ur story begins on a Wednesday, the 24 August 1988, when a young boy was born as the first child of the young couple Nigel and Joanna Grint née Parsons in Stevenage in Hertfortshire, England.
Christened Rupert Alexander Lloyd Grint, barely anyone could imagine that this young boy would one day live up to the name that his parents had pulled out of a hat – for the name ‘Rupert’ means ‘bright fame’.
“My family and I are quite close. It’s been quite life-changing for everyone really. It’s been quite an adjustment. There are some good perks.” (Rupert on The Independent April 2010)
While his grandmother is half-Irish, the rest of Rupert’s family are English. One of his grandfathers served as a member of the Royal Air Force during the second World War. Rupert’s grandfather Chris sells Formula 1 memorabilia, a job picked up by Chris’ son and Rupert’s father Nigel after he had retired from Rally driving. Rupert’s mother Jo stayed at home to take care of the growing family: Rupert’s brother James was born in 1990, and his sisters Georgina (1993), Samantha (1996) and Charlotte (1999) followed suit.
Rupert grew up to be very close with his family, and enjoyed being an older brother. During their holidays on the Isle of Wight in the 1990ies, Rupert, James and Georgina spent their time exploring the island and enjoyed visiting the Blackgang Chine theme park, but the family also made it through a holdiay at a caravan park with leaky roofs and cramped conditions shortly after Samantha’s birth.
“Everyone to be ginger would be good. A ginger world, that would be cool.” (Rupert, Half Blood Prince DVD 2009)
Due to his ginger hair, Rupert’s grandfather used to call him ‘ginge’ or ‘copper knob’, and Rupert would grow up to be very proud of his haircolour, being only mildly teased about his hair while he was a child.
Sharing his family’s passion for football and cars, Rupert soon became interested in Formula 1 races, and has been a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs (‘Spurs’) football team since he was born, his great-grandfather even having a fix spot in a box at the stadion at White Hart Lane.
The first book young Rupert read was Each Peach Pear Plum by Allen and Janet Ahlberg, however, he did not become an avid reader, but prefered comics and watching TV, his favourites being Spongebob Squarepants and Bart Simpson. His favourite actor was Jim Carrey, with his favourite film being The Grinch. Young Rupert was also scared of the dark and, like the rest of his family, terribly arachnophobic.
His dream job as a child, however, was rather unusual: Rupert was hoping to become an ice cream man.
Rupert attended a catholic primary school before beginning his secondary education in 1999 at Richard Hale School in Hertfort, a boys’ school founded on 16 April 1617. His favourite subjects were art, chemistry and German, and he enjoyed participating in several school plays.
Also a member of the local Top Hat Stage School, an acting school for children, Rupert gained even more acting experience by starring in various plays there, such as a fish in Noah’s Ark, a donkey in a nativity play, a chorus player in Cinderella, a rooster in Annie and as Rumpel in Rumpelstiltskin.
“Before I knew there was going to be a film. I was the biggest Harry Potter fan. I read all the books.” (Rupert, Chamber of Secrets Ultimate Edition DVD)
While not really an avid reader, Rupert and the rest of his family had become fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series by 1999, and Rupert had taken a particular liking to the character Ron Weasley, with whom he shared his red hair, his love for sweets, his arachnophobia, and who also came from a big family.
When 11-year-old Rupert saw a report on CBBC’s Newsround about upcoming castings for a Harry Potter film, he could not know that his life would soon be changed forever.
Hoping to be allowed to play the part of Ron Weasley in the films, Rupert followed the report’s instructions and sent his application form and pictures to the casting team. After several months of waiting in vain for a reply, Rupert noticed in an online discussion that other children had submitted videotapes, and decided to do the same.
“Hello there, My name is Rupert Grint,
I hope you like this and don’t think I stink!” (Rupert on Regis & Kelly 2009)
Filmed by his mother, his video featured Rupert dressed in a skirt pretending to be his drama teacher in a sketch, Rupert performing a rap song written by himself about how much he wanted the role, and Rupert reading some of Ron Weasley’s lines from the book.
The video had the desired result, and soon after, Rupert was invited by the casting team to audition for the part. Over the course of “four or five auditions”, Rupert had proven himself to the casting team.
“For Rupert, for Ron Weasley, same sort of situation happened. He immediately popped off the screen. Rupert is a very shy kid, but he had this devilish, mischievous quality, and he had a face that I’ve never seen before. I mean he was just unique, in his face was just a wealth of all these emotions.” (Chris Columbus, Philosopher’s Stone Ultimate Edition DVD, December 2009)
A screentest together with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, who were being considered for the parts of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, followed on 9 August 2000.
When Rupert was once again invited to come to the producer’s office, he assumed to go to another audition – instead, he and Emma Watson were told by director Chris Columbus that they had been chosen to play Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter films, with Rupert having beat out 40.000 other applicants for the part of Ron Weasley. To get to know each other, Rupert and Dan took a walk on the same day.
A new chapter in Rupert’s life had begun…