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The Harry Potter movies helped set up Daniel Radcliffe’s entire career. Playing the boy who lived in eight films over 10 years gave Radcliffe a signature role and financial security, and it allowed him to chart his unique post-Potter career. The lead part in a blockbuster franchise might seem like a dream from the outside, but Radcliffe’s eyes suffered while shooting Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Daniel Radcliffe attends a 2022 screening of 'The Lost City.' Harry Potter was the role of lifetime, but Radcliffe's eyes suffered twice while filming 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.'
Daniel Radcliffe attends a 2022 screening of ‘The Lost City’ | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Daniel Radcliffe ignored his parents and became an actor

Attending a theater production as a child inspired Radcliffe’s desire to act, but his parents discouraged his acting dream. Still, when he wouldn’t take no for an answer, they allowed him to audition for Harry Potter even though they didn’t want him to star in the movies. 

Radcliffe was hardly the only child actor who wanted to star in the Harry Potter movies. A strict set of casting rules — the actor had to be British, 11 or 12 years old, and have blue or green eyes — helped him win the part.

Pulling out a secret talent in front of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus might not have hurt his chances. After he won the part and started filming the first movie, Radcliffe’s eyes suffered the consequences.

Radcliffe’s eyes suffered when he first started playing Harry Potter

Landing the role of a lifetime at 12 years old changed Radcliffe’s life, but his eyes suffered for it. 

David Heyman, who produced all eight Potter movies as well as the three Fantastic Beasts movies, revealed that the first day of shooting was tough on Radcliffe’s eyes. The first scene Radcliffe shot was one of the last in the movie — Hagrid and Harry saying goodbye at the Hogsmeade railway platform. As Empire reported (via Wizarding World), Radcliffe didn’t react well to the contact lens meant to turn his blue eyes a Harry Potter green:

“I’ll never forget being on set that first day, filming the last scene [of ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’] where Hagrid and Harry bid farewell at the railway station at Hogsmeade. Dan [Radcliffe] was wearing these contact lenses to make his eyes green, and he had an allergic reaction to them. His eyes were red and swollen and we had to take them out – we thought we may add that green digitally, though ultimately we decided not to because it felt artificial. But Dan’s eyes were puffy and red, and oddly it was quite appropriate for the scene where he was saying goodbye to Hagrid.”

Harry Potter producer David Heyman

The first day of shooting wasn’t the only time Radcliffe’s eyes took a beating while filming his first major movie role.

Harry’s iconic round glasses triggered Radcliffe’s allergic reaction


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The filmmakers tossed the green contact lens that punished Radcliffe’s eyes early in the shooting. They did the same to the first version of Harry’s iconic round glasses.

As Radcliffe said during a conversation with author J.K. Rowling on the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Blu-ray (via YouTube), the first set of glasses caused an allergic reaction.

“[W]e put the glasses on, and eventually, we realized that I was allergic to them,” Radcliffe said. “I was actually allergic to the Harry Potter glasses. I had these two rings of whiteheads and spots that had come up around my eyes, and it took us a week to realize that it was actually the glasses.”

Radcliffe’s eyes suffered when he started playing Harry Potter, but his career didn’t. He remains internationally famous and has the highest net worth of the Golden Trio.

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