Rupert Grint Admitted That Harry Potter Was ‘Suffocating’ For Him In An Eye-Opening Interview
Like his fellow Harry Potter graduates, Rupert Grint has made the tricky transition from child stardom to adulthood look relatively easy. But in a 2023 interview, the actor — who will likely forever be best known as Ron Weasley — admitted that he hadn’t had an easy time of it at all. In fact, he described his experience of the mega-franchise as being “suffocating.”
A billion-dollar franchise
That probably isn’t much of a surprise when you consider that Grint and his co-stars had been expected to front a billion-dollar franchise before they’d even entered their teens. Luckily, such pressures don’t appear to have impacted on the redhead’s good nature. And you only have to listen to M. Night Shyamalan for proof.
A famous fan
Shyamalan knows what he’s talking about, of course. The master of suspense has directed Grint in the eerie Apple TV+ thriller Servant and apocalyptic tale Knock at the Cabin. And in an interview with website Bustle, the filmmaker couldn’t stop singing the actor’s praises. Shyamalan said, “He’s kind to everybody. He’s always on time. He’s super-professional. It comes effortlessly to him.”
The curse of child stars
Shyamalan went on to add, “He’s just an unusual human being in every way. He’s truly become a wonderful actor. I defy you to find somebody that doesn’t have something good to say about him.” And the director was also impressed with how Grint has managed to avoid succumbing to the child-star curse.
A career renaissance
In fact, Shyamalan recalled how he essentially told Grint that he “shouldn’t exist.” The filmmaker explained, “This renaissance, this second movement of his, shouldn’t be happening… He’s a person of such abandon to his character without any protective mechanisms. He has a connection to his emotions in a way that’s just pure.”
A streaming hit
Servant allowed Grint the opportunity to further distance himself from his Harry Potter beginnings. The actor stars as Julian, a spoiled, wise-cracking alcoholic with a sister who’s just lost her only child. And as revealed in the pilot, her coping mechanism is a realistic-looking doll substitute she now seems convinced is the real thing.
Grint described his character to Bustle as someone who “epitomizes everything you hate.” But he also admitted that Julian, who also provides some welcome comic relief into the disturbing story, isn’t completely removed from his real-life self. Grint said, “I’m quite dark. It’s definitely part of my personality, especially in humor.”
Becoming a dad
Grint is appreciative about being able to spend so much time inhabiting a character. He said, “I’ve never been a part of a show this long, really, apart from Potter. It’s quite comparable. And in a way [Servant] may be more significant because personally so much has changed in my life. I’ve become a dad, and obviously we had the pandemic.”
Meet Wednesday Grint
Yes, if you’re a child of the Harry Potter generation you might suddenly feel old when you learn that Grint now has a little one of his own. In 2019 the actor and his long-term girlfriend Georgia Groome welcomed a daughter, Wednesday, into the world. And no, she isn’t named after The Addams Family character that has since been given a Netflix spin-off.
Referring to the streaming hit, Grint said, “I’m glad we got in there early, otherwise it would seem a bit lazy, naming your child whatever you’re watching.” Still, Wednesday does share something in common with her fictional namesake: a love of the Moon. Her father added, “I like the Moon, but I’ve never really paid it much attention. It’s an amazing thing. She’s taught me to appreciate everything again.”
But becoming a father has also alerted Grint to other less-amazing things to which he’d never previously paid much attention. Referring to his daughter Wednesday and everyday life, the actor said, “It is constantly on your mind, that everything can kill her.” Luckily, parenthood has chilled Grint out in other ways, with the star revealing that he no longer suffers from insomnia.
A Christmas movie
In fact, Grint is essentially living his best life as a new father. And after three seasons of family horror in Servant, the actor is now thinking of returning to more family-friendly fare. He said, “I like the idea of doing something light next — like a Christmas movie. I’m happy with where I’ve ended up.”
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
You might not be aware that Grint isn’t the only former child star in his family. Yes, Groome also had a taste of fame as a youngster as the lead in ‘00s teen rom-com Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging. And Grint believes their shared experiences in the crazy world of showbiz have helped bring them together.
The weight of expectation
Of course, Grint hasn’t always been so content. Yes, the redhead may appear to have coped well with his global Harry Potter fame on the surface. But as he told Bustle, on the inside Grint struggled to deal with the weight of expectation on his young shoulders, particularly towards the end of its eight-film run.
Grint admitted, “I was feeling the difficulty of being seen, being overshadowed. In the movies we merged into one. By the end of it I was playing myself. The lines were blurred.” In fact, things got so tough that Grint even considered turning his back on the profession he’d entered at the age of just 11.
A candid Grint recalled, “Potter was so full on — [filming] all year, then we’d promote the rest of the time. It was quite suffocating. I wanted a break, to reflect on everything.” Thankfully for Grint, that break came when the final J.K. Rowling adaptation, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, wrapped in the early 2010s.
Grint isn’t the only Harry Potter star to discuss the difficulties of growing up in such an iconic film series. In a chat with Marc Maron on the comedian’s podcast WTF, Radcliffe said, “There was definitely a time when I was coming out of Potter into the real world, and suddenly I was in a world when I was not in that consistency anymore. Then I was living alone, and I think I was really freaked-out.”
That same year Watson told Porter magazine that life in Harry Potter had given her something of an identity crisis. She remarked, “(I’ve) spent more than half of my life pretending to be someone else. While my contemporaries were dyeing their hair and figuring out who they were I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her.”
An out-of-body experience
Referring to his own decade-long stint in the Harry Potter franchise, Grint told Bustle, “It was an out-of-body experience for a while, but I think we finished at the right time. If we continued, it could’ve gone downhill.” Of course, the pressures didn’t entirely fade once the redhead had waved goodbye to Weasley for good.
As you would expect, Grint wanted to prove that there was more to his talents than playing a young wizard. But the press initially seemed more interested in his extra-curricular activities than his career. You may recall, for example, the reports about the Brit purchasing a hovercraft and ice-cream van.
The child-star stereotype
Just like Watson and Radcliffe, Grint also had to deal with the section of the press who wanted them to fail as they grew up. He said, “I’ve always felt there was this expectation for us to go off the rails, follow the child-star stereotype. That’s always been something to fight against.”
Running away from the boy wizard
Radcliffe appeared to make a conscious effort to take roles a million miles away from his iconic boy wizard. He played Allen Ginsberg, one of America’s most celebrated poets, in Kill Your Darlings and later appeared as a farting corpse in oddball tale Swiss Army Man. Meanwhile, Watson proved that she could front a money-spinning blockbuster entirely on her own when she took the lead in Beauty and the Beast.
Grint, on the other hand, has largely gravitated toward the small screen since leaving the world of Harry Potter behind. As well as Servant he’s also appeared in Snatch, The ABC Murders, and Sick Note just to name a few. You may well have recently seen Grint pop up in an episode of Guillermo del Toro’s Netflix anthology Cabinet of Curiosities, too.
The rather macabre theme running through most of these projects has given Grint a new outlook on death. He said, “This has made me face it a bit. I don’t think I’ve fully worked it out just yet, but there’s something therapeutic about these roles as well, I guess. Demystifying. I’m drawn to a hidden vulnerability: a bit broken, damaged people. At the moment, it seems to be what I’m doing.”
During his interview with Bustle, Grint revealed he’s always been fully aware of being measured against his former co-stars Radcliffe and Watson. He remarked, “We’re all completely different and going along different paths.” Of course, the actor still remains immensely proud to have been involved in such a generation-defining franchise.
A TV reunion
In 2022 Grint joined Watson and Radcliffe for the much anticipated Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. The redhead actually believed that HBO Max should have waited a little longer to stage a televised reunion. But he was still more than happy to reconnect with his fellow former child stars.
A unique experience
Grint explained, “It was happening, I didn’t really have a say. [Being in Harry Potter] was a really unique experience only us core group really know, so it’s nice to see them. It was a good opportunity to reflect on everything and just say how crazy it was. It’s always nice to look back.”
A second identity
And Grint has come to terms with the fact that no matter where his career goes he will always be remembered for just one role. He revealed, “I answer to it, if someone calls me Ron.” Proving he has a sense of humor about the whole thing, Grint then joked, “It’s my second name.”
But would he ever let his daughter follow in his footsteps? Well, when asked the same question by Glamour magazine, Grint answered, “When I did it, my family didn’t really know what that meant, the kind of sacrifices you do make and the consequences it has on your life. No one really knew the scale at which the films would reach. You do sacrifice a lot.”
The value of anonymity
Grint concluded, “Your anonymity is something you really do take for granted, and I wouldn’t want her to give that up lightly. But I think I would, yeah — I had a great experience, and I have no regrets. I would want her to do what she wants, but I think I’d be a real stage mum!” Clearly, Harry Potter has touched every part of Grint's life — and it hasn't always been easy for him. But there was another encounter that actually had Emma Watson in tears.
Three startling words
The Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts reunion saw the franchise’s stars make their way back to the film set for the first time in years. The actors all seemed thrilled to see one another — and Emma Watson threw her arms around practically everyone. She has since admitted, though, that one of her co-stars’ confessions left her “taken aback.”
Magical as ever
As the camera panned around the Great Hall, you would have been forgiven for thinking that no time had passed since the movies hit our screens. The floaty candles were still hanging from the ceiling, the musicians filled the room with wonderfully nostalgic tunes, and there was, as always, a wonderful spread of food. There was just one telltale sign that things were a little different now.
All grown up
And that sign was the actors themselves. Those who had played Hogwarts students were now all grown up. At the time the reunion aired, for instance, Watson was 31 years old, Rupert Grint was 33, and Daniel Radcliffe was 32. Time had also taken its toll on the teachers and family members in the movies.
Instead of sporting Hagrid’s familiar long black locks and big bushy beard, Robbie Coltrane had a full head of gray hair. And gone were Gary Oldman’s curly brown waves too. But none of this mattered as all of the cast members seemed to relish each other’s company and reliving their fond memories on set — the main trio especially. Their chat was, for many, the most emotional part of the reunion.
Almost saying goodbye
What came as a shock to lots of fans was Watson’s confession that she came very close to quitting the franchise after the fourth movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Can you imagine Harry Potter without Watson as Hermione? We certainly can’t. The actor explained to Grint and Radcliffe why she had felt that way.
“Things started getting spicy for all of us,” Watson told Grint. “I think I was scared. I don’t know if you ever felt like it got to a tipping point where you were like, ‘This is kind of forever now.’ The fame thing had really hit home in a big way.” And this admission moved Grint to reveal, perhaps for the first time, that he had felt the same way.
“I also had similar feelings to Emma, kind of contemplating what life would be like if I called it a day, but we never really spoke about it,” Grint told Watson and Radcliffe. Radcliffe said that this lack of openness between the stars had probably been down to their age. They were just 14 years old at this time, after all.
Saved by the fans
In the end, Watson said it was the fans who got her through — and the amazing cast, of course. She said, “The fans genuinely wanted you to succeed and like all genuinely had everyone’s backs. How great is that?” But as we learned during the reunion, there was one particular co-star Watson had a real soft spot for.
That actor was Tom Felton. You wouldn’t suspect it from the way the pair interact on screen. Does “you foul, loathsome evil little cockroach” ring any bells? Off camera, though, the pair supposedly had a very special bond. Rumors of their closeness have circulated for years, and this was the moment fans got to learn the true nature of their relationship.
A huge crush
Watson revealed that she’d had a huge crush on Felton during filming and that it had stemmed from a moment during some on-set tutoring. In the class, Watson said the group had been asked to do a drawing of God. Felton’s interpretation had really impressed the young actress.
On his piece of paper, Watson recalled, Felton had sketched a skateboard-riding girl wearing a cap. “I just fell in love with him,” she said. “I used to come in every day and look for his number on the call sheet… If his number was on the call sheet, it was an extra-exciting day.” And Felton, it seemed, had felt a similar way.
A soft spot
“I became very protective over [Watson],” Felton admitted. “I’ve always had a soft spot for her, and that continues to the day.” Though that’s fairly obvious to those who keep an eye on both of their Instagram pages. They seem to meet up regularly, and Emma once told British Vogue in 2022 that the pair “speak most weeks.” But have “Dramione” ever taken things further than friendship?”
More than friends?
Well, even though Felton said that the duo have “always loved each other, really,” Watson confirmed on the TV reunion that their relationship had never progressed beyond friendship. Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed Watson blush slightly as she brought the topic of conversation to a close, though.
For the purpose of the storyline, though, Hermoine had to kiss Ron instead of Malfoy. And there was no way that infamous kiss wasn’t going to be brought up at the reunion. Potterheads will already know that Watson and Grint had found the scene uncomfortable, but their comments this time around took things to a whole different level.
Rather damningly, Watson said it was “the most horrifying thing either of them has ever had to go through.” And she added, “It just felt wrong, so wrong on any level because Dan, Rupert, and I are so much siblings.” Grint seemed to agree, too, jesting that the scene caused him to “black out.” But Grint wouldn’t be so harsh towards Watson at other parts of the reunion. It was his comments that would cause her to be “taken aback.”
During a separate interview with Radcliffe, fans learned that filming The Goblet of Fire came with a whole host of new challenges for the cast. It’s at this point in the story where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are starting to navigate teenage crushes, finding dates for the Yule Ball, and slow dancing. The actors did a great job at embodying the awkwardness that this brings with it — and that’s no coincidence.
The same experiences off screen
Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley in the movies, explained why this was the case at the reunion. She said the themes in the movie “mirrored all those kind of awkward phases you go through as a teenager,” adding, “and they really felt like that, too, because we were literally having the same experiences.” And Radcliffe, Ginny’s eventual love interest, agreed.
“That film was probably peak hormone — at least for me,” Radcliffe said. Not only was the cast already full of hormonal teens, he explained, but this was the movie where producers brought in the students from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute. Remember Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum?
All of these extra cast members were, as Radcliffe described, “purposefully hot for the film.” And so it was apparently “all kicking off” on set. At this point, some real-life relationships were even blossoming between the youngsters. And Radcliffe would often turn to Watson to get some help when texting girls. If it weren’t for the film equipment and the bizarre curriculum, you’d be forgiven for thinking these youngsters could have been at any ol’ high school!
But none of these newbies seemed to capture Radcliffe’s attention for very long. At the reunion, we learned he had a crush on a more central cast member — and this fondness seemed to really develop during the filming of the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. Ten points for Gryffindor if you can guess who it was!
Helena Bonham Carter
To many fans’ surprise, 17-year old Radcliffe has his eye on none other than Helena Bonham Carter! The young actor was so enamored with the actress, who plays the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange, that he ended up writing her a very sweet autograph — the contents of which Bonham Carter asked Harry to read aloud from the photo on her cell.
“Dear HBC,” the note began, “it was a pleasure being your co-star and coaster in the sense that I always ended up holding your coffee.” Radcliffe, very chuffed with his pun there, squirmed in embarrassment as he was reminded of what he’d written next. Thankfully, Bonham Carter persuaded him to read it aloud.
“In with a chance”
“I do love you, and I just wish I’d been born 10 years earlier. I might’ve been in with a chance. Lots of love, and thanks for being cool.” Bonham Carter, who is 23 years Radcliffe’s senior, said she would always hold on to the note, and that it was currently displayed in her bathroom. We like to think she was being completely serious!
Magic is in the air
By this point in the reunion, fans got the sense that these actors absolutely loved working with one another — regardless whether or not they were enemies on screen. But it was Grint’s confession to Watson that left both her a little stunned and made fans’ hearts skip a little beat.
During Watson and Grint’s one-on-one chat, things suddenly get very emotional. “Seeing you here, having had time apart… it feels like you’re like a pillar of my life,” Watson said, holding back the tears. And Grint didn’t mince his words when talking about this bond with Watson either.
Grint responded, “It’s just a very overwhelming thing because I’ve watched you grow up. We’ve watched each other grow up. We grew up together. We’re family. We always will be…even though we don’t see each other all the time. It’s a strong bond that we’ll always have. We will always be part of each other’s life.” And he didn’t stop there, getting more specific about his feelings toward Watson.
How he truly feels
The pair reached out to hold each other’s hands and then go to hug. Through sniffles, Watson says how nice it is to see her old co-star. And, with a serious sort of half-smile look on his face, Grint says, “I love you.” His words hung in the room and Watson tried to compose herself.
“As a friend”
Then, after a good seven seconds, Grint clarified what he meant by that. “As a friend,” he said, before adding that he stood by what he said and that there was still “so much love” between the pair. Watson has since revealed why this admission from Grint had meant so much to her — and why it had left her a little “taken aback.”
Reflecting on Grint’s words
In an interview with Vogue in 2022, Watson said that, for her, this part of the reunion was where the emotions peaked. “When Rupert says things, he really means them,” she said. “I was taken aback by how vulnerable and kind he was deciding to be so publicly.” And Grint was also very open about how strange he’d felt as the making of the film series drew to a close.
In truth, it’s been quite a while since the actors filmed their last scene. And by the looks of things, the cast found that day to be very emotional indeed. We’re shown behind-the-scenes footage on the reunion, and not one of the main trio had a dry eye. “I just lost it,” Radcliffe says, reflecting on how he felt at the time. Watson and Grint had a similarly heartbreaking reaction.
“All three of us were like utterly devastated,” Watson explains. “I remember all of us just holding each other.” But the experience will always be a part of the stars. Grint clearly reclaimed his own real-life identity in the end, but he said the movie series will be “ingrained” in his life forever.
With Grint forever
“I measure my life with these movies,” Grint explained. “If someone says like ‘Oh, when did you pass your driving test?’ I’m like ‘Order of the Phoenix.’” And Radcliffe said that “every part of [his] life is connected to Potter.” Wiping away a tear from his cheek, the actor brought the reunion to a close with some more poignant words.
With his voice wavering, Radcliffe said, “There are people on these films who are… foundational to who I am.” The trio all agreed that they were like a family and that this shared experience had brought them together in a way that nothing else could. Naturally, then, fans were wondering how often they see each other in day-to-day life.
Grint, as we know, is busy with his young daughter, and he has had quite a few acting and voice credits since the final Harry Potter movie was released. Do you remember the music video for Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”? He’s not quite made his way into another big blockbuster yet, though. The same can kind of be said for Radcliffe as well.
Since starring as Harry Potter, Radcliffe has tried his hand acting in a few different movie genres. There was the 2012 horror Woman in Black, for instance. And he played the male protagonist in 2013’s rom-com What If? He’s also tried his hand at a bit of theater work too. The star has been in a relationship with American actress Erin Darke since 2012 and is supposedly living in New York, so some distance away from Britain-based Grint. But what of Watson?
A break from acting
Most recently in her acting career, Watson played Meg March in the 2019 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. And in 2017 she was Belle in the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Watson also dedicates a lot of her time to philanthropy, campaigning for causes such as women’s rights and the environment. And she is supposedly dating a businessman called Leo Robinton, who is based in L.A.
Trying to stay in touch
Unfortunately for fans, this means that the Harry Potter trio don’t seem to see each other as much as we’d have hoped. And to make matters worse, they’re apparently not big fans of cells phones. “As a three, we really try and stay off electronics,” Watson revealed in her Vogue interview. “So that doesn’t help for a massive amount of back and forth.”
“Rupert sends me pictures of [his daughter] Wednesday, and I die. Dan and I generally try and calm each other’s nerves,” Watson added. Fans can only hope that the reunion served as the perfect reminder of how special their bond really is and that the trio will meet a lot more regularly. Failing that, Watson said she’d “definitely” be up for reuniting again in another 20 years. Can you wait that long?