Rupert Grint Press Archives

Learner at the broomstick

Written by Helen Barlow

If anyone can stand out in a crowd, Rupert Grint can. With his mop of red hair, the actor, who recently turned 18, has lent his own distinct personality to Ron Weasley, one of the young heroes in the Harry Potter films.

At the premiere of the previous Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire, he turned up wearing a T-shirt and a recycled deep blue military jacket. He also looks more like an adult even if he’s only older than Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, by a year.

It’s no surprise then that Grint, after only one other role – in dire kids’ movie Thunderpants – is ready to move into the adult arena. He surprises with an impressively understated turn in the coming-of-age drama, Driving Lessons. The young English actor co-stars with his on-screen Harry Potter mother, Julie Walters, the English actress who before Mrs Weasley was famous for playing full-blown eccentrics. And she doesn’t disappoint here.

Grint was happy to work again with his former on-screen mum.

“It was really nice when I heard Julie was going to do it, just to have a friendly face,” admits the retiring teenager. “I was on screen the whole time and it was a bit scary. So it definitely made it much easier. And she’s great anyway. She’s really funny.”

In fact it was hard for Grint, who was 16 at the time of filming, to keep a straight face.

“All the argument scenes were really hard when I had to be serious and stare her right in the face,” he pauses, before giving an example by contorting his large round face into seriousness and breaking into a huge grin.

“It’s quite hard, I’ve got a bit of a problem with that, anyway. I’ve got a bit of a reputation with the Harry Potter films to be a bit of a laughter. I don’t know why it is. I just laugh in stitches sometimes. It’s a weird feeling.”

I suggest he is the person Harry can react against in the film; the cool dude versus the put-upon hero.

“I guess so. I’m just sort of laid-back, I guess.”

Grint talks about working on the Harry Potter films as a way of life. He has done little else for six years. It was during the filming of The Goblet of Fire that he received the Driving Lessons screenplay, and since he had dropped out of school he was available during the summer hiatus.

Set in London’s Hampstead, Driving Lessons is based on the English writer-director Jeremy Brock’s own relationship with the late Peggy Ashcroft, the famed stage actress who won an Oscar for A Passage to India. Ashcroft had taken the teenage Brock under her wing and introduced him to a more cultured life, providing a respite from the oppressive upbringing he had to endure with his devoutly religious mother, played by Laura Linney in the film.

Grint began acting as a child at school. He came to Harry Potter as a fan of the books.

“I applied out of interest, really,” he says. “It was a bit of a lucky break.”

When he isn’t working, the teenager watches horror and comedy films: Jim Carrey’s performance in Dumb & Dumber is his favourite. He also listens to music.

“I’m into rock,” he says. “I like bands like the Arctic Monkeys and I saw Foo Fighters at a gig a couple months ago. They were really cool, yeah.”

He is learning to play the guitar and he has recently taken up the didgeridoo. How did that happen? “I don’t know.” Where does he play? “Oh, just at home really.” Not on the Harry Potter set? “I wouldn’t do that. No, I don’t think so. It’s quite an unusual thing.” Most importantly, what products does he use for his wonderful lustrous hair? “I don’t really do much to it, actually,” he says, giving his red locks a tug. “I just leave it, yeah. Pretty low maintenance.”

Original article found at The Sydney Morning Herald I June 8, 2007

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