GRINT ON FIRE
Rupert Grint talks trees, kissing Daniel Radcliffe and being on fire. And these are all facts from England’s most laid back young actor…
PORTRAITS LORENZO AGIUS
When asked what kind of relationship with Grint, Tom Felton does not hesitate to say, “‘Rupert is the most laid-back person you’ve ever met. You might tell him that his scene has been pushed back for three hours and he’ll be fine and mutter: “I’ll just play ping pong for a few more hours. He’s unfazed by the fans and the fuss but he remains a ferociously talented actor. He has expert timing and delivery with no effort whatsoever.’
“It’s really hard to hate him,” adds Daniel Radcliffe, who also explained that while Grint used to be a chatterbox when they first met in Philosopher’s Stone, these days he’s not a man of many words.
When TFI came to interview the actor who created some controversy by appearing in Cherrybomb (released earlier this year), a journalist that had a turn before us reported that all of her 35 questions were answered in 15 minutes. But before we could panic, we were called in. Inside, Rupert sat on an armchair. He rose to shake our had. We greeted him cheerfully because, honestly, this was the interview we had been waiting for. This immediately put him at ease. It’s true that he doesn’t rattle off 650-word answer to a question, a la Radcliffe, but our questions made him laugh.
So here’s the trick: don’t ask 35 things that will make him feel interrogated by the police. Make him relax. Pepper the questions with “oh really?” and “surely not?” and he will sit back, fiddle with the laces on his beloved Converse, while giving us the most interesting facts and anecdotes…
What was it like having Dan study you, to mimic you for the Seven Potters?
Yeah, it was really good, actually.
James and Oliver Phelps said he discovered things they never knew about themselves…
I know, I’m the same… I’ve got quite a complex about it now, actually. He discovered the fact that I kind of really move my hips, my pelvis, when I walk… I never was really that aware of it until he started kind of mimicking it… yeah, it’s really a… kind of Elvis kind of movement.
And this time around you have a whole new Weasley, your big brother, Bill. What was it like, acquiring Domhnall Gleeson?
Oh, yeah, it was brilliant. Domhnall, it’s quite an unusual name. He fitted into the family. He was great. It was surprising that we haven’t kind of met him earlier on, really. I suppose he’s been away but it was great to finally meet him. It was quite strange kind of how… to try and create that illusion of a relationship that’s like I’ve known him all my life. But he’s such a nice guy. We have a kind of chemistry, I suppose… He kind of looks like all of us, as well.
When do we first get to meet him?
Let’s think… I think it’s first at the wedding…
So, about about the wedding… we’ve heard reports that Ron is jealously watching Hermione and Krum. Are you dancing as well?
The wedding is actually interrupted, crashed really early on. So Ron doesn’t get a chance to dance. I’m please about this, that I’ve managed to kind of escape all the dancing. I’m quite relieved about that. The wedding scene is really fun, it’s good to see all these kind of Weasley ancestors and aunties and stuff. Everyone dressed up.
Poor Ron is out of his ridiculous hand-me-downs and dreadful clothes, of course! Because we’ve seen pictures of when you all Apparate to…
Piccadilly, yes. I think we got off quite well, really.
This time they’ve given you more deep, emotional stuff. How hard was it to do Ron’s jealousy and falling out with Harry?
Yeah, it was good. It was, I suppose, a different kind of side to Ron in this film. We don’t really see Ron kind of, um, turn against his friends that often. He really does have doubts with Harry’s ability and the fact that we’re not really getting anywhere with these Horcruxes kind of fuels that. He’s a bit jealous, as well, because he sees Hermione and Harry together, and he’s just not having a great time. It kind of erupts into a this bit of an argument. Those scenes are really quite good fun, actually. Whenever me and Dan are shouting at each other… it’s always great.
How about his breakdown at hearing Hermione being tortured by Bellatrix?
Yeah, that was quite a disturbing scene to film, because while we were filming it, they were playing audio of Emma screaming, and she was kind of really in pain, and it was quite horrible to hear… it’s going to be quite an intense scene.
Then there’s Ron’s great moment: when he rescues his boy and is completely terrified by the image of Voldemort as Harry and Hermione kissing…
Yeah, it’s going to be cool, actually.
What an evil thing to show Ron!
It’s quite a major part for Ron in Part One, particularly, ’cause this is kind of when he returns…
Is Harry actually trapped under the ice?
He is, yeah, he’s trapped under the ice. And I pull him out and he gets the sword from under there and I’m there to save him. It’s a rare Ron hero moment.
That’s actually our favorite chapter in the book.
Oh, cool! It’s good, yeah.
So then, the scenes with the locket…
Yeah, I haven’t actually seen it.
You couldn’t see anything?
Because all we’ve seen is you scrabbling backwards on the floor…
Yeah, that’s it. It was quite tricky to do because there’s wind and dust blowing in my eyes, it was a bit uncomfortable.
And you haven’t actually seen Daniel kiss Emma either, then?
I’ve seen a tiny little clip…
We know everyone always asks you about kissing Emma. But how weird was it that you both had to kiss her, especially when you’ve grown up with her?
I know. I didn’t really realize that until kind of late on. It was weird. Obviously Emma’s lovely, but she’s kind of… I’ve known her ever since she was nine. It’s just weird to kind of think of her in that way.
It would’ve been just as weird as if you had to kiss Dan, perhaps!
Exactly! But I’d probably be more comfortable kissing Dan. (laughs) Well, maybe not… But yeah, it was quite strange. But it was fine… after like the third take, or something, I mean, yeah, it was easy.
Tell us a bit about your part in the epilogue.
My kids are great. The resemblance was quite… my son is unreal. He was great. He was lovely. My daughter, as well.
But Ron seems to have let go…
Yeah, I know. The way they went was quite extreme. Emma hardly changed. But I have a massive forehead, as well, which I’m still quite confused about. But I think it’ll look better later when they’re touched up.
You must’ve done a lot of abnormal things. What’s crazier for you: doing a sex scene or being in a press junket all day long?
No, but I’m kind of getting more used to this, really. The sex scene is up there, I think… it’s the weirder one.
How does a normal English bloke cope with being a sex symbol?
(laughs) I don’t know. I really don’t think of myself like that.
To keep yourself sane?
Probably, yeah, I think that’s probably the way you cope. Just don’t think about it.
So after you do these interviews, you never look back?
Pretty much. I actually find it quite difficult to kind of watch myself, as me, in interviews and stuff. I find it much easier kind of watching a film. That’s not comfortable either but it’s a lot easier than watching a interview.
Next summer, fans are going to have to go through Potter withdrawal. Any advice on how they can cope?
Well, we don’t get to keep James and Oliver, which you seem to have done…
Yah, they’re quite handy! But I think… I don’t know. Actually, go to Orlando. That was really… it’s like we’re all in Hogwarts. So I’d say probably say go there.
That’s a relatively easy way to cheer yourself up, isn’t it?
Yeah. it’s gonna be sad.
Dan has said that you are impossible to fall out with because you are ridiculously laid back. He could set fire to you, and you wouldn’t object.
(laughs) That has happened. I did catch fire, once.
What, you can’t have caught real fire?
(laughs) Yeah. In Edinburgh. It was at Edinburgh Festival. I was there or Driving Lessons and there was one of those buffets. It had loads of candles on it. And I was just standing by it and my t-shirt caught fire. I didn’t really react, to be honest, which is quite weird.
Most people would react, you know? We thought that Dan was exaggerating…
(laughs) Yeah, I know. That actually happened.
We also heard a fansite gave you a small wild cherry tree for your birthday. Are you still taking care of it?
They did, yes. I’m still watering it. It’s still alive. It’s going well! [AA/LJ]
For more of my articles in TOTAL FILM INDONESIA, buy Issue #13, November 2010.
Edited to fix typos on Monday, 22 November 2010.