OnlyOnAOL: Daniel Radcliffe is addicted to this scary-true spy show

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Daniel Radcliffe, Daniel Ragussis & Michael German On "Imperium"

By: Donna Freydkin

He's played the world's most famous boy wizard, a deformed circus performer and the American poet Allen Ginsberg.

But it was his role in "Imperium," opening Friday, that shook Daniel Radcliffe up the most. "White supremacists terrify me," says Radcliffe.

In the thriller, he's a wide-eyed FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a terrorist group. It's based on a book by former FBI special agent Michael German, who now serves as a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program.

"I read a lot of scripts. I read a lot of scripts where they set characters up as being smart and that's how they solve problems," says Radcliffe. "And then you get to the last third of the movie and it's like, 'Give 'em a gun.' This film didn't do that."

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It's why Radcliffe was cast in the first place. He's expressive, magnetic and willing to take risks.

"I felt like there was an opportunity to do something that was fresh and show an FBI agent in a different way," says director Daniel Ragussis. "Dan was perfect for the role."

In fact, Radcliffe has to rely on his wits to survive in the film. "This character gets by on how he reads and understands people. It felt like a very good thriller that felt subtle and authentic," says Radcliffe.

Given that race and white supremacists in particular have been in the news so much of late during our current election cycle (with former KKK grand wizard David Duke supporting Donald Trump's candidacy for president), the movie is particularly potent. "It was timely when we made it," says Radcliffe. "I couldn't predict it."

Radcliffe has the utmost respect for those who risk their lives for national security. He's hooked on an eight-part show that tells the true stories of spies, including a U.S. sting operation that busted an illegal arms dealer.

"I've been watching this documentary series on CNN called 'Declassified.' It's absolutely fascinating," says Radcliffe. "

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Daniel Radcliffe does AOL BUILD
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Daniel Radcliffe does AOL BUILD
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on August 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on on June 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on on June 27, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on on June 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on on June 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
Radcliffe does AOL BUILD on on June 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
McAvoy and Radcliffe do AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Radcliffe does AOL Build on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
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