Rupert Grint Recalls “Suffocating” Experience of Filming Harry Potter for an Entire Decade

Though he loved his time on set, Rupert Grint revealed why it sometimes felt “suffocating" to film all eight Harry Potter movies back-to-back and discussed the other downsides to fame.

By Lindsay Weinberg Mar 09, 2021 3:24 AMTags
Watch: "Harry Potter" Alum Rupert Grint & Georgia Groome Welcome Baby Girl

We all grew up with the Harry Potter series, but none more so than the trio of young stars that took on the roles of Harry, Hermione and Ron. 

However, it seems that for one actor in particular, dedicating 10 years of his life to the role wasn't always the magical experience we'd imagine it to be.

Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley onscreen from 2001 to 2011, appeared on Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert on Monday, March 8, and did not hold back his true thoughts on life in the wizarding world.

"There was a time where it felt quite suffocating, because it was heavy going, because it was every day for 10 years in the end," Grint shared. "It was a great experience. Such a nice kind of family atmosphere. It was always the same crew we kind of grew up with, so it was a great place to be. But sometimes it definitely felt like, ‘I want to do something else. See what else is out there.'"

See the Kid Stars of Harry Potter Then and Now

When he originally started playing Ron 20 years ago, only four books had been published and he said only two movies were planned. Eventually, he realized he would spend 10 years of his life doing the role and confirmed it felt like homework sometimes. 

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Grint, 32, went on, "It just never ended. Every year, we came back. And it was kind of like Groundhog Day because it was the same sets. It was the same people. But it was great. I loved it."

He said he's seen only seen each movie once, except he recently watched the first movie again for a second time.

"It still feels too soon really. I can't detach myself fully. I can't face it," the Servant actor said, noting that even without re-watching them, he can recognize the accomplishments they were. "I've got a very different perspective of it now that a long time has passed. I can appreciate what a feat it was." 

Naturally, one of the biggest things that's shaped his perspective is fatherhood. In May 2020, he and girlfriend Georgia Groome welcomed their daughter, Wednesday G. Grint. He told Shepard, "Now I've got a kid. That's going to be a whole new kind of era," alluding to someday watching Harry Potter with her.

Still, he doesn't have immediate plans to binge watch the films. He can't "put his finger" on why he doesn't enjoy watching them, but said, "It wasn't like it was a bad experience. It made me so conscious of my face of, like, what I'm doing... I like being in the moment and creating it and then just leaving it."

Grint also admitted he has "struggled" with being very "critical" of himself, revealing that watching his old interviews is "the worst thing" for him.

Among his most embarrassing moments? "My hair in film four is one of my biggest regrets," he spilled of his shoulder-length red mane in Goblet of Fire. "I think everyone actually had a phase of having this really long hair. They liked it—it was kind of wizardy. We went through our puberty on camera." 

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Another occupational hazard (on top of all that self-consciousness) was the responsibility to act a certain way for fans. He said Potterheads had an "intense relationship" to the story and cast, explaining, "It was definitely hard to get your head around, because I'm quite a shy, private person and suddenly to be put in that world it was overwhelming for sure. And also the responsibility as well, because as you say, for fans of the books, and they hold these characters in such high regard." 

Shepard then asked if there was ever a moment he was maybe "s--tfaced" and smoking a joint, and then stopped and worried about fans finding out. "It was such a kind of buzzkill whenever you were out, because you do kind of think about it," Grint responded. "You can never quite relax, because I guess you are kind of this role model figure. It's hugely important to these fans. I didn't really stop me from having fun, but it was always kind of a bit of a shadow." 

On the other hand, however, childhood fame came with a lotta dough as well. Grint called it "really strange" to be so wealthy from a young age. "Gradually, it became too much, too young for sure," he said. "It was quite overwhelming. I literally did not know what to do."

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So what did he ultimately decide to buy? Obviously, a hovercraft and an ice cream van. "That was my first car," he said, adding that the hoverboard "was sick," too.

"I haven't been on it in a long time. I crashed it quite badly the last time I was out, because it's impossible—no brakes," the Snatch actor continued. "It's lethal. It nearly killed me." 

He also confessed that when he was about 16 years old and living with his parents, he went through an animal phase and bought alpacas and pigs for their field out back. "I just did stupid things like that," he added. "Nowadays, I'm a lot more kind of sensible I guess. I haven't done anything mad like that in a while." 

Click here to read what he said in December about a possible return to the Harry Potter franchise.