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LESSONS IN LOVE

RUPERT GRINT ON HIS NEW FILM, SHOT BETWEEN HARRY POTTER MOVIES.

IT’S the steamy encounter set to break the hearts of Harry Potter fans the world over. After a raunchy salsa dance with a shapely brunette, Rupert Grint returns to her flat for a passionate one-night stand. Ron Weasley, it seems, is growing up fast.

“I must admit, I was quite nervous about doing my first on-screen kiss – actually I was really worried,” admits the 18-year-old redhead, “but it wasn’t all that bad in the end. The girl I had to snog, Michelle Duncan, was older than me, which somehow made it easier.

“I just made sure I kissed her properly because I didn’t want to go for lots and lots of takes. Mind you, watching it on the big screen for the first time was a bit painful because my dad was sitting next to me. I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment and am quite happy being single, but who knows what’s around the corner? I’d like to meet a woman with a sense of humour and I wouldn’t mind at all if they were a Potter fan.”

Rupert’s close encounter is featured in the new film, Driving Lessons – released today – in which he stars as an awkward teenager called Ben who befriends boozy, eccentric retired actress Evie, played by Julie Walters. She, coincidentally, also played Ron Weasley’s mum in the first three Harry Potter movies.

Ben’s life is changed forever when he replies to an ad for a home help placed by Evie. As their unlikely friendship grows, he drives her from London to Edinburgh, along the way having some life-changing experiences, including a fling with a shapely Scottish girl called Bryony, played by Duncan. When saying goodbye to her after a night of passion, he hilariously tells her, “Thank you for having me”.

Although Driving Lessons centres on Ben’s friendship with Evie, it also deals with the awkwardness of being a teenager and the agonies of first love. In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Ben reads a romantic poem to a girl he’s got a terrible crush on – with embarrassing results.

“Thank God I’ve never done that,” laughs Rupert. “I’m quite different to Ben when it comes to women, although I am a little bit shy just like he is. But I definitely don’t write poetry.”

Rupert made Driving Lessons after Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, in which he reprised his role as the young wizard’s best friend. And despite his worldwide fame, the new movie is only the second non-Potter film he’s appeared in, after the 2002 comedy Thunderpants.

“I’ve had a few offers, but the gap between the Harry Potter films was always too small to fit any of them in,” says Rupert. “But there was quite a big break between the last film and the new one (The Order Of The Phoenix, due next year) and we were able to make Driving Lessons in just six weeks. It was also refreshing to play a more complicated character because Ron is mostly just scared.”

Rupert insists he wants to star in all seven of the Potter films, even though he could be 22 when the final, unnamed instalment is released in cinemas.

“I’m filming the new one in Watford right now and it’s proving great fun,” he grins. “This could be the best one yet. The series has been such a big part of my lifethat it would be a shame if someone else took over the part. I want to be in the lot and hopefully that’ll happen.”

Rupert and I meet at an Edinburgh tea party held to mark the launch of the film, attended by John Hurt, Walters and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.

She tells The Ticket she is half-way through writing the seventh and possibly final book, but the 41-year-old Scottish author is keeping tight-lipped over rumours she’s planning to kill off Harry.

“I’m up to about 750 pages now, but I’m not telling anyone what happens to Harry,” she says. “I’ve just come along to support Rupert who’s absolutely terrific in Driving Lessons.”

So, for someone who has seen so much success so young, how does Rupert see his career progressing?

“I don’t know where I want to be in five or 10 years time,” he says. “I’ll just see where things lead me, but I’d love to do more films like Driving Lessons.”


Original article found here: Metro UK | September 9th, 2006

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