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HARRY POTTER AND THE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE FILM STARS

ON THE eve of the latest episode in the series we reveal how the youngsters plucked from obscurity to play the lead roles became wealthy enough to retire for life before their 21st birthdays.

NEXT week one of the biggest cultural global events of the decade will take place – the first part of the last Harry Potter film will be released.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, which has been filmed in two parts, will almost certainly become the highest grossing film of all time.

The past six Harry Potter films have already made more £3.3billion so far and have helped turn JK Rowling into the world’s richest and only billionaire author. Many hundreds of millions more have been made from video games and merchandising.

However, Rowling, Hollywood and the marketing men are not the only ones to have benefited financially from the fantasy novels about life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The actors who play Harry Potter and his two chums have also become phenomenally rich.

Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter, Emma Watson who takes the role of Hermoine Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley have all become multi-millionaires. And yet unlike so many young footballers or teenage rock stars the young thespians have so far behaved in a remarkably adult way about their money. Hogwarts has taught them to be sensible.

The three child actors were first cast in their roles in early 2000, when the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was made. Daniel was 10, Rupert was 11 and Emma only nine. Not surprisingly all three were complete innocents about financial matters. They had pocket money for sweets and little else. “I don’t know how much money I have and I don’t need to know because I am only a kid,” said Daniel after the release of the second Harry Potter movie Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets in 2002.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do with all this money,” said Rupert innocently in 2003. “My dad never told me about how much I was earning,” said Emma. Now of course the trio have grown up and are conscious of their wealth. When I was 18 my father sat me down for a money conversation,” said Emma, now 20, who had been living on an allowance of £50 a week until then. By the fourth film the money was starting to get serious. I had no idea. I felt sick, very emotional.”

In a bid to cope she enrolled at a course run by the Queen’s bankers Coutts, which taught her how to manage money. The result is that she has barely touched her estimated £22million fortune, although she has invested in a ski chalet in Meribel, France, and a £3million house in north London. Earlier this year, for example, she was living in modest student digs while studying for her degree at America’s Brown University on Rhode Island.

“The truth is I just like to pretend that the money doesn’t exist,” said Emma, who was paid £10million for her part in the two Deathly Hallows films that end the series and is one of the movie industry’s top 40 earners. “It’s amazing how many children are aware from such a young age about money being important or supposedly impressive.

Around 13 or 14, kids used to come up to me and say, ‘You the girl on Harry Potter? How much do you make?’ I never knew. “Obviously now I realise I have enough money never to have to work again but I would never want that.

Clothes are probably my biggest expenditure and make-up. But I really don’t have time to spend my money.

Sometimes my bank manager calls to say ‘You haven’t used your card in a while and now you’re using it. No one’s stolen it, have they?’” Daniel Radcliffe is now the highest earning male actor in the world. He is said to be worth £42million and is considerably richer than, for example, Princes William or Harry. His friends say that he doesn’t care much about the money although Daniel said recently that what he does like about it is that it has given him “room for manoeuvre”.

“Obviously I’m in a very fortunate position where I don’t have to do things for the money,” he says. “I can simply do them because there’s an interesting character and a good director involved. What I love is acting rather than all the stuff that goes with it. The money is fantastic and I’m very grateful but it’s not the main thing that drives me. Being on rich lists is all very nice, but I am my own person. What people write about me doesn’t make me who I am.”

Daniel’s parents, like those of Emma Watson, were protective of their son and sent him to an ordinary state school. “I really am a pretty normal guy and I don’t have a fleet of Ferraris,” he said. (He drives a new VW Golf that he says is “a perfect car for zipping around”). He admits that rather than spend money he would prefer to sit in a darkened room in his underpants watching cricket and eating pasta.

He is known for supporting charities and has made several donations to help children’s hospices. Last year he made a major donation to the Trevor Project, a US organisation that runs a helpline for troubled lesbian and gay youngsters. However he is not letting his fortune sit in the bank. He has two New York apartments (costing £3million each) and has recently bought a fi vebedroom town house in the fashionable part of the city for £4million. He also has a flat in west London and is building up a modern art collection.

“The only thing I’m likely to spend on is art,” he says, “as that’s the only thing I’m interested in that costs a lot of money.” Rupert Grint is a year older than Daniel Radcliffe and while he might play second string to Harry Potter in the wizardry department he is probably the most financially astute of his co-stars.

The red-headed actor, who is estimated to be worth around £20million, owns two country mansions in Hertfordshire, the newest of which is an £5million 18th-century house with five reception rooms, six bedroom suites, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and two cottages in 22-acre grounds.

Until he bought that mansion he was living with his parents in the other house, a farmhouse that was bought for him in 2003 with a lake, a herd of pigs and its own putting green. He has also bought a £500,000 house in the county with his father Nigel, a former racing car driver, which the two of them plan to develop. But Rupert, like his co-stars, has certainly not adopted a typical celebrity lifestyle.

He drives a dilapidated pick-up truck and a working ice-cream van – an early Mr Whippy model, which he has restored and uses to serve his friends free cones. He also has a restored VW Camper van, a Range Rover and a hovercraft. “People stereotype child actors and expect you to go off the rails and be a bit crazy but that’s not really happened yet,” says Rupert. “I’ve never fancied that footballer lifestyle. I prefer to be in Hertfordshire where I was brought up and to be among my old friends.”

Like many other 22-year-olds, he likes watching TV, playing golf and going to the pub with his mates, one of whom is a teacher and another who works in a café. Next July the second part of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows will be released. It will be the end of the Potter films.

JK Rowling has said she will not write any more Potter books and unlike Star Wars it would be impossible for anybody else to write a sequel. “I’m sad to leave it behind but it is time to move on,” said Daniel after filming finished earlier this year. He, unlike Emma, is intending to continue acting rather than go to university.

“I’m feeling a mixture of things now that it’s over,” says Rupert. “It’s been a huge part of my life. But I’m ready to go and do other things.” “I know it sounds dramatic but I feel my life as I knew it is over,” says Emma. “My whole life was been about Harry Potter and now it’s shut down. It is time to consider other careers.”

Whatever happens to all three child actors, not only will they ever need to worry about money again, it also seems that they will live sensible, moderate and happy lives – 10 years of Hogwarts magic appear to have guaranteed that.


Original article found here: Express UK | November 8th, 2010

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