Iconic roles in either film or television can be both a blessing and a curse for those few actors fortunate enough to secure them. Some actors never manage to elevate their recognizability beyond the role that made them a star, leaving them stranded in the much beloved wake of their greatest achievements. Others however, are able to transform their already massive profile into new properties, ensuring that their fame is constantly building and transitioning. Daniel Radcliffe is an actor who has beaten the odds on more than one remarkable occasion, making sure that a role as Harry Potter didn’t prevent him from pushing himself in new directions – and now, taking a role as far removed from his wizarding days at Hogwarts as humanly possible.
Having already taken on such out there roles as legendary 60’s beat poet Allan Ginsberg, a man with horns growing from his head and a farting corpse, Radcliffe is staying true to form by once again pushing the parameters of his acting abilities. The trailer for his latest effort, Imperium, has just arrived. And based on what’s depicted in the above sample, fans of Radcliffe can expect to see him taking on what could very well be his most chilling subject matter yet.
Imperium tells the story of Nate Foster (Radcliffe), a young FBI agent who goes undercover in order to infiltrate the activities of a group of Neo-Nazis planning a terrorist attack. When Foster begins to find that maintaining the balance between his role as an undercover agent and a convincing member of the right-wing extremist group is becoming increasingly difficult, things start to move out of his control. The film is reportedly based on true events and also stars Toni Collette (The Boxtrolls, Hector and the Search For Happiness), Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones), Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel) and Sam Trammell (True Blood) in the feature film debut of director Daniel Ragussis.
With his shaved scalp and air of a character in over their head, Radcliffe’s turn in Imperium looks to be a disturbing and no doubt suspenseful outing. What’s more, the film is arriving at a time when race relations, terrorism, and the larger conversation surrounding them is at a fever pitch, not just in America but around the world. This inherent realism will likely provide the film with a close-to-home edge that other Neo-Nazi films like American History X or Romper Stomper simply didn’t have.
Daniel Radcliffe’s willingness to try new avenues as an actor have produced a variety of results – none of which have matched the commercial success of Harry Potter. However, his keen sense for different, often difficult roles is precisely the sort of curious instinct that can eventually lead to big time awards recognition. With its highly tense dramatic appeal, Imperium might just be the type of film that takes Daniel Radcliffe to that next level as a serious actor.
Imperium will be released in theaters and on demand August 19, 2016.