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It’s liberating to play drug pusher in theatre debut, says Rupert Grint

Harry Potter star Rupert Grint swears by new role in his stage debut


He spent his youth as sweet child wizard Ron Weasley — now Harry Potter star Rupert Grint admits it is “liberating” to play a foul-mouthed drug pusher in his stage debut.

Grint, 25, said he was loving his first venture into theatre in Mojo, Jez Butterworth’s groundbreaking play of Fifties Soho lowlife. “It’s been an incredible experience. The thought terrified me for years,” he added.

I’m of a nervous disposition and I never thought I could comprehend being in a play, and had put it to one side as not for me. But I’m just absolutely loving it, it’s so exhilarating.

Mojo is now on at Harold Pinter Theatre in Panton Street. Grint, who plays the part of Sweets, said the concentration required for more than two hours on stage was very different from film, where “you’re dipping in and out. It’s exhausting but an amazing experience”.

It was “kind of odd but quite refreshing” to be scattering expletives: “I’ve never gone out to deliberately shock. It’s just we’re all growing up.” He was as conscious of shocking his family as much as his fans in last night’s audience. “I don’t think they’ve ever heard me say the C-word. But there’s something liberating about saying ‘f***’.

Ben Whishaw, who sings on stage for the first time and battled with a collapsing bar stool for the opening night, said he was “intrigued” when asked to play the key role of Baby, the nightclub owner’s son, adding: “It felt like unknown territory.” Grint was “amazing”, he said. “He’s incredibly quiet but he’s got great confidence and is very grounded.” Co-star Brendan Coyle, whose Downton Abbey wife Joanne Froggatt was in the audience, said of Grint: “I’ve seen a lot of debuts but none as accomplished as that.” But the whole company was “quite extraordinary”, he added.

The first-night audience included Stephen Daldry, who premiered the play in 1995 at the Royal Court, George Osborne, Lenny Henry, Zoë Wanamaker and Patrick Marber.

Original article found | NOVEMBER, 14th 2013

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