How We Met: Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis

'He gave me a bit of stick for the kissing scene with Emma, as he had a little thing with her'

Matthew Lewis 23

A film, television and stage actor, Lewis (right in picture) is best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films; he has since appeared in TV drama 'The Syndicate'. He lives in Yorkshire

Dan [Radcliffe], Rupert and Emma [Watson] were already splashed over the newspapers by the time I came to my first Harry Potter [script] readthrough, when I was about 11. It was daunting at that age, like having your first day at school.

He was quite an enigma, as he didn't talk much about himself – he still doesn't – but he liked to have fun. In our spare time we hung out a lot in his room, where he had a pool table and a dartboard with a picture of Saddam Hussein stuck on. Then we'd spend hours exchanging endless obscure Alan Partridge quotes.

Rupert was great at making everyone laugh on set. There was one scene in which he had to come on and say, "Back off, unless you want a fistful of Weasley," which was a direct quote from the book. But Rupert couldn't say it, and he broke out in an infectious laugh; every time he tried to do the scene we all got the giggles, too – until the director was like, "This just isn't working, let's scrap the line and move on." We'd wasted an entire day filming because of Rupert's laugh.

In the early films he was all about making an audience laugh, too – he has such great facial expressions. But he can be serious [in his acting], too, and he'll probably end up being one of the more bankable actors [from the franchise].

He also showed versatility in how he developed the love story [with Emma Watson's Hermione Granger]. Though when it finally came to his kiss with Emma, we ripped him for it; as attractive as she is, he was not looking forward to it.

With his red hair, he was always recognised first when we went out together; at the football, people would come up to ask for pictures. But despite all this recognition he just gets on with it.

Rupert has been paid handsomely for his job and works hard, so when he's not working he buys all this stuff people say they'd buy if they ever won the Lottery. He's got an ice-cream van, a hovercraft… all this incredible stuff. I was round his house recently and I was like, "Rupert you got an ice-rink in your house!" Once I went to pick him up, he had a lake with a swan pedalo; I wanna have a go on that.

Rupert Grint 24

Cast as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise at the age of 11, Grint starred in all eight films, as well as several independent films including the thriller 'Cherrybomb'. He lives in London

When we started filming the Potter films, we had all left school and were with one another for long periods of time. Friendships tend to emerge in that environment in an intense way.

Matt had done a few things before, such as Heartbeat, so he was already a star. When he was younger he was like a little Peter Kay, with a real Yorkshire sense of humour. He'd eat chocolate mousse and purposefully get it all over his face to make me laugh – and then I couldn't finish a scene.

Going to a WWF [wrestling] match up in Newcastle was one of our first bonding sessions – afterwards we went to McDonald's with Dan [Radcliffe] and went crazy with fries, sticking them in our ears. I'm not sure me, Matt and Dan could go there together like that now.

Even in the fourth film, poor Matt still had some crappy fat suit, prosthetic teeth and things to make his ears stick out, so people thought that was how he looked, but underneath he had changed. For me, that contrast was clearest in the final film, when he did this big speech in a courtyard and you thought, "Where did that come from?" It was a great moment.

I noticed, too, the change in public awareness – overnight he became a sex symbol and it was nice for Matt to have his moment. He gave me a bit of stick with the kissing scenes with Emma, though, as back in the day he had a little thing with her.

Moving on and doing different things was a big deal for us, as we'd spent our whole childhoods with the same people. It was hard to walk away and not get choked up, but I always knew Matt and I would stay in touch. It's great that I'll always have him to talk to about it all.

I'll never forget one moment in the work canteen when we started throwing peas at each other. They ended up flying towards a certain Slytherin's table – we always sat separately – and it escalated. I got threatened by one of the gentlemen, and there was a big chase with me, Matt and the Slytherins all round the studio. I was really quite scared as they were big guys, but he had my back.

Does Matt think I buy odd stuff? Probably, but as I've worked from such an early age, money has always been a bit weird for me and I don't know what to do with it, so I have fun with it.

As for Matt, it was great to see him playing a different role in The Syndicate – a real thug, hardcore, but he added vulnerability to it and he was very good.

Matthew Lewis stars in 'Our Boys' at the Duchess Theatre, London WC2, from Wednesday (ourboystheplay.com)

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