Swapping higher education for Hogwarts, pocket money for pay packets and school corridors for red carpets, Rupert Grint’s childhood was anything but regular.
And after 10 years in the hit Harry Potter movies, the young star earned enough money never to have to work again.
Exactly how much money, though, is a good question – Rupert says he doesn’t have a clue.
While he and his co-star Emma Watson are estimated to each have been paid around £25million for the eight films, he still, to this day, reckons he does not know the full amount.
“It was kind of ridiculous what we got,” he says.
“And I must admit I don’t actually know how much I earned – the exact number.
“I’ve always known it was kinda ‘there’, and I’ve got quite an active involvement in stuff like that now, but I don’t really know the exact figures. And I’ve never really wanted to.
“I’m quite a laid-back person and not overly ambitious, really.”
He may have no burning desire to top the annual Forbes rich list but Rupert has not done too shabbily for a man of 26.
With two multi-million pound companies to his name – Clay 10 and Eevil Plan Properties – he probably won’t be claiming benefits any time soon.
But with overnight childhood celebrity, came teenage angst.
He struggled to weed out genuine friends from hangers-on and, similarly, he got stung by girls who only wanted to date him for his fame and wealth.
He says with a sigh: “It was a tricky thing. You’d always worry whether it was a genuine thing – and I think that goes with any kind of relationship, even friendships.
“It took me a while to figure out whether someone was genuine or they had ulterior motives.
“I’ve had a few bad experiences and it was tricky because I left school at quite a pivotal time, in Year 7, when you’re just making friends and stuff.
“So whenever I came back, bonds I had made before had all got a little bit weird.
“I did lose a few friends but on the whole it’s all been pretty good.”
With three homes and a bank balance most of us can only dream of, the down-to-earth star reluctantly admits he need never work again.
So why does he? And why choose the stage which, as every actor knows, invariably pays the Equity equivalent of minimum wage?
“I just love what I do, trying new things and scaring myself once in a while,” he explains.
“I loved doing the Potter films but it’s so nice to try different characters and explore different things. It’s been weird since Potter finished, adapting to life now. It was such a huge part of us.
“For now I am just enjoying being free. It was a bubble world, and quite suffocating. A bit like a school, really. Now I’m out I still feel there are things I want to do.”
One of these things, of course, is make his debut on Broadway.
On Thursday, the Essex-born star, incredibly polite and gentle-mannered in real life, takes to the stage in Terrence McNally’s farce It’s Only a Play.
Starring alongside such Tony and Oscar-winning luminaries as Matthew Broderick (Mr Sarah Jessica Parker), Homeland star F Murray Abraham and The West Wing’s Stockard Channing, he is, understandably, a little nervous.
Living out his formative years on the big screen, and becoming a household name in the process, Rupert also feels burdened by the weight of expectation.
“It’s very scary,” he admits. “Broadway does feel like a much bigger event and I know there’s a lot of expectation.
“I do feel under pressure. I feel like I’ve got quite a bit to prove. I am out of my comfort zone here and am the least experienced out of everyone on stage.
“During the first few days in rehearsals I was really intimidated because it’s quite a group of people. But there are no big egos. Being on stage is a real team thing, and everyone has been great, really cool. I
just feel really lucky to be a part of it.”
Playing Frank Finger, a barnstorming wunderkind theatre director, his latest role is a world away from amiable, bumbling Ron Weasley. “I basically play a psychopath,” he says. No doubt Professor Snape would have had a field day.
Rupert had no formal acting training but was cast in Harry Potter: The Philosopher’s Stone at 11 after sending in a video of himself rapping to children’s show Newsround. He made the final movie, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, when he was 22.
In 2002 he won his first leading role in British comedy Thunderpants, four years ago he co-starred with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt in Wild Target, then his first major post-Hogwarts project was a 2012 anti-war film, Into the White.
Last year he made his West End debut in Jez Butterworth’s play Mojo and his latest movie, Charlie Countryman, is out at the end of this month.
Despite the obvious lure of Hollywood – and he is chatting from a rented apartment in Manhattan – Rupert has no plans to up sticks and leave the UK for good.
“I like England – it’s my home,” he says.
Helping him feel at home in the Big Apple is a new addition to the Grint household – a tortoise called Madeleine. She’s not named after anyone in particular (no money-grabbing ex-girlfriend?) – she “just looked like a Maddie”.
When I ask him about a current girlfriend, there is an awkward pause.
Refusing to crack, I stay silent until poor Rupert fills the silence with a giggle and “Erm, no… well, not really, er, yeah…”.
When I suggest it’s early days, he laughs, and confirms, “Yes, early days maybe”. Rupert is not your typical former child star. With no stint in rehab or quarter-life crisis, he is by all accounts incredibly popular with anyone he has ever worked with.
In the words of his co-star Broderick: “He is really sweet… so hardworking and diligent, and to see a young fellow get his first Broadway shot is just a pleasure to watch.”
But now that he is all grown-up, the actor is busy getting serious. Despite attending a Catholic primary school, St Joseph’s in Hertford, he has recently been toying with different religious ideas.
He’s read evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins’s bestseller The God Delusion and says: “Religion is something which has always fascinated me. I went to a Catholic primary school but I’m not a Catholic.
“But I was quite a god-fearing little boy. They instilled it in me. I mean, the stories were always so terrifying.
“And then when I grew up a bit I kind of realised there are other things out there, and other theories.
“What I believe now changes all the time but I’d never say I was a complete atheist, or unaccepting of anything.
“I’m kind of struggling with that. I don’t know, it just fascinates me, the universe in general.”
Speaking of exploring the planet, Rupert is keen to take some time off next year and head off on holiday.
“I’m exhausted,” he admits. “But at the moment, I can’t really think much beyond this time next week.”
So how does he switch off?
“Drawing,” he smiles. “I’d like to go into animation one day. I draw a lot, a lot of disturbing cartoons – it helps me unwind.
“I also have a couple of weird, pre-show rituals which I’ve only recently noticed. I blow bubbles.
“You know – those little pots of bubbles you got as a kid. Blowing bubbles is just the most relaxing thing before a show.
“My character also wears a lot of make-up so putting my eyeliner – or guyliner – on has become a bit of a ritual too. I’m getting quite good at it.”
As he is at this whole acting lark, it seems…
Original article found here:mirror.co.uk | October, 3rd 2014