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From Harry Potter to selling ice creams

Rupert Grint on fulfilling a childhood ambition and his brother’s rally driving career.

You couldn’t make it up: in real life Rupert Grint’s favourite motor is an ice-cream van – and his brother James is a hugely talented rally star. They explain how it all came to this…

Hearing that their son wants to enter the highly precarious world of professional acting is every parent’s secret nightmare. When their other son then announces his ambition to become a professional rally driver, most parents would throw up their hands in utter despair. Luckily for the Grints, their sons’ far-fetched dreams turned out perfectly.

Rupert’s role as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies means he is now worth £24 million; James, meanwhile, is now one of Britain’s fastest-rising rally drivers as part of the British Racing Grint team owned by his father, with his sights set on competing in the world championship in 2013.

Despite his colossal wealth, Rupert, 23, has refused to yield to the obvious temptation of luxuries such as high-end supercars.

For this Live shoot, his choice of vehicle is a 1974 Mr Whippy Bedford van – one of his first purchases when the Potter cash began rolling in (although it’s not his only car).

James, 21, opts for the £70,000 customised Mitsubishi Evo 9 he’s driving in this year’s British championship.

RUPERT ‘I was the first of the Potter actors to learn to drive. I passed my test at the second time of trying. On the set, there’d always be a lot of talk about cars among the cast, although Daniel Radcliffe never joined in. He’s never been into cars at all.

‘My first ambition was to become an ice-cream man, which is why I bought the Bedford van. Not long after I first got it, I pulled into a pub to do a U-turn and there were eight kids with their pocket money out, hoping to buy a 99 or whatever. But I had nothing to give them. I’ve learnt my lesson since then.

‘I keep my van well stocked. It’s got a proper machine that dispenses Mr Whippy ice cream and I buy my lollies wholesale – 50 for a tenner – so I never run short. I’m not allowed to sell my merchandise. I’d need a licence for that.

‘I tend to avoid July and August, but the rest of the year I’ll drive around the local villages and if I see some kids looking like they’re in need of ice creams, I’ll pull over and dish them out for free. They’ll say, “Ain’t you Ron Weasley?” And I’ll say, “It’s strange, I get asked that a lot.”

‘The van often comes in useful. I drove it up to the set on the last day of filming on Harry Potter. The cast and crew were having a barbecue and I supplied the lollies and ice creams.
‘James and I grew up with a love for cars and a love for racing. We started with scooters, then moved on to go-karts and quad bikes. James will claim that he always won. I remember it differently.

‘He has a daredevil instinct that I lack. He will try pretty much anything, regardless of the physical risk. He would always be coming up with crazy stunts. One time, he built these long ramps and decided to jump over my grandad on a mountain bike. Thankfully, he made a clean jump. If he’d landed on Grandad, it wouldn’t have been a pretty sight.’

JAMES ‘I was nine when Rupert got the part in Harry Potter. We all thought he was going to a normal audition. As a family we had no idea of the scale of it. It was only when we attended the first London premiere that it dawned on us how big a deal this was.

‘I’ve never looked at Rupert’s success and thought, “That could have been me.” I could never have been an actor. By the time Rupert’s career was taking off, I’d already made up my mind that I wanted to be a racing driver. If anything, Rupert’s success spurred me on to excel in my own field.

‘People would always be asking me what it was like to have a famous brother. I didn’t think of him as famous. And he never got too big for his boots. I’d have been the first to tell him if he did. At first everyone knew me as Rupert Grint’s brother. Then I had to carve out an identity for myself, which I did by being good at sports.
‘What I love about rallying is that it’s all- encompassing. You need to be a master of every surface – Tarmac, gravel, snow and ice. Rallying is regarded as the poor cousin to Formula 1 but I think there’s every chance that could change in the coming years. I’d like to be at the forefront of that.’

RUPERT ‘I did go through an anxious period after Harry Potter ended. Of course I always knew it would come to an end. But it took some getting used to.

‘Now I’m starting to enjoy the freedom. I can afford to choose my acting roles carefully and I’m able to enjoy my leisure time. I’m perfectly happy tootling around town in my ice-cream van, haring up the motorway in my Audi, or messing around on my hovercraft in the back garden.

‘As much as anything, I like the fact that I can attend my brother’s rally meetings. Now that we’re all grown up and no longer racing against each other, few things give me greater pleasure than seeing him win.’

Rupert Grint’s new film, ‘Into The White’, is out later this year

Original article found here: | March 4, 2012

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