Sep. 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM ET
For scores of movie fans, Daniel Radcliffe will always be Harry Potter. But while the 24-year-old actor has nothing but good memories of his years as the boy wizard, his latest role as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in "Kill Your Darlings" places him in a universe far, far away from Hogwarts.
For one thing, Ginsberg (author of "Howl" and other works) was gay, and at one point in the film, there is a love scene. Radcliffe says he's "not surprised" by the attention that one element of the film is getting. "I would be a very stupid person if I didn't expect some reaction to that," he told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie Monday. "I don't really mind what reasons people go in to see the film, if they're slightly salacious or whatever. Ultimately, they're going to go in and see a really compelling drama."
But Radcliffe has been pushing the envelope for a while in his post-"Potter" years; he appeared on Broadway in "Equus" from 2008-09 in a role that required him to appear naked at times. That project came up later when he joined TODAY's Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford and said there was something surprising about all the headlines being made out of "Darlings": "Honestly, I'm getting more shocked response from doing a nude scene with a guy than I did with a horse (on Broadway) in 'Equus.'"
But whoever he's playing, Radcliffe draws a crowd — sometimes, a frighteningly-enthusiastic crowd: Fans broke through the barricades upon seeing him on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival early in September, and he had to be escorted away by police and bodyguards.
But Radcliffe takes it all in stride, noting that he'd never gone to Venice to promote any of the "Harry Potter" films, so "it was like 10 years of pent-up excitement ... passionate people," he said. "There was a lot of crying."
"Kill Your Darlings" opens in theaters on Oct. 16.