The Best Daniel Radcliffe Roles That Aren’t Harry Potter

Daniel Radcliffe in Imperium (2016)

Since ending his time as The Boy Who Lived, Daniel Radcliffe has prioritized accepting only roles that he finds interesting, exciting, or different. Known throughout Hollywood for making the biggest leap post-franchise career, Radcliffe's projects run the gamut of thrillers, independent films, romance, and even biopics. He seems determined not to let his time as Harry Potter pigeonhole him into a specific genre or role, and that drive led him to a career as one of the greatest actors of a generation.

In celebration of his latest career chapter, check out the best Daniel Radcliffe roles that have nothing to do with Harry Potter.

1. The Lost City (2022)

Daniel Radcliffe in The Lost City (2022)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

While Radcliffe's role in this comedy feels small, he makes a big splash as Abigail Fairfax. The film focuses on Sandra Bullock's character, a writer on tour promoting her new book, when the cover model, played by Channing Tatum, gets kidnapped. Light, fluffy, and funny, the film doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should audiences.

2. Horns (2013)

Daniel Radcliffe in Horns (2013)
Image Credit: Dimension Films.

A feature co-starring Ted Lasso's Juno Temple, Horns follows the story of Iggy, accused of killing his longtime girlfriend. The whole town believes he killed her, but he knows he would never do something like that. One morning, he wakes up with horns on his head and quickly realizes that the horns compel those around him to reveal their secrets. With his newfound powers, he sets out to hunt down the real killer and bring them to justice.

Dark, haunting, and mysterious, the film represents a total departure from those that made Daniel Radcliffe famous. The film marked a desire by Radcliffe to dig deeper into something darker and a little more twisted.

3. Jungle (2017)

Daniel Radcliffe in Jungle (2017)
Image Credit: Umbrella Entertainment.

Based on a true story, Jungle follows Yossi Ghinsberg, the son of Holocaust survivors, as he stretches his wings and explores new countries to the disappointment of his family. Having wound up in Bolivia, Yossi makes a friend who convinces him to explore off the beaten path to hunt for an Indian village. When they lose their guide, the journey quickly turns into their worst nightmare, and they're forced to learn how to survive on their own.

Radcliffe delivers an incredible performance in this film, often working in scenes entirely alone that allow him to embrace the complexity of human emotions.

4. Guns Akimbo (2019)

Guns Akimbo
Image Credit: Saban Films.

This dark movie leans into the comical and feels like a wild ride from start to finish. Radcliffe plays Miles, a game developer who loves to spend his spare time online trolling trolls, but his extracurricular activities quickly get him in hot water, and he finds himself forced to participate in a real-life death match. After an attack, Miles wakes up to find guns nailed to his hands and realizes he has no choice about his participation. While he runs away from many of the harrowing trials thrown his way, he quickly realizes that he can't run away from the Nix, his matched fighter.

5. Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Daniel Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings (2013)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

Loosely based on a true story, Kill Your Darlings features a cast of characters well-known to any literary-minded individual: Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg. Radcliffe plays Ginsberg as he arrives at Columbia University, determined to learn all he can. He meets Lucien Carr, played by Dane DeHaan, and the chemistry ignites. Both queer men are passionate about poetry and about changing the world, but Allen's shyness prevents him from taking the bolder steps that Lucien does. Lucien introduces Allen to his poet friends, including David, a hanger-on with no real place in the group.

After confronting Lucien, David, a spurned friend of the Libertine Circle, washes up stabbed to death in the Hudson River, and all signs point to Lucien as the murderer. Allen works to uncover the truth after Kerouac, Burroughs, and Carr's arrests. The actor gives a fine, mature performance, in one of the best Daniel Radcliffe roles.

6. Imperium (2016)

Imperium
Image Credit: Lionsgate Premiere.

A complete departure from his earlier work, Imperium stands as one of the most intense Daniel Radcliffe roles, one of the actor's most magnificent performances. Radcliffe plays Nate Foster, a young FBI agent asked to go undercover to infiltrate a white supremacist cell.

Often hard to look at but always incredibly acted, the film sees Radcliffe in a totally new light, offering audiences the chance to see that Radlicffe is more than equipped to take on a role that feels uncomfortable. The white supremacist cells in the movie reflect real cells, offering a more intense fear as viewers watch Nate take them on alone. Armed with all the knowledge he could find before going undercover, Nate embarks on an operation that just may cost him more than he can give.

7. Swiss Army Man (2016)

Daniel Radcliffe in Swiss Army Man (2016)
Image Credit: A24.

One of Radcliffe's stranger films, Swiss Army Man sees him play the role of a corpse. Paul Dano stars alongside him as a man stranded on a deserted island. Right as he decides to end his own life, he gets a glimpse of a man on the beach and rushes to him, only to find the man dead. While Radcliffe as a corpse might sound boring, the movie manages to check the boxes of wildly interesting and hilarious, with the dead man thoroughly gassy and unafraid to speak his mind.

8. What If (2013)

Daniel Radcliffe in What If (2013)
Image Credit: Entertainment One.

The first of all the contemporary Daniel Radcliffe roles he played in his career, the character Wallace in What If, is endlessly endearing across from Zoe Kazan's Chantry, who meet at a party in one of the most adorable meet-cute ways – arranging magnetic words into strange phrases. Wallace recently gave up on the idea of love, but when he meets Chantry, he realizes there may be someone out there for him after all. Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend.

9. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)

Daniel Radcliffe in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)
Image Credit: The Roku Channel.

It couldn't be a movie about Weird Al Yankovic without being exaggerated and over-the-top. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story features Radcliffe in the lead. Lighthearted, funny, and unafraid to take risks, the movie may seem like an odd one for Radcliffe to take on, but he fits wonderfully into the world of Al as he takes on the story of his life, upbringing, and career.

10. A Young Doctor's Notebook (2012-2013)

Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook & Other Stories (2012)
Image Credit: Big Talk Productions.

Jon Hamm stars alongside Radcliffe in the two-season mini-series. The comedy show features Hamm as a physician working in a small town in Russia on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Hamm plays the older version of the doctor, seventeen years in the future, as he watches his younger self, Radcliffe, experience the difficulties of beginning his practice. The surprising duo delivers hilarious moments that fans still talk about.

11. Miracle Workers (2019-2023)

Daniel Radcliffe in Miracle Workers (2019)
Image Credit: Allagash Industries.

Each season of Miracle Workers rolls a new storyline out (along with new Daniel Radcliffe roles), and each storyline hilariously follows Radcliffe, Steve Buscemi, and an assortment of other hilarious actors. The show goes from angels and the complex questions of the soul to post-apocalyptic wastelands, every time offering the audience something new and completely unexpected to laugh at. Radcliffe's performance is unlike any other audiences have seen, which makes it instantly endearing.

12. Escape From Pretoria (2020)

Daniel Radcliffe in Escape from Pretoria (2020)
Image Credit: Signature Entertainment.

Based on a true story, Radcliffe shines in this role as the anti-apartheid activist Tim Jenkin. Sentenced to twelve years in prison for embarking on covert operations for Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. With the help of his fellow inmates, Tim attempts to break out of the prison and send a message to the apartheid regime of the nation. The film looks unflinchingly at the darkness of apartheid while offering an intense experience that leaves audiences on the edge of their seat.

13. The Woman In Black (2012)

Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black (2012)
Image Credit: CBS Films.

Daniel Radcliffe read The Woman In Black script on his last day of filming for Harry Potter, ready to take on a new role that felt entirely different. The Victorian-era film follows Arthur Kipss, a lawyer tasked with closing out the estate of a dead widow in a sleepy town outside of London. Upon his arrival, Arthur finds that more happens in this town than the town wants to discuss, and those goings-on may just lead to his doom. Full of jump scares and spooky moments, this film keeps audiences on edge for the entire run.

14. Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Daniel Radcliffe in Victor Frankenstein (2015)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Radcliffe plays the Igor to James McAvoy's Frankenstein in this interesting take on the centuries-old story. Victor Frankenstein meets Igor Straussman as he hunts for animal body parts at a London circus. The two become fast friends but also become collaborators on incredible scientific discoveries and experiments. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Frankenstein will need Igor's help to stay grounded and avoid going too far into the game of life and death.

15. Beast of Burden (2018)

Daniel Radcliffe in Beast of Burden.
Image Credit: Momentum Pictures.

Radcliffe enjoys working on cerebral, independent films, and Beast of Burden checks those boxes. Radcliffe takes on a film that focuses almost entirely on him as he plays Sean Haggerty, a pilot turned drug smuggler making his very last drop in an effort to save his wife, who ails from ovarian cancer. Filmed almost entirely in the cockpit of his plane, the film moves slowly but gives Radcliffe a chance to shine and push himself.

Author: Savannah Smoot

Title: Entertainment Writer

Expertise: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Lord of the Rings

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Experience: Savannah Smith is a freelance writer out of Atlanta with publications all across the internet, including Rolling Stone. She began working in the field of e-commerce in 2021. From there, her interests have expanded and she's written personal essays and entertainment pieces for large and small publications. Savannah is a total geek for any and everything Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is always happy to geek out with you about the age-old debate – Angel? Or Spike? (Angel, obvs.)