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Rupert Grint takes Driving Lessons

It’s about time that Ron Weasley got some wheels other than that bizarre, magical family car! Actually, when we spoke with Rupert Grint in Beverly Hills last week, he had just gotten his license in the U.K. and was driving a new Mini-Cooper!

The 18-year-old star of the “Harry Potter” film series was in town to chat about his film Driving Lessons in which he plays a shy teen with an ultra-controlling mom who finds freedom and identity when he becomes the assistant to an eccentric semi-retired actress played by none other than Ron’s mom (great actress Julie Walters)! News flash: Rupert has his first big screen make-out scene! The popular, ginger-haired actor let us know that doing a “love” scene really made him nervous but was worth it. Now if poor Ron can just catch up.

We got some pix of adorable Rupert in his purple tee with the green letters “Roswell” and “Area 51” on it. I told him that I was born 30 miles from there. He was fascinated but didn’t really know where Roswell was.. Somebody had given him the shirt. He’d never been there. I told him he wasn’t missing much. Let’s get down to talking about Rupert’s new role and, of course, what is up with “Harry” and friends…

AGW: Was it interesting to do another picture with Julie Walters, but playing totally different roles?

Rupert: It’s quite different, obviously they’re completely different characters. It was actually really good having Julie there, because I obviously knew her before in the ‘Harry Potter’ films, especially because we were only filming for like six weeks, it was good to have someone there you sort of knew. She was really fine, really easy to get on with, so she’s cool.

AGW: Was it strange acting with her and playing such a different role and seeing her in such a different role?

Rupert: Yeah it was, yeah, especially with all the swearing! Some of it was quite shocking. The first scene we rehearsed was the camping scene when she swallows the [car] key. She’s very funny and she’s really cool.

AGW: What was it about this movie that made you want to choose it as one of your detours from Harry Potter series?

Rupert: I wasn’t really looking out for anything. I was doing the fourth ‘Harry Potter’ film and it came up after that, and I just really liked the script and it was something really different, because I’d been filming the fourth one for about eleven months and I just wanted to do something different. I love being Ron, it’s just sort of good to do something different. So that’s why.

AGW: Both Ron and your Driving Lessons character Ben are going through life changes and maturing but are you sure you didn’t take this movie because Ben at least gets a girl! Was that a big draw for you?

Rupert: [laughs] Actually no. I was really dreading that scene. I was really nervous, because obviously, you’re in a tiny set and the whole crew is watching you, and it is a bit nerve-wracking. But, no, it was alright in the end. The worst part is watching it back with your family, that’s the embarrassing part. It’s not too bad.

AGW: So what did you do to get over your nerves before shooting that scene?

Rupert: I don’t know really, I mean once we’d – the first time was pretty awkward, but once we got into I suppose, it was alright – it was quite an awkward moment, yeah.

AGW: Did you have to have a drink beforehand? [Hey, Rupert is 18 now.. legal in London]

Rupert: [he laughs] No I didn’t, unfortunately.

AGW: Did you get a break before doing the next movie, or was it like you shot this and then boom, you went onto the next “Harry” right away?

Ron: Yeah, actually it was about three months or something spread over Christmas and it’s usually quite a quick sort of turnaround, and we’re doing the fifth one at the moment. We’re just about to finish it.

AGW: We hear that you just got your own driver’s license and are driving a Mini-Cooper. You didn’t want to get anything more ostentatious or bigger?

Rupert: No, a mini suits me.

AGW: So what were your own driving lessons like?

Rupert: Oh I had so many, an embarrassing amount actually. My test, I was really nervous, I failed my first one, but I passed my second attempt. It was quite scary.

AGW: What did you fail on your first one?

Rupert: I was doing a three-point-turn, and I didn’t look over my shoulder or something, something stupid like that.

AGW: Did the driving instructor recognize you? Actually, what is your day to day life like out and about?

Rupert: No. He didn’t say anything. It’s not too bad actually. It’s only been in the last few years where’s it’s got [crazy]. I get recognized a little bit more. The hair does sort of stand out, but they’re always really nice, so it’s not really a problem. It is something really weird and I’ve not really gotten used to it because it is quite strange, but as I say, it’s not really a problem.

AGW: What do you have planned between the two Potter films?

Rupert: I don’t know really, I’ll probably have a bit of a break, because we’ve been filming this fifth one for about 10 months or something like that, so it’s been pretty busy. I definitely want to try to get something else in, say something like Driving Lessons because it was a really good experience and I had a really good time doing it, so I’d love to do more stuff like that.

AGW: For the last three Potter films you’ve had three different directors. Do you like that?

Rupert: Yeah, I do, it makes it different. I mean, the first time it happened, losing Chris [Columbus] was quite a big thing, because he was my first ever director in my first ever film, so it was quite different not having him in there, but we’ve had some really good ones, Alfonso, Mike Newell and this one’s been really good, David Yates. He’s quite laid back and much more calm, calmer than the other ones we’ve had, so it’s been good.

AGW: A lot of people think that this is your first movie outside of ‘Harry Potter’ and it’s not. How different was the acting experience from Thunderpants?

Rupert: Much different, I mean, this is my first grown up film I suppose and it’s a bit more of a bigger part than Ron and my character in Thunderpants. It has been a real new experience. It’s been really fun.

AGW: Driving Lessons is a much smaller film. Did you have to adjust to a smaller trailer on set? Were there other differences?

Rupert: [laughs] Yeah, there’s new stuff like that. Obviously because it’s a smaller budget, you notice the few differences like that. I’m used to like having a dressing room and being based in a studio. That was one of the most different things, because on this we weren’t in a studio, we were just sort of going all around London, and it was really good fun though.

AGW: Were you shooting when the terror attacks happened last year in London?

Rupert: Yeah, yeah.

AGW: Did you have to shut down, what happened? Were you scared?

Rupert: Yeah, it was quite scary because on the actual day it happened we cancelled filming and didn’t go in and then we filmed throughout the next day and it was all about the aftermath, and there were a few like rumors and threats. We had to evacuate a building. It was quite scary.

AGW: Do you notice difference in fans from country to country?

Rupert: Yeah, definitely, yeah. They’re much louder and sort of crazier here than in England and I went to Japan on the third film and that was – they’re crazy out there as well. It’s quite funny. They send origami stuff, little swans and stuff, it’s quite strange.

AGW: Laura Linney is super strict in this film. Is your own mom anything like that?

Rupert: [looks frightened] Oh no, definitely not, no! I know, she [Laura] was scary in [this movie].

AGW: Who would your ideal leading lady be?

Rupert: [big smile..he’s not gonna tell us] Um, I don’t know really, I’m not all that fussy really, anyone will do.

AGW: Who’s more like the real you? Ben or Ron?

Rupert: Um, I’ve always felt like I could relate to Ron. I can’t really see much in common with Ben. I suppose I have a sort of teenage side, his awkwardness, around girls and that, I can sort of relate to that. No, I’m most definitely – I’m sort of more Ron I think.

AGW: Are you, Daniel and Emma very close, because you’ve grown up together? Between films do you see each other?

Rupert: We see each other ever day for most of the year, so we don’t really need to see each other outside. We get on really well, and that’s with all the other cast as well, because we’ve known them for six years, you get to know each other so it’s good.

AGW: Emma has said that she may not want to continue making the movies. How weird would it be to work with a new Hermione if they brought someone in?

Rupert: Yeah it would be – yeah, I heard that as well, it’s quite a shock. She hadn’t really talked about it, I don’t know, it would be really weird. I think she will stick it out I think, because I definitely am and I think Dan is as well, so we’ll just have to see really.

AGW: Have you been star struck by anyone since you’ve been here in Hollywood?

Rupert: Yeah. I’ve met quite a few people, especially at the premieres, which we do quite a few, like we met Robin Williams and it was really embarrassing because my grandpa kept doing Mrs. Doubtfire impressions. [laughs] Yeah, it was quite embarrassing.

AGW: What did Robin do?

Rupert: He was sort of humoring him, so it was alright.

AGW: Do you write poems like your character Ben?

Rupert: No, I don’t actually. I did at school a little bit but nothing like that. I think one of the poems, [the director] Jeremy actually wrote that when he was my age.

AGW: But, you do write rap lyrics?

Rupert: [laughing] Yeah, I did, that was my audition tape for the ‘Harry Potter’ films, I wrote a rap song.

AGW: Well, that evidently impress someone. Who’s your favorite musician now?

Rupert: I’m more into sort of rock, a lot of bands in England, Arctic Monkeys and people like that really.

AGW: What do you miss about London when you’re away?

Rupert: Not much really. (The weather) is pretty depressing out there at the moment. I quite like coming out to a place like this.

AGW: Have you moved out into your own flat yet?

Rupert: No, not yet. I’ll probably wait on it another year. I’m more [staying] at home at the moment.

AGW: Do you think that you’ll ever move here to L.A.?

Rupert: It’s definitely a possibility. I do like it over here, it is pretty cool, but I don’t know. I think I’d miss all the people at home, so I don’t know, I’ll have to see.

AGW: Then you would have to drive on the other side of the road and re-learn to drive!

Rupert: Yeah, I know. I’ve never done it, no. I don’t think I’m looking forward to it.

AGW: Were there any funny stories behind the scenes when you and Julie were stuck in the car in this film?

Rupert: I had to drive down this road and then park it on this hill, and down the hill just about five feet away was our camera crew and they were filming the front of the car, and in the scene, we had to get out of the car and do something. I drive up and we all get out of the car and I forgot to put the handbrake on, the parking brake, and this car started to go down towards the crew, that was quite a close call. I had to dive into the car and put the brake on, that was kind of scary.

AGW: You were younger making this film. So, were you driving in the movie without a license?

Rupert: [grins] Ah, yeah, but only on private roads. They didn’t trust me on major roads. There’s a load of ways to get around it, like I had a driving double. We had this guy over there wearing a ginger wig who just sort of drove around all these roads, so that was quite strange.

AGW: When you think about your future, do you think about a certain genre of movie like an action hero movie, or a heavy drama? What would you love to be in?

Rupert: I’m pretty open. I haven’t really given it that much thought. I have always sort of liked comedy films, I don’t know, anything really.

AGW: I remember you saying before you worked on the last ‘Potter’ movie how you were looking forward to the Dementors. Is there something in the next movie that you’re looking forward to seeing how they do it?

Rupert: Yeah, there’s a lot of really cool scenes in this one actually. We’re just doing all the major fight scenes and little death eaters and Lord Voldemort comes back. It’s a lot darker this one, so it should be good.

AGW: But is there no “Weasley is Our King” in the new movie? [Note: In the book, Ron gets to play Quidditch and he’s not very good and the other houses make fun of him with a mean song but his own Gryffindor house turns the song into “Weasley is Our King”]

Rupert: No. That whole Quidditch thing it didn’t sort of come about. But it’s such a big book they can’t get everything in. I was a little bit disappointed, next year probably.

AGW: Ron is afraid of spiders, what are you afraid of?

Rupert: Yeah, I’m the same, I’m afraid of spiders, yeah. I hate spiders.

AGW: You’re not afraid of girls?

Rupert: Girls? Yeah… No, not really.

AGW: Are you worried who’s going to die in book seven?

Rupert: Yeah, there’s a lot of rumors going ‘round but I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind, it’s alright, because you can always come back as a ghost so it’s not too bad.


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