Liane Hansen, Weekend Edition Host
It took 27 years to get the opportunity to interview Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths. I know, how can that be. Daniel is only 19. Here's the story.
Equus stars Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths
In 1981, I was a freelance theater reporter in NY for NPR. I became friends with Sam Rudy, who was beginning his career as a theater publicist. I can't even begin to enumerate the number of less than stellar productions we saw. Once, after a particularly awful first act of a way off Broadway show, I got up to leave during intermission. He was in the lobby and asked if I was going home. I answered honestly, and he confessed that he would leave if he could.
We became close friends. I am now the host of a national radio show. He now has a number of successful Broadway shows to his credit. During one of my visits to NY at the beginning of this year, he told me that he would be handling Equus. I knew it would be THE theater story during the new season. So, I asked him if I could do the interview with Daniel and Richard and he said I was at the top of his list.
Although Daniel is the object of everyone's curiousity, I was more interested in Richard. He is one of the great British actors and I knew a lot about him because of the years I spent in London working for a West End producer.
I saw Equus a little over a week before I was scheduled to talk to the stars. Sam took me backstage to meet Richard, and I turned to jelly in his presence. He knew the producer I had worked for, and we began to talk about London theater, radio, and all the nuances in the play. There is a scene where his character pulls out a blue pack of Dunhill light cigarettes. I smoked those when I lived in London (don't worry I've quit smoking). He told me that he actually puts regular strength cigarettes in the box. Dunhill regulars are in a red box. He said the set designer, John Napier, does not want the color red anywhere on the set because it is the color of blood. And given the play is about a boy who blinds horses, Napier wanted the blood only to exist in the imagination of the audience.
Daniel Radcliffe in Equus
The rapport we established in his dressing room translated into a very comfortable and lively interview, even though I was in Washington and he was in NY. The bonus is that Daniel Radcliffe was comfortable, too. The end result is our listeners will be able to gain some insight into the play as well as hear these two fine actors talk about how they do what they do so well.
How did you like the interview?