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I’M A MAN NOW – BUT I’D RATHER BE A SCHOOLBOY

Exclusive Harry Potter star Rupert insists his age won’t stop him reaching seventh movie heaven

RUPERT GRINT turns 18 today and has already left school – but still hopes to play Ron Weasley in all seven of the Harry Potter films.

He is currently filming the fifth movie, Order of the Phoenix, which is set for release on July 13, 2007, and has been signed up to star in the sixth film, Half-Blood Prince, which is scheduled for November 21, 2008, when Rupert (above right) will be 20.

The arrival of the final, seventh, unnamed flick depends on when JK Rowling finishes the book, and could see Rupert aged 21 or even 22 – but still playing a schoolboy.

But the world’s most famous ginger-haired star said: “I want to do all seven and hopefully that’ll happen.

“It’ll be weird when it’s all finished because it’s been a huge part of my life. I started when I was 11 and I’m 18 now.”

Rupert, who will be in Edinburgh on Saturday for the Official Gala Screening of his new movie, Driving Lessons, as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, is planning a huge party today to celebrate his coming of age.

He’s already bought a flash car but admits that, despite being in a film about driving, he still can’t legally get behind the wheel.

He said: “I failed my test and I’m gutted and embarrassed that I can’t drive. I only failed on one thing. I didn’t look behind me on a three-point turn.

“But failing on one thing is more annoying than failing on a few things. But I’ll pass next time.

“I’ve actually bought a Mini. My dad sits in the passenger seat when I want to go somewhere. It’s black and I’ve pimped it up.”

All the driving scenes in his new movie were filmed in London.

But he revealed: “I wasn’t even allowed to drive on the major roads because I was only 16. We did it on private roads but it was really good fun.

“Part of the reason I signed up for this film was that I was really looking forward to driving a car.

“I did have one near crash. There was one little hill where I was supposed to drive up and stop, and I forgot to put on the handbrake, and it started to roll toward the camera.

“It was a close run thing but I managed to stop the car before it collided with the crew.”

In Driving Lessons, Rupert plays Ben, who is befriended by an eccentric actress played by Julie Walters, who whisks him off to Edinburgh.

“I like going to Scotland, I’ve been a few times for the Potter films,” he said.

“The only downside when you are further north are the midges. It got pretty bad and we had to wear full face nets because we were up a mountain. But it’s all good.”

Being the world’s most recognisable redhead, it seems only reasonable that I ask him if it’s thanks to some Scottish heritage.

He laughed: “My nan’s half Irish but I don’t think I’ve got Scottish blood, although I do look like a Scot.”

Driving Lessons is Rupert’s second film outside the Potter franchise. He starred in Thunderpants in 2002, but playing teenager Ben in Driving Lessons is his first coming of age movie.

It also reunites him with his on-screen mum Julie Walters, who plays Molly Weasley in the Potter movies.

He said: “It’s quite a scary thing coming on to a new set. On Potter I’m used to the same crew and the same people. So it was nice Julie being there as a friendly face. She’s really funny.

“I found it even harder than usual to keep a straight face. I’ve quite a big problem with laughing and corpsing in front of the camera and she’d just make me laugh.”

Rupert, who left school at 16 with GCSEs in Art and English, was working on the fourth Potter film, Goblet of Fire, when the script for Driving Lessons arrived.

The film is the directorial debut of Jeremy Brock, who wrote Mrs Brown, and is based on his own experiences as a vicar’s son who, as a young man, worked for Dame Peggy Ashcroft.

Rupert admits it was the change of character that appealed to him as his biggest fear is being typecast as Ron.

Rupert explained: “It’s nice to be someone different than Ron and to do something that’s much smaller with a smaller budget and no special effects. It was also a shorter shoot – about six weeks rather than the year it takes to make a Potter film.

“I took the part of Ben because he’s very different to Ron and it would show I could do more than be the wise-cracker.

“I suppose the differences between Ben and Ron are that Ben is quieter and not as confident but more complicated. But I’m more like Ron. I like a laugh.”

Comedy seems to suit Rupert. He has the best one-liners in the Potter movies and, with Julie Walters in Driving Lessons, shows he is a rising star of future British comedies.

And while his Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe gets his first kissing scene in Order of the Phoenix, Rupert has pipped him to a screen snog.

Driving Lessons sees him kissing Scots girl Bryony, played by Michelle Duncan. He said: “It was very weird and very different.” The first kissing scene also paves the way for Rupert’s big snog in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sees Ron kissing Lavender Brown to get at Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson.

Rupert laughed: “Ben’s kiss is very nervous and I think Ron’s is a bit more enthusiastic.”

Off screen, Rupert insists he’s happily single. But he said: “I would date a fan, I don’t have a problem with that. I look for a good sense of humour in a girlfriend.”

The Gala Screening of Driving Lessons is at Edinburgh’s The Dominion at 4pm on Saturday. The film is released in cinemas on September 8 and will be screened on lTV in the autumn.

“The only downside about going further north is the midges. It got pretty bad and we had to wear full face nets”


Original article found here: Daily Record | August 24th, 2006

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