The Horns press conference held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, California proved to be a lot of fun as stars Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple and writer Joe Hill (whose book the movie is based on) shared some great memories about the making of this dark fantasy. Radcliffe plays Ig Perrish, a young man madly in love with Merrin Williams (Temple) and who will do anything for her. But as the movie opens we discover that Merrin was brutally murdered and that everyone thinks Ig was the one who killed her.
In addition to scenes where we see Ig and Merrin being intimate with one another, we also get a flashback to when these two lovers first meet. This resulted in two younger actors being hired to play these characters: Mitchell Kummen as Ig and Sabrina Carpenter as Merrin, and both look a lot like Radcliffe and Temple. While watching this sequence, I started thinking of the movie Contact in which Jodie Foster plays Eleanor Arroway and Jena Malone plays the same character as a young girl. In her commentary track on the Contact DVD, Foster said the following:
“I always love watching actors play me, and actually it’s always the reverse; whenever you hire a child actor to play the adult actor, you just ask the adult actor to copy the kid. That’s certainly what Tom Hanks did in Forest Gump and that’s what I tried to do a little bit in this movie.”
That remark of Foster’s stayed with me long after the first time I heard it, and I wondered if Radcliffe or Temple had that same experience with the actors playing the younger versions of themselves in Horns. I got to ask Radcliffe about that, and his answer led to one of the funniest moments of the day.
“That’s interesting because we didn’t really see a huge amount of what the kids were doing,” Radcliffe said. “I was often, when they would be doing stuff, getting made up or de-made up or something would be going on so they would try and time it like that, so I didn’t really get to see a lot of what they were doing.”
“I got to spend quite a lot of time particularly with Mitchell on the movie, and it was funny because Sabrina lives in L.A. now and she’s 13 going on 21,” Radcliffe continued. “She’s incredibly mature and well above her years, and Mitchell is like I was when I was like 13. He’s a kid from Winnipeg and he’s like a kid and he’s incredibly sweet. He’s awesome and I just like the fact that… Obviously Mitch is blond naturally and he’s got much fairer hair than I do, and they dyed his hair on the first day. He went back to his hotel in Vancouver and nobody knew what he was doing, and then one of the girls just happened to say, ‘Oh you look like Harry Potter.’ That just made his day. He was so happy.”
So while Radcliffe didn’t necessarily take anything specifically from Kummen’s performance, he did illustrate how difficult it can be for casting directors to find an actor to play him as a younger person. Still, both Radcliffe and Kummen took the same character and made it their own in the movie. Thanks to their performances, we succeeded in getting the best of both worlds.