Entertainment & Arts

Daniel Radcliffe to build Brooklyn Bridge

Daniel Radcliffe Image copyright AFP / Getty Images
Image caption Radcliffe has been building a strong post-Potter career, with roles in Kill Your Darlings and The Woman In Black

Film star Daniel Radcliffe is to play civil engineer Washington Roebling, who was instrumental in building the Brooklyn Bridge, in his next film role.

The movie, called Brooklyn Bridge, will be be directed by Douglas McGrath, best known for the Jane Austen adaptation, Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Brooklyn Bridge took 14 years to build, at a cost of $15m and 20 lives.

Roebling himself endured decompression sickness after supervising construction of the structure's underwater supports.

Although the bridge, with its gleaming steel cables, is now considered a jewel of the New York skyline, it was much derided during the building phase.

It was twice as long as the Menai Suspension Bridge between Anglesey and mainland Wales, which was then the world's largest suspension bridge. Many sceptics believed the structure would simply collapse into the East River and float away.

Roebling's father had designed the bridge's two enormous towers and was placed in charge of construction, but he injured his foot in a freak accident while surveying the site, contracting tetanus and later dying of lockjaw.

Roebling took over and watched as the project spiralled to almost twice its original budget.

Despite his travails, the bridge was hailed as a "marvel of science" when it eventually opened in 1883.

A key player in McGrath's script is Roebling's wife Emily, who supported him during his darkest hours.

Filming is due to begin in August, with the rest of the cast yet to be announced.

Image caption The Brooklyn Bridge is still a popular tourist attraction

"Having Daniel's involvement is a massive coup," said Pascal Degove, of film financiers Goldcrest Films.

"Not only is he perfect for the role, but he's consistently proved himself to be one of the very few actors who is genuinely a massive draw for audiences of all ages."

"We love Doug's extraordinary script and working with Daniel is one of the rare treats in the business," added producer Christine Vachon.

Harry Potter star Radcliffe recently announced he would be treading the boards in Broadway, with a transfer of his West End production The Cripple of Inishmaan.

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