the "Male population has had no problem sexualizing" his Harry Potter co-star

By Zach Johnson Oct 27, 2014 11:35 AMTags

Ten points for Gryffindor!

In a video interview published Oct. 24, Daniel Radcliffe was asked a rather offensive question about his transition from child star to leading man. Rather than reply in kind, however, the 25-year-old Horns star saw the moment as an opportunity to discuss how his female peers often have the opposite experience.

"You're kind of becoming a sex symbol, which, for some of your fans, is kind of weird because we've seen you growing up on screen and now here you are," an interviewer told actor, who starred in eight Harry Potter films from 2001 to 2011. An unnerved Radcliffe replied, "Around the time of What If, the rom-com coming out, a lot of people were saying, 'You're really an unconventional romantic lead.' And so eventually I got bored of hearing that and I kind of picked someone up on it so I was like, 'What about me is unconventional, exactly? Like, tell me.' And she said, 'Well, I think it's probably the fact that, you know, we associated you with playing Harry, the young boy wizard.' My immediate response was, 'Well, the male population has had no problem sexualizing Emma Watson immediately.'"

Watson visited the U.N. in September to launch her #HeForShe campaign. "Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too," the actress, 24, said. At the time, Watson also said she had been "sexualized by certain elements of the press" at the age of 14.

In August, Radcliffe was asked whether he looks for scripts with well-rounded casts. "Well, on more than one film I've persuaded people to build up the female roles," he told Style magazine. "There are certainly more female writers now than there were but the fact remains, most female parts are written by men. At least there are so many more female directors, producers and directors of photography now. I worked with an amazing DOP last year, Reed Morano, who did Kill Your Darlings, and what she did for that film was amazing. I think—I hope—the film industry is becoming a lot more balanced."

He added, "I think I'm a feminist, just by the virtue of the fact that I believe in equal rights for everyone."