PARK CITY, UTAH, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 18, 2013) (REUTERS) - In "Kill Your Darlings," William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac take a back seat to that other Beat, poet Alan Ginsberg, in this "origin" story of the literary movement and its most famous practitioners. Radcliffe was initially apprehensive by taking on a real-life literary heavyweight but director and co-screenwriter John Krokidas helped him to put it in perspective. "I think John was ... of course we're all slightly intimidated by playing such well known characters. But I think John made us all feel much more relaxed about that and it was such an amazing process, working with John I've never had a director work with me so closely, and I think all the actors felt that. It's made us all feel much less intimidated by the whole thing. I hope."
It's 1944 and Ginsberg's life goes topsy turvy when on the campus of Columbia University he meets a boyishly handsome Lucien Carr, who opens him up to the bohemian life and introduces him to Burroughs and Kerouac. The four take up arms against tradition and form what becomes the Beat movement. Meanwhile, outside the group is David Kammerer, an older man, in love with Carr and desperate for acknowledgment. Drama ensues, the older man is found dead and Kerouac, Burroughs and Carr are arrested.
For Krokidas, casting Radcliffe came in a dream. "Daniel Radcliffe was an idea I had in the middle of the night. I basically made a list of all the actors I thought were fantastic under 30 and . . .my creative time . . .a lot of people it's in the shower, mine is late at night in my bedroom, I 'm an insomniac, I can't fall asleep, [unintelligible]. Anyways, right before I fell asleep, Daniel Radcliffe."
"Kill Your Darlings" is one of 16 films in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category at Sundance, all receiving their world premieres.