Rupert Grint may have played the role of a lifetime in the famed Harry Potter franchise. But the actor says it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies.
Now 34 years old, the British actor, who found global stardom starring as Harry Potter’s best friend Ron Weasley from 2001 to 2011, said the experience was “suffocating” at times. He was an 11-year-old theater kid growing up an hour north of London when he was cast. The role had cinematic parallels with his real life: redheads with “R” names and being one of five siblings was almost too perfect of a fit.
In an interview with Bustle released Monday (January 30), Grint said he felt the “difficulty of being seen, being overshadowed. In the movies, we merged into one. By the end of it, I was playing myself. The lines were blurred.” To this day, if someone calls him Ron, “I answer to it,” he admits with a laugh. “It’s my second name.”
Trying to find his place in the acting world post-Harry Potter was tricky for Rupert because he wasn’t sure he wanted to keep acting. “Potter was so full on — [filming] all year, then we’d promote the rest of the time. It was quite suffocating,” he says. “I wanted a break, to reflect on everything… It was an out-of-body experience for a while, but I think we finished at the right time. If we continued, it could’ve gone downhill.”
Growing up in the public eye also brought a “competitive element” into play among his Potter co-stars. “‘Who’s doing what?’ people contrasting our careers. We’re all completely different and going along different paths,” he said of Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. “I’ve always felt there was this expectation for us to go off the rails, follow the child star stereotype,” he added. “That’s always been something to fight against.”
Grint’s recent acting credits include starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s Apple TV+ thriller Servant, in which he plays the brother of a woman shaken by the death of her baby who creepily copes by raising a doll. The series is in its fourth season.
Grint will also be seen on the big screen acting alongside Dave Bautista in another M. Night Shyamalan horror project titled Knock at the Cabin. The flick hits theaters this Friday, February 3.