Things are pretty hard for Miles, the main character of Guns Akimbo, after the leader of an underground deathmatch goes and bolts a gun to each of his hands, forcing him to compete in his deadly fight club. That meant that things were also hard for Daniel Radcliffe, who stars as Miles in the recently released film, because the prop guns were attached to his hands during filming — although, thankfully, they didn't actually impale the former Harry Potter star with firearms.
"They were sort of strapped to my forearms and wrists, but I could get my hands and fingers out of the actual guns, so I could still use them if I needed them," Radcliffe tells SYFY WIRE. "I could still take out my phone and send a text in between takes if I was quick enough. But I did also get quite good with the guns, and I'm quite proud of how good I had gotten with them."
Guns Akimbo — which you may know from an instantly memeable set picture of a deranged-looking Radcliffe in a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers wielding two handguns — is a gonzo shoot-'em-up. Radcliffe says it was "a very strange experience" to wander Auckland and Munich, where the film was shot, while dual-wielding.
"I ended up doing what the character does in the film, which is sort of wrap the guns in the dressing gown, so that people wouldn't see the guns," he explains, adding that his preoccupation on his weaponry helped with other aspects of the costume. "At that point, because you're wearing guns on your hands, you sort of more or less forget that you're also in just a bathrobe and slippers and boxers."
The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, was written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, a former VFX artist who's worked on War of the Planet of the Apes, among others, and also got himself into trouble recently on Twitter. It's a far cry from Hogwarts, but very much in line with the indie, offbeat, and, frankly, weird projects the 30-year-old actor has been starring in recently, like Swiss Army Man and Miracle Workers. Radcliffe says he found his own answer to the question "How does it feel to have peaked when you're 21" a long time ago.
"Well, well, what are they really asking?" Radcliffe explains. "They're not saying, 'You've done the best acting you'll ever do.' They're saying, 'You've been in the most successful thing you'll ever be in.' And that is almost undoubtedly true."
That realization has been freeing, allowing Radcliffe to "do the stuff that makes you happy and fulfills you and makes you grow and get better" without worry.
Unlike Miles, who gets guns bolted to his hands because he went online to troll the people running the underground death match ring, Radcliffe isn't as concerned with social media (so, no need for him to browse Twitter using the barrel of his prop guns during lunch breaks). Radcliffe says his girlfriend is on social media, and he'll check it out occasionally — mostly to follow comedians like Rob Delaney or as his "way of following all the Deadspin writers, now that Deadspin doesn't exist anymore."
One thing he's really glad about is that social media wasn't nearly as much of a thing during his time at Hogwarts.
"I look at the Stranger Things kids, and I think how crazy that must be," he says. "But then I also think that they have always had social media accounts as part of the world that they've lived in, so it would probably be super-weird for them to not have it. I don't know."
Just be careful who you troll, lest you get permanent gun-gloves.
Guns Akimbo is now in theaters.
Reporting by Jordan Zakarin.