Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front has won no shortage of accolades this award season. But before the film raised money for its production, there was a different lead actor attached to the project. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was originally set to take on the role of Paul Baumer.
The news was recently revealed by screenwriter Lesley Paterson. She stated that studio bosses believed Radcliffe, 33, would help secure the funding necessary to make the movie.
“When we optioned the book 16 years ago, the landscape was so different. There’s no way you could have done a German-language film and raised any money for it,” Paterson told the Daily Mirror newspaper. “So we decided pretty early on, we would probably have to pitch it as English speaking with a German accent.”
“And we thought, ‘What names are going to raise finance?’ And at that time, Daniel Radcliffe was coming off the back of ‘Harry Potter’.” she noted.
Though just because Radcliffe was a known name and a talented actor, that didn’t mean he was the right actor for the part.
“We realized pretty quickly that although he’s a wonderful actor, he wasn’t right for this and his name actually didn’t raise any finance,” Paterson continued. “Because ultimately, what’s made him known is the brand of ‘Harry Potter’ and not him as an actor. But he was so lovely.”
The movie, which is based on Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel, eventually cast Felix Kammerer in the lead role. The film is up for nine Oscar awards in tonight’s Academy Award show. And Paterson thinks that the anti-war theme will strike a chord with the judges due to the Ukraine conflict.
“They tend to support politically resonating films in the belief our industry can make a difference,” she noted.