Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has signed on to star in the action comedy Guns Akimbo, as producers have started to pitch the film project to international buyers at the Cannes Film Festival. Even before he concluded his eight-film run as the titular character with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Radcliffe showed a willingness to take creative risks, beginning with his revealing role in the revival of Equus on Broadway, after he debuted the role on London's West End in 2007.
Since Harry Potter, Radcliffe has mainly ventured into the independent film world, with only occasional turns in commercial productions like 2016's Now You See Me 2. Radcliffe has now joined yet another independent production with Guns Akimbo, which is written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Jason Lei Howden.
According to THR, the film (currently in pre-production) is an "adrenaline fueled balls-to-the-wall original action comedy reminiscent in tone to films such as Kick-Ass or Deadpool." Guns Akimbo is being produced by Altitude Films and Occupant Entertainment, and summarized by THR as follows:
"The story follows a man whose mundane existence is turned upside-down when he finds himself enrolled on a dark net website that forces complete strangers to fight in a city-wide game of death, so that their gladiatorial battles can be live-streamed worldwide to a fanatical audience. After being pitted against a seemingly unstoppable killing machine, he at first manages to avoid conflict, but when his ex girlfriend is kidnapped he much overcome his fears and stop running."
Describing the appeal of Guns Akimbo, Altitude Films co-CEO Andy Mayson commented on Howden (who has worked as a WETA digital artist on such films as The Avengers and The Hobbit trilogy) and the casting of Radcliffe:
“We fell in love with Guns Akimbo the moment we read it. Jason is one of the most exciting, original and commercially-minded new directors working today and with the pitch perfect casting of Daniel Radcliffe as our hero, Guns Akimbo is going to deliver a fresh, next-level action experience destined to thrill audiences worldwide.”
"Fresh" is the operative word as it relates to Radcliffe, who has shown a complete willingness to take risks in his career instead of opting to do safe films with big paydays to boost his bottom line. Whether it be in critically-acclaimed biopics like Kill Your Darlings or horror (including the thrilling The Woman in Black or the devilishly-entertaining Horns), Radcliffe clearly loves to explore all film genres and give newer filmmakers a chance in the process.
His ultimate risk came last year, of course, with his offbeat but hilarious role as a talking corpse with flatulence problems in Swiss Army Man, showing Radcliffe has a penchant for comedy; and another turn in the crime thriller Imperium displayed the actor's mettle from crime thrillers. Radcliffe's impressive body of work will no doubt come in handy for Guns Akimbo, where he will no doubt work his magical gifts once again as a versatile actor.