Method acting has taken performers to some strange places, including behind the wheel of a cab and psychiatric wards. As research for his role in the new Broadway play The Lifespan of a Fact, Daniel Radcliffe volunteered his time at the fact-checking department of The New Yorker—and he said the work he did there was more nerve-wracking than going on stage.
The play, which opened in New York in September, is based on a real-life magazine fact-checking ordeal that took place in 2005. As an intern at the literary magazine The Believer, Jim Fingal was asked to fact-check an essay by writer John D’Agata about a young man's suicide in Las Vegas. D’Agata tended to prioritize style over accuracy—tweaking the figure of 31 strip clubs in Las Vegas to 34 because he liked the "rhythm" better, for example—and this led to conflict between writer and fact-checker. Their back-and-forth was eventually published as a book in 2012.
The Harry Potter star, who plays Fingal in the show, recently got to experience what real fact-checkers go through on a day-to-day basis. As The New Yorker's guest fact-checker, Radcliffe wasn't tasked with reviewing a feature-length essay on a heavy subject—rather, he was asked to look at the facts in a review of a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn.
After he called the restaurant's chef to confirm the ingredients in the dip and ask if the spot did indeed have a "Venice Beach aesthetic," the article was officially fact-checked. As for how the gig compared to his job as an actor, he told The New Yorker, “Nothing I do today will be harder than that.”
[h/t The New Yorker]