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Rupert Grint Talks About “Driving Lessons”

Rupert Grint Takes a Break from “Harry Potter” to Star in an Independent Film

Rupert Grint stars as Ben, the straitlaced 17-year-old son of an overly religious mother and a vicar, in Driving Lessons written and directed by Jeremy Brock. Instead of being out having fun like the other kids in his class, Ben has to spend his summer vacation taking driving lessons from his mom and attending bible class. Fortunately for Ben, his life’s turned upside down when he takes a job assisting an eccentric retired actress (played by Julie Walters).

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

Reuniting with Julie Walters: Working with Walters on Driving Lessons was a much different experience than working with Walters on the Harry Potter movies. “It’s quite different,” said Grint. “Obviously they’re completely different characters. It was actually really good having Julia there because I knew her before in the Harry Potter films. We were only filming for like six weeks [and] 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.”

Grint says it was a bit strange seeing Walters take on a character so unlike Harry Potter’s Molly Weasley. “It was, yeah, especially with all the swearing and that. Some of it was quite shocking. The first scene we rehearsed was the camping scene when she swallows the key. She’s very funny, and she’s really cool.”

Adventures in Driving: “I had to drive down this road and then park it on this hill. Down the hill, just about five feet away, was our camera crew and they were just filming the front of the car. And in the scene, you had to get out of the car and do something, I can’t remember now, but I drive up and we all get out of the car and I forgot to put the handbrake on, the parking brake on and the 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.”

Grint didn’t get his driver’s license until after he’d finished the film, which meant he was driving around without a license. “Yeah, only on private roads,” joked Grint. “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 with a ginger wig who just drove around all these roads. That was quite strange.”

On Real Life Driving Lessons: Grint now has his license and instead of tooling around in something expensive and fancy, he prefers his Mini Cooper. After what he calls an ‘embarrassing amount’ of driving lessons, he managed to pass the driving test – but not without a few hitches. “My test, I was really nervous. I failed my first one, but I passed my second attempt. It was quite scary.”

What portion of the test did he fail? “I was doing a three-point-turn, and I didn’t look over my shoulder or something. Something stupid like that.”

Rupert Grint Gets the Girl in Driving Lessons: “Actually I was really dreading that scene,” confessed Grint. “I was really nervous because, obviously, you’re in a tiny set and the whole crew is watching you. 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.”

Ben from Driving Lessons vs Harry Potter’s Ron: Which character is more like the real Rupert Grint? “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.”

Going From a Huge Production to an Independent Film: The difference between working on a Harry Potter movie and Driving Lessons is like night and day. Even the trailers are smaller on an independent film. “Obviously because it’s a smaller budget, you notice the few differences like that. I’m used to like having a dressing room and stuff like that, 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 going around London, and it was really good fun though.”

Original article found here: | October 18th, 2006

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