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Rupert Grint Drives… an ice cream van

LONDON—Rupert Grint is earning millions playing Ron Weasley in the “Harry Potter” movie series but guess what he loves to drive around in?

An ice cream van.

Explaining that he’s always had “an interest in the ice cream industry,” Rupert said in a press con at the Claridge’s Hotel that driving a van with a kitchen and freezer at the back is “really cool.”

The shyest of the three principals in the hit film franchise, Rupert surprised us with long replies. In our previous interviews, he would mumble only one or two-sentence answers that led to occasional awkward pauses.

Goofy appeal

Still, the red-haired actor remains basically shy. This bashfulness—and the fact that he’s not as serious and driven as his co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson—is what’s most endearing about Rupert. He’s also very unpretentious so his answers, though short, are sincere and charming. His revelation that he tools around in an ice cream van adds to his goofy appeal. The girls love him.

Before we run our Q and A with Rupert, let us share some quotes from Emma, whom we also interviewed. Among the three “Harry Potter” leads, Emma is the one who has changed the most, physically. While Daniel and Rupert still look boyish, Emma definitely looks like a young woman now. Her face is leaner—she looks so different, even though we saw her only less than a year ago on a set visit at the Leavesden Studios as they were filming “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

This afternoon, Emma was in a mood to talk as well. “I think every time you guys see me, I probably look different,” she said. She was on target on that one. “I’m still growing up,” she added.

When the reporters heard a toddler’s voice in the room, Emma explained, “My little sister Nina is at the back.”

Who’s going to die?
The big talk these days is on which two characters will die in the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which will be released on July 21, just over a week after “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” hits the theaters on July 11.

The topic was also on Emma’s mind. “Today, a couple of journalists told me that there’s this guy who claims to have been able to hack into J.K. Rowling’s computer,” she shared. Putting her hands on her chest, she continued, “He’s saying that Hermione is going to die. I was like, ‘Oh God, that’s awful.’ I actually found myself feeling sad. I have not really contemplated on her dying. I always had the sense that she’d make it.”

Of course, no one, except J.K. Rowling and her book printer, really know who survive in the seventh novel.

Emma does not bring up the books when she sees the author: “Whenever I see Jo (J.K.’s nickname, short for Joanne), I always try not to speak to her about the novels. I know that sounds strange but I see her as a separate person, a friend. Because I know what it feels like for people to always speak to you about ‘Harry Potter.’ Sometimes you want to be considered as a person who has a life outside of ‘Harry Potter.’ I would feel too embarrassed to ask her to sign anything for me. I don’t have anything written from her.”

Very similar

The actress is emotionally attached to her character not only because she has been playing her all these years. “Hermione and I are very similar in quite a lot of ways,” she explained. “We’re both very stubborn, determined, loyal, bossy, academic and a bit of a feminist.”

Unlike Rupert, Emma went to see Daniel and Richard Griffiths (who plays Harry’s Muggle uncle) in their play, “Equus,” which drew lots of media attention because Daniel stripped naked onstage. “Dan was brilliant,” she gushed. “I thought Richard Griffiths was also brilliant.”

Asked if she was ever infatuated with Daniel, Emma quickly answered, “I’ve never really had a crush on Dan. There are defiant elements of his personality which are very desirable. I can talk to him for hours. He’s very witty, quick, intelligent, eccentric and different.”

Catching up

Confessing to trying to catch up with Daniel’s knowledge of cinema and actors, the 17-year-old who plans to attend college revealed, “I remember Dan’s face when he learned that I didn’t know who Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) was. He looked at me like I had three heads. But I’m getting there.”

“I will take some time off after I finish the seventh movie,” she replied when queried about her plans. “I’d really like to travel.” The actress, who has French heritage, added, “I’d like to spend some time in France and pick up my French again. I’d love to do a film in France. That would be really cool.”

So far, this millionairess has not splurged on anything big. “Clothes are pretty much my biggest expenditure,” she stated. “I bought myself an Apple laptop which has my music, work and stuff. It’s my pride and joy. I guess a car will be my next thing. But my dad, who loves cars, will be bitterly disappointed that I’ll probably get a small, un-intimidating, safe car. I don’t want anything fancy.”

“No ice cream van,” she clarified with a laugh. “I’ve got Rupert for that.”

* * *

The following are excerpts of our press con with Rupert:

I read the other day that you bought an ice cream van. Why?
I’ve always had an interest in the ice cream industry (laughter). And the ice cream van is really cool. I’ve just passed my driving test as well. The van has a freezer at the back.

Do you need a special license to drive the van?
No because it’s really small. The van has a big kitchen at the back with sinks. I’ve been driving it for about five months now. I just drive it around. It has a little bell. It plays a little tune as well.

It must be a chick magnet.
Oh yeah, definitely (laughter).

Do you still have the pickup?
I still have the 1950 Chevy pickup. I was really into classic American cars. But I can’t get insured on that. It’s too fast. So I’m just driving the ice cream van at the moment.

What do you do in your spare time?
I’ve got the ice cream van that’s keeping me busy. I play a lot of golf as well.

Do you actually make ice cream?
Oh yeah, definitely.

Do you sell it?
Not yet. There are things I have to sort out.

What’s your favorite ice cream?
I’m quite simple. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the 99 [an ice cream cone made with soft ice cream], which is quite popular here. It’s just a whippy, really. It’s like a soft vanilla ice cream with a flake.

What music do you play in the van?
I’ve got some classics. It’s really hard to find them. All I’ve got is an MP3 player that I plug in. The van has a loudspeaker. I’ve been trying to search the Internet to find some traditional ice cream [truck] tunes. I just can’t find them.

Are you worried that your character might be one of the two that will die in the final book?
It would be quite cool to have a death scene, especially if it involves a really cool battle scene. It’s going to be really sad though when it all ends. We’ve got the last two films. It’s going to be weird because these movies have been a big part of my life. I’m going to miss it. I’m really grateful because these movies allowed me to do things I’d probably never get to do otherwise. I got out of school which is quite a bonus. I’ve gone to places which I would have never gone to had these films not come my way.

Do you guys get advance copies of the “Harry Potter” books?
No. On the day the book comes out, that’s when we get it.

Do you get a chance to talk to J.K. Rowling?
Yes, she comes to the set. We talk. But she’s quite good at not giving anything away. Dan and I asked her a few questions. We actually asked her if Harry dies but she didn’t give anything away at all.

Do you plan to go to a university?
I’ve never really been big on school. I didn’t do that well on my exams. I did well in art but that was it, really—which is why I packed it in at 16 [years old]. So about going to a university, I don’t know. Maybe in the future.

For the sake of the continuity of this movie series, are you under contract not to, for example, change your hairstyle or have tattoos?
There are things we’re not allowed to do. We’re not supposed to have tattoos. I’m not allowed to have a major haircut in between films. They have control over my hair at the moment. But Warner Bros. has been good to us. They don’t really make you feel like you’re imprisoned.

Daniel had his first kissing scene in this movie. Are you frustrated that you don’t get to kiss a girl?
I’m not too frustrated about it because I did “Driving Lessons” and there was a little kiss in that. It was probably the most embarrassing moment in my life. You’re in this little set and the crew is watching. It’s not the nicest atmosphere. In the next movie, Ron gets a girlfriend so I’ll get my chance then.

Do you have a girlfriend now?
No, I don’t have any at the moment. It’s cool. I get more attention now. But it’s good fun.

How similar or different are you to Ron Weasley?
I’d like to think that I’m a little bit braver than Ron because he can be a bit of a wimp sometimes. Although I am scared of spiders as well. But in this one, Ron has moved away from his wimpy side a little bit. He attacked a few of the Death Eaters. So he’s getting there.

Can you tell us how it was filming “Driving Lessons”?
It was all right. It was different—that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed doing that movie. It was nice to do something smaller, something without any blue screen so I could react to real things. I really enjoyed it.

Will you start collecting cars?
I’m not sure yet. I’m big into cars. I don’t know if I’m going to start collecting cars. I’ve always been pretty sensible until I had the ice cream van.

Did you see Daniel in “Equus”?
No. I didn’t get the chance to see him. I really wanted to see it. I did try to get tickets. But it was hard to get them. I heard the play was really good. It got good reviews. It was quite a brave thing for him to do. I still can’t get over it, really.

Perhaps you did not watch Daniel in “Equus” because of the nudity?
I won’t use the word scared. But I suppose…

Embarrassed?
I suppose it could have been a little awkward. It’s quite a brave role to take on. I definitely respect him for doing it. I could never, never see myself doing that at the moment.

Will you continue acting and have the ice cream business as a backup?
I will always have that as a backup, yeah. I definitely want to continue acting if I can because I really do enjoy it.


Original article found here: Inquirer.net | June 30th, 2007


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