“I wasn’t really looking out for anything, it just sort of came. I was doing the fourth Harry Potter film and it came up after that. I just really liked the script and it was just something really different. I’d been filming the fourth one for about eleven months and I just wanted to do something different. I love sort of being Ron, it’s just sort of good to do something different so that’s why.” (Rupert to About.com, 18 October 2006)
n June 2005, Rupert was reunited with Julie Walters on the set of Driving Lessons, having received the script while filming Goblet of Fire. Director and screenwriter Jeremy Brock, who had based the film’s script on his own experiences as a teenager, had seen Rupert in the Harry Potter films and, feeling he had been “underused” in the big franchise, had offered him the lead part of Ben Marshall alongside the Oscar-nominees Julie Walters and Laura Linney. While Driving Lessons was not the first non-Harry-Potter film offered to Rupert, it was the first he could fit into his schedule, and after meeting Jeremy Brock to discuss the character and storyline, Rupert signed up for the project. The production took place over six six-day weeks in June/July in London and Edinburgh after a week of rehearsals in London.
For one scene, Rupert was required to do salsa dancing with actress Michelle Duncan. They only had one day to learn the steps and film the scenes, but as Rupert’s character Ben was not supposed to know how to dance, it proved not to be too much of a problem.
As Rupert was only 16 during filming, it was impossible to film all scenes where his character was supposed to drive a car with Rupert himself, so he only was allowed to drive on private roads or had to be replaced by his driving/stunt double David Decio. With little experience behind the wheel, Rupert once forgot to put on the handbrake before getting out of the car for a scene, and had to dive back into the car to stop it from crashing into the film crew when it started to roll downhill.
Rupert also had to film his first kissing scene for the film, which took 15 takes and which Rupert described as very embarrassing, yet found it worse to watch it with his family later on on screen. While Rupert considered the filming of the kiss as “weird” and described Michelle as “helpful” and “really good”, Michelle mentioned that Rupert reminded her of her younger brother.
“Who knows what heights they will go on to reach? Their skill and versatility as actors suggests that they’re bound for careers every bit as remarkable as those they’ve already achieved.” (Jonathan Ross introducing Rupert and William Moseley at the BAFTAs)
At the Pride of Britain Awards on 11 October 2005, Rupert and Tom Felton presented a Special Award to Liz Carnell for her work against bullying, and a few weeks later, Rupert and William Moseley (Chronicles of Narnia) presented the BAFTA in the category Best Editing to The Constant Gardener.
In November, Rupert once again joined the Harry Potter cast for a promotional tour and attended the World Premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in London on 6 November 2005. His attendance of the Japanese Press Events was cancelled however, as his grandfather had died shortly before, and Rupert returned home to mourn with his family right after the US premiere, where he signed a teddy bear to be auctioned off for the Breast Cancer research Charity Lisa Walks.
Along with the fourth film, more awards came in: Following a nomination for Rupert, Emma and Daniel as Best On-Screen Team at the MTV Movie Awards, the Harry Potter films received a Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema at the Empire Awards.
On 1 January 2006, Rupert appeared on a New Year’s Day TV Special of the Generation Fame Game alongside his grandfather Chris. Recorded on 7 December 2005, Rupert and Chris played the game to win money for the charity of their choice and prizes for members of the audience, with Rupert showing his talents in pottery and rope-skipping.
“I’ll tell you Ron isn’t really either of those two. I really liked doing these scenes because they were really good fun and there was a really good atmosphere on the set and we got to do loads of stunts as well, which was really cool. Yeah, and I got pulled back on a wire because me and Hermione have a duel… Yeah… so yeah, I really enjoyed these scenes.” (Rupert at the Press conference for OOTP, 23 June 2007)
When Driving Lessons celebrated its World Premiere at the Dublin Film Festival on 21 February 2006, Rupert was once again back on the set of Harry Potter, ow filming the fifth film of the franchise, Order of the Phoenix, directed by David Yates, who happened to be a friend of Jeremy Brock.
In March, Rupert interrupted filming and headed to Rome, Italy with James and Oliver Phelps to attend a Harry Potter Movie Marathon.
Rupert once again enjoyed filming Harry Potter, despite the fact that the Quidditch scenes had been cut due to time contraints. Instead, Rupert’s favourite scenes were those involving Dumbledore’s Army and the Christmas scene as “it involved all the Weasleys” giving out presents. Not having been in many stunt-involving scenes on Goblet of Fire, Rupert was happy to once again doing several stunts on his own, including the flight on Thestrals, which was filmed with the actors hung up in a harness. Being the worst giggler on set, a scene involving the line “Who else wants a fistful of Weasley” was never completed as the cast never made it through the scene without laughing.
In addition to the film, Rupert also supplied Ron’s voice for the videogame for Order of the Phoenix.
“I can’t really recall if she smelled a bit farty, but I can remember a few expletives coming out of Prince Philip’s mouth. I think he then fell asleep at some point.”(Rupert about meeting Queen Elisabeth II and her husband, Live 2009)
While filming Order of the Phoenix, the main cast also spent some time filming a small scene which would be part of a play called “The Queen’s Handbag” directed by Claire Popplewell and Ben Warwick, that would be part of Queen Elizabeth II‘s 80th birthday party, the “Children’s Party at the Palace“, at Buckingham Palace on 25 June 2006 and was broadcast live on BBC1 and CBBC.
2000 children aged 4 to 14 were selected to attend the party, and Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Matthew Lewis and J.K. Rowling joined them, sitting in the royal box in front of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip during the play.
On 15 July, Rupert appeared as Mystery Person in the Question of Sport show, imitating a scene with Tom Cruise from The Glory of Money as pool hustler.
In August, Rupert began his promotional work for Driving Lessons, which was released in the UK on 4 September, revealing that his grandmother did not approve of the swearing in the film.
Promotion for Driving Lessons also included his first photoshoots unrelated to Harry Potter, such as the Parade and the Tribeca shoot. Rupert also revealed for the first time that he considered himself a shy person and that he enjoyed acting because he could hide behind another character.
“Part of me was quite glad that he was named and shamed, but it was quite a tricky time, because he was a close mate.” (Rupert about the events following his 18th birthday, Live 2009)
Shortly after Driving Lessons was screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Rupert celebrated his 18th birthday on 24 August 2006. Having invited the band The Somethings to play at his coming-of-age birthday party, it was revealed that Rupert picked up a guitar and played Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. Being a fan of rock music, Rupert had been trying to learn to play the guitar, but revealed that he could only play about two songs.
Sadly, however, a close friend of Rupert was accused of a “sex act” with an under-age partygoer at the party, which eventually put an end to their friendship.
“My test, I was really nervous. I failed my first one, but I passed my second attempt. It was quite scary.” (Rupert on About.com, 18 October 2006)
In between filming Order of the Phoenix and promoting Driving Lessons, Rupert found the time to take lessons at a local driving school. After “too many” lessons, Rupert failed his driving test on his first attempt after forgetting to check the mirror at a three-point turn. He passed on his second attempt, however, and headed over to the US in October to promote the film Driving Lessons with his drivers licence in his pocket and a little black Mini Cooper waiting for him at home, which he had bought himself as his dad had recommended a sensible car as his first car.
Among other festivals such as Tribeca, Driving Lessons was also screened at the Moscow International Film Festival, where Rupert received a nomination for the Golden St. George Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of Ben Marshall.
After returning to Leavesden Studios, Rupert completed filming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on 12 December 2006, just in time for Christmas.
“It has two windows on the side which you can open. There’s even a little kitchen in the back and of course a huge refrigerator. I don’t know really, somehow I’ve always been interested in the ice cream industry in general. So I love driving around now, listening to the ‘Arctic Monkeys’. Only sometimes I feel a bit guilty when I see all these disappointed children outside because I’m not selling ice cream.”
Having passed his driving test, Rupert also fulfilled his childhood dream and bought himself an ice cream van, an old 1974 “Mr. Whippy” Bedford CF, with a freezer in the back and a soft ice machine. Keeping his van fully-stocked, Rupert bought more accessoires for his van on eBay, including light-up ice cream scones, and decked it out with teletubby stickers.
Rupert later on bought not only a golf buggy, but also an orange Range Rover for which he received teasing from his friends because the colour matched his ginger hair.
As Rupert had repeatedly said during interviews starting back in 2001, he had always hoped to play Ron Weasley in all the Harry Potter films and had always been the first of the cast to state that he would return for the next film. In June 2007, Warner Bros. made the official announcement that Rupert, Daniel and Emma were signed up for the last two adaptations of the franchise.
Only a few weeks later, the cast celebrated the World Premiere of the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, on 28 June 2007 in London, followed by promotional interviews and a press conference.
A few days later, Rupert and Emma continued their promotional tour to Paris before crossing the Atlantic for the premiere in Los Angeles.
“This is amazing. I can’t believe… This is just so incredible. It’s such a… I’m shaking out there, I was so nervous. It’s a real honour and I’m just really, I’m really proud to be a part of this, so it’s really cool. Thanks!” (Rupert at HWF Ceremony)
On 9 July, a day after the US Premiere, Rupert joined Emma and Daniel at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles to be immortalised: The three left the imprints of their hands, wands and feet in stone cement, in the presence of hundreds of fans and press representatives.
In late 2007, Rupert was nominated at the British National Movie Awards in the category Best Male Performance for his portrayal of Ronald Weasley in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but lost out on his co-star Daniel Radcliffe – which Rupert described as “I probably expect him to beat me, obviously, but it’s just real fun, so it’s cool.”
In the weeks following its worldwide cinematical release, the fifth Harry Potter installment became the second-highest grossing film of the franchise, and catapulted the Harry Potter series to the top of the most successful franchises of all times, bypassing the Lord of the Rings, the James Bond and the Star Wars series.