“Rupert is not with us. He is in a happier place called ‘Rupertland’. He’s a little like Chauncey Gardiner from ‘Being There’. Is he a genius… or is he a fool?” (Alfonso Cuarón about Rupert on Entertainment Weekly, 11 June 2004)
hen filming of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban began on 17 February 2003, it was clear that director Alfonso Cuarón would take a different route and make a darker film that the previous two had been.
To have the three leads delve into their characters’ emotions, Cuarón asked them to write an essay from a first-person point of view about their respective characters. While Emma wrote a 16-page essay, Daniel filled only one page with a short summary. Rupert, however, did not hand in anything, having completely forgotten about it, but was forgiven by Cuarón because “that’s what Ron would have done, too”.
Over the course of the production, Cuarón repeatedly asked the actors to use their own ideas to create their characters, a challenge the young actors enjoyed since they were starting to see their job in a more serious light than before.
Just as he did on Chamber of Secrets, Rupert enjoyed filming his own stunts and named the scene where Ron is being pulled into the tunnel by Sirius Black as his favourite despite the fact that he “ate a lot of grass” while filming this scene.
“There’s a lot of awkward hand-holding moments which is a bit weird but it is fun to do! And there were a few hugs as well which didn’t make the final cut – there was a lot of that sort of stuff.” (Rupert on CBBC Newsround, 28 May 2004)
Another topic of the film was the growing relationship between Ron and Hermione, and filming the hand-holding moments and hug scenes was awkward for both Rupert and Emma.
During filming, Rupert became interested in a new hobby: Having a grandfather, father and friends on and off set who played golf, Rupert joined his cast and crew mates on the golf course while filming in Scotland and picked up what he called a “good way of chilling out” and which would become one of his main hobbies in the future. Back at Leavesden studios, Rupert and Dan even tried to build a crazy golf course, including a six-foot windmill built out of massive cardboard boxes.
When filming finished on 23 November 2003, Rupert was allowed to take home the two rats who played Scabbers in the film, to the displeasure of his father, who does not like rats.
On 9 October, a painting of Rupert was auctioned off to raise money for Kith and Kids Charity, a charity caring for children with disabilities.
“Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films was playing Molesworth and I think it’s fair to say that everyone involved (myself included) were all overexcited about the fact. Even though Rupert was, in every respect, just a shy 15 year old, he managed to reduce much more experienced actors to quivering wrecks.” (Emma Kennedy about working with Rupert on her Blog)
Two days after the official wrap of the third Harry Potter, Rupert was busy with yet another project, and recorded the radio play Baggy Trousers. Based on Geoffrey Willan’s book Down With Skool, Rupert gave his voice to the narrator and title character Nigel Molesworth under the direction of Elizabeth Freestone, with actors like Chris Langham, Emma Kennedy and Dave Lamb lending their voices to the additional characters. Baggy Trousers aired on 25 December 2003 and 1 January 2004 on BBC Radio4.
Shortly after recording Baggy Trousers, Rupert had his first job as presenter of an award: At the BAFTA Awards Ceremony, Rupert made a speech honoring his Harry-Potter mum Julie Walters and awarded her with a Special Tribute Award.
“I liked the sort of social side of it, and my mates, and that. But, um, it was just the learning thing; it was just—I just didn’t find a subject I could really—except for art. I really got on there, but—. And if I could do anything— ’cause I can always go back. I mean, I did my final exams, and left when I was sixteen. I can always go back and do a course in something, but I can’t really see it.” (Groucho Reviews, 18 October 2006)
Not being given any special treatment at school for being in the Harry Potter films, Rupert had to spend several hours in detention for not having completed his homework when he returned after filming the third Harry Potter.
Despite having preferred the on-set tutoring as there were fewer distractions, Rupert found in hard to balance school and filming, and, having already been signed up to star in the fourth Harry Potter film, Rupert’s return to school was neccessary to complete his education and take his GCSEs in May/June 2004. Having chosen to pursue his career in acting, Rupert had decided to leave school and focus on his films.
When the World Premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban took place on 23 May 2004 in New York, Rupert surprised everyone with a new hair-do. Claiming that he did not have the time to cut his hair between filming and taking his GCSEs, Rupert revealed that he had been asked to keep his long hair for the upcoming film and was not allowed to cut it.
Taking a break from the promotional work, Rupert attended a Zootopia concert while in New York along with James and Oliver Phelps.
While the third film of the franchise made its way towards a spot among the Top Twenty of All Time Box Office films, the cast returned to Leavesden for the fourth production. Before filming began, director Mike Newell had organised a “workshop” for the cast over several weeks, where the young actors were asked to do improvisations. Rupert teamed up a lot with newcomer Robert Pattinson, who said “We did a bonding week where we made fools of ourselves doing lots of improvising. I paired up with Rupert a lot.”
“I had to try to teach Rupert to dance the other day. That was pretty strenuous.” (Maggie Smith, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire DVD)
Never having taken any dancing lessons, Rupert was glad to skip the dancing scenes for the Yule Ball, however, he had to put up with being teased by James and Oliver Phelps for having to waltz with Maggie Smith.
Despite playing a grumpy and moody Ron in the Yule Ball scene, Rupert considered this as one of the best scenes to film, because it felt as if the “Weird Sisters” were giving a private concert for the cast and crew.
For the underwater sequence of the Second Task, Rupert needed to have a cast of his face made, which “felt awful and took forever to dry”.
On 2 January 2005, the BBC aired Happy Birthday, Peter Pan, a documentary celebrating the 100th birthday of J.M. Barrie’s story. Directed by Roy Ackerman and Mary Dickinson, Rupert voiced Peter Pan in the hour-long production, being the narrator alongside Jane Horrocks as Tinkerbell.
“It’s wicked because I sort of started out quite young when I was 11 and it’s such a good experience, it’s really good fun so it’s good to see like younger ones as well getting into film.” (Rupert on The Scotsman)
On 23 February, Rupert, who had now more than 5 years worth of film business experience under his belt, attended the First Light Film Awards, where young filmmakers were honoured for their work.
Picking up his support for Charities, Rupert spent the early months of 2005 attending various events to raise money:
He participated in the Bogies Game on the show Dik and Dom in da Bungalow for Red Nose Day on 7 March 2005, where the participants took turns in shouting “Bogies!” and being louder than their opponent before. Rupert and Sarah Cox lost in the final to Dik and Dom.
In April, Rupert joined other celebrities in the Go for the Pin Contest at the Floating Green Golf Show for a hole-in-one equivalent of £100,000, which were given to the winner’s charity of choice, and he attended the Comedy Night with Peter Kay raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust on 15 April.
When filming for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire officially wrapped on 18 March, Rupert and his on-screen siblings Bonnie Wright, James and Oliver Phelps had sent a postcard to their on-screen mum Julie Walters saying “We miss you, Dad can’t control us” as she did not have to film any scenes for the fourth film. In contrast to the other Weasley children, however, Rupert would be reunited with Julie before the production of the fifth Harry Potter…