Comic-Con 2014: Daniel Radcliffe makes his Hall H debut with ‘Horns’

July 25, 2014 | 8:04 p.m.
Director Alexandre Aja, actor Daniel Radcliffe and writer Joe Hill attend Comic-Con International 2014 at San Diego Convention Center on July 25, 2014 in San Diego, Calif. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Director Alexandre Aja, actor Daniel Radcliffe and writer Joe Hill attend Comic-Con International 2014 at San Diego Convention Center on July 25, 2014 in San Diego, Calif. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Grab almost any Comic-Con International attendee and ask for his or her top pop-culture obsessions and the “Harry Potter” franchise is likely to rank near the top.

Yet, surprisingly, the star of the “Potter” films, Daniel Radcliffe, never actually attended the convention until this year.

Radcliffe’s inaugural Comic-Con appearance — which served to promote his upcoming horror dramedy “Horns,” which opens Oct. 31— kicked off with a mass Hall H rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the actor, who turned 25 on Wednesday. (How old does that make you feel?)

“Horns,” which is adapted by director Alexandre Aja from a novel by Joe Hill (both of whom were also on hand), recounts the dark tale of a man named Ig (Radcliffe) who is falsely accused of killing his girlfriend and starts to grow a set of horns that seem to have a mysterious disinhibiting effect on those around him.

Comic-Con 2014: Full coverage | Scene photos | Cosplay photos

“He’s somebody who’s going through an incredibly torrid time in his life,” Radcliffe said. “He’s a true antihero.”

For Radcliffe, such edgy material (Hill called the film a “tragi-come-horr-edy”) represents his latest step to move out of the shadow of the “Potter” franchise. “If you take those opportunities when they’re given to you and try to capitalize them, then hopefully word gets out that you’re not content to rest on your laurels,” Radcliffe told the crowd, adding, “Towards the end of ‘Potter,’ I did start to get worried [when] journalists started asking, ‘Do you think your best years are behind you?’ — at 20. That does get in your head a bit.”

Making “Horns” stretched Radcliffe in one other way: The actor had to drive a vintage AMC Gremlin during filming despite that fact that he doesn’t have a driver’s license.

In one particular scene, he recounted, he actually needed to drive with a 6-foot python wrapped around his neck. Before the shot began, he told the prop guy, “Just so you know, Cory, I can’t drive.”

“It’s OK,” the prop guy answered. “I’ve never handled a snake before.”

—Josh Rottenberg | @LATHeroComplex

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