Rupert Grint has been inextricably linked to the role of Ron Weasley, the title character’s best friend in the Harry Potter movie franchise, but there was a period of time — after the release of the fourth film — where he very seriously considered giving it up, The Metro is reporting.
Now 30, Grint was just an 11-year-old boy from the English city of Harlow when he was thrust into the role that would change his life, and not necessarily for the better. Sure, there was the unimaginable amount of money he was making, and the adoration of fans the world over.
But, he says, the fame had also cut into his personal life. By the end of the fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rupert was 17. At an age when most British kids are going out with their friends and generally being teenagers — not to mention looking towards their plans for after high school — Grint had basically become a prisoner of Ron Weasley.
“It’s almost like having a split personality, sometimes it can be quite dehumanising to have people just taking pictures of you when you’re out, to them, you are just this one thing, it’s a weird existence, but that’s my life.”
While he loves Harry Potter fans the world over, he says that they can be a bit too, shall we say, enthusiastic, often accosting him in the streets when he tried to go out in public.
I feel bad for the kid who gets a Ron Weasley doll for Christmas pic.twitter.com/EHbimOe1Kc
— Mordant Muppetry (@MordantMuppetry) October 14, 2018
Fans in England, he said, were generally polite and would beg Grint for a selfie and be on their way. But while filming portions of Goblet of Fire in Spain, he learned that the Spanish fans were a little more invested.
“They want a conversation and a bit of a chat. More of an interaction, which is quite nice.”
And though he treasured the enthusiasm of the Spanish fans, they also made him realize that he would be Ron Weasley for the next several years, whether he wanted that or not. So, he says, he considered hanging it up.
“I had just finished my GCSEs, I thought ‘Do I actually want to keep doing this’… There were times when I was like, ‘I’m done.'”
GCSEs, for those not familiar, are a set of exams British teenagers take at age 16.
Of course, Rupert stuck with it, and he considers himself better for it.
Unlike his costars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, who have gone on to have accomplished careers in the movie industry, Rupert has been content to fly under the radar, taking smaller roles here and there and raising money for charity.