Daniel Radcliffe to Comic-Con fans: ‘I apologize for my disappointing non-presence’

July 27, 2010 | 12:48 a.m.

EXCLUSIVE

Dan Radcliffe in Orlando

Daniel Radcliffe says he’s sorry he missed out on Comic-Con International, where hundreds of “Harry Potter” fans camped out overnight and harbored hopes that the British star would be a magical surprise guest.

“I apologize to all the wishful thinkers for my disappointing non-presence,” Radcliffe said Monday by phone from London.

The actor, who has finished some post-production voice work on the last “Potter” film, says he is still grappling a bit with the concept that he will never wear the robes of Hogwarts on screen again. He still cares deeply about “Potter” fans, though — he sounded genuinely distressed to hear for the first time about the wildfire rumors that led fans to believe he would be at the San Diego pop-culture expo that wrapped up on Sunday.

“Really? Oh, God, I had no idea. I suppose it’s like when I’m at Reading Festival and I hear that suddenly some amazing band is going to play a surprise gig and then it turns out to be total fiction.”

Warner Bros. had clearly stated that no cast members would be present for the Saturday panel promoting “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which will hit theaters in a two-film tale, with part one arriving Nov. 19 and part two on July 15. The tandem films will bring to a close a franchise that has collected $5.3 billion in worldwide box office since 2001.

Fans, though, assumed it was all a smoke screen — they know that this is the last Comic-Con before the final “Potter” theatrical release and there was intense speculation that Radcliffe and costars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint would attend the convention for the first time. Radcliffe, though, was in Russia celebrating his 21st birthday, which was Friday.

“It was fantastic. I was in St. Petersburg for my birthday, which is probably the most beautiful, the most incredible, wonderful place I’ve ever been in my life. It really is absolutely amazing. I went with two friends and it was brilliant.”

There was one “Deathly Hallows” cast member at Comic-Con; Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy, appeared and I interviewed him on stage in front of an audience of 6,500, which cheered the actor as well as the footage from “Deathly Hallows” that was shown for the first time anywhere. I mentioned to Radcliffe that his on-screen rival told the crowd that the film’s title star cried like a little girl on the final day of shooting.

“You know what, I’d love to libel him and call it a lie, but, darn, he’s absolutely right. We all three of us — me, Rupert and Emma — we just wept. And I’ve never seen Rupert Grint cry. That was really weird.”

Radcliffe has just been announced as the star of “The Woman in Black,” the 2011 Hammer Films adaptation of the Susan Hill novel. He is also attached to a new version of “All Quiet on the Western Front” due in 2012. Radcliffe also said something  in passing that, for the Muggle nation, will stir hopes that just maybe Radcliffe will make it to next year’s San Diego convention. “I’ve never done the Comic-Con thing,” Radcliffe said, “and I really, really want to experience that.”

– Geoff Boucher

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