As Harry Potter fans everywhere begin to mourn the end of the series of films, Rupert Grint steps away from the role that made him famous half his life ago, and takes on a new challenge as a teenager caught in a whirlwind of sex, drink, drugs and crime.
“It’s a story about two teenagers growing up in Belfast who have quite a mundane life. An exotic girl meets them, they both fall for her and she’s attracted to the bad boy image, so they both have to try to impress her.”
The film has already been compared to Skins, so Rupert understands how the culture has been criticized for promoting a rebellious lifestyle to teens: “It’s quite a realistic portrayal of young people” on both skins and the film “But it’s probably a bit darker.”
As Rupert has spent the last decade in the limelight, he feels that kind of rebellion is something he’s had to sacrifice, but he doesn’t regret it, describing the last few years as amazing and showing obvious gratitude for the opportunities the fame has given him.
When asked if he feels a responsibility to act as a role model to young people, in his trademark laid-back manner he responds: “Yeah, kind of, I’m not too conscious of it. I do feel like I just have to behave and not be too controversial.” “Going out in London is hard to do, it’s the celebrity thing I don’t really buy into. You feel like the journalists are waiting for you to do something controversial like the typical child star.”
Yet, all three starlets made it through their teen years managing to avoid any of the typical revolt we’ve come to expect from child stars, and they’re all still friends. “I went to Reading (festival) last year with Dan (Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter). Going to go again this year as well, should be fun...I’m really into Arcade Fire at the moment.”
Following in the footsteps of his co-star, Rupert tackles a more adult role in Cherrybomb, with his first sex scene:
“It’s weird, really weird. Nothing prepares you for how awkward it’s gonna be. Half naked in a room – and we filmed it in someone’s house as well, with all their sheets and everything which was quite strange! But yeah, it was fine, fortunately it wasn’t a scene which was too graphic, kind of more suggestive and a bit more abstract so it was a bit easier to kind of handle. Yeah, now I’ve done it I know what I’m in for!"
“It was the first kind of real, adult role for me really so I was quite nervous about it. It did felt like a massive step, as it’s kind of away from home. We filmed it in Belfast, out of the whole comfort bubble of Harry Potter really, as I’ve known everyone there for all my life. Had to speak with a different accent, so yeah everything felt different and it took me a while to adjust to that.”
Having commented in the past about concerns that his acting might not measure up, he’s developed a new-found confidence about his abilities on entering his twenties: “When you’re working with people that have been classically and professionally trained, it makes you feel a bit...I don’t know. I’ve definitely, I’ve gained confidence really, just the more you do.”
With the final instalment of Potter films split into two parts, fans can expect a darker turn in the series “The next Harry Potter is quite a challenge, more complicated with more challenging things to do in it, so it did make me feel a bit nervous.” The first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is out in November, and the second is due in July 2011.
As this had made him his fortune, you might expect Rupert to be concerned about the work drying up, but he seems to take everything in his stride. His next project in the pipeline, will see his tackling the role of Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, the British ski-jumping record holder who became a legend for finishing last in the 1988 Winter Olympics. “He’s quite a crazy character so that would be fun, it’s not definite though, still quite early.”
“I wouldn’t mind a break, though, I haven’t had a free year for like 10 years.”
He speaks of the beginning of his career as stumbling into acting. “It’s such a hard industry to get into, kind of relies on lucky breaks. I got into it on such a fluke. I just sent in a performance to Newsround.” Rupert stood out from the crowd by sending in a video of himself rapping about the character of Ron Weasley, who he was auditioning for.
He then went to school on and off for about a year, mainly returning for exams. “I was never really the most academic person at school, there was nothing there that filled me with any passion really... I still have friends from there though. Most of my friends are from my primary school.”
Naturally, there is some concern about fans befriending him for his name:
“Some people do try and be friends because of the fame. You get used to handling people like that, they’re quite easy to spot. It’s a shame you have to be careful with everyone coz’ you just can’t trust everyone. I don’t really ever let it stifle me, though.”
It’s still difficult to think of Rupert as separate from the awkward Ron Weasley he has portrayed for so many years, but he is quite different from the character. He has obviously matured without following any sort of rebellious path that so many other child stars enter as a result of having fame so young. But Rupert seems grounded, unconcerned about maintaining a celebrity status, and genuinely interested in attempting new acting challenges. Released tomorrow, Cherrybomb sees him take on his first role so far removed from anything we’ve seen from the young actor before, and only time will tell if he can maintain a career getting roles that avoid typecasting him from the plucky young wizard his fans have grown up with.