I felt sorry for Rupert Grint. Just an hour before he ended up speaking to me, he’d been interviewed live on air on Radio 2. Then he ended up in a basement of a London office, clutching a coffee, with me. While I had him trapped though, I got ten minutes of his time, and here’s how it went…
You’re clearly a much younger, more attractive and more learned man than me, and I expect our experiences of childrens’ television is very different. Postman Pat is clearly a big thing for you, but what were the TV shows that helped define your youth? What were you watching as you grew up?
I really identified with characters that did things that it was feasible to achieve. Fireman Sam! Noddy. I don’t really know what he was though.
Sooty was mildly scary, I always thought.
Yeah, yeah he was a bit.
When I was growing up, it was Mysterious Cities Of Gold, Grange Hill before it went all rubbish…
This is the 80s you’re talking about isn’t it? [grins]
Yep! Button Moon, Crackerjack…? In fact, we got some children’s shows that dealt with some really big issues in fairness to them, which much kids TV went on not to do.
Yeah, I know what you mean. I do watch some of the old ones. Rentaghost – that was very weird. Such a strange idea for a show, but it was great. And Knightmare! I remember that!
Did you ever apply to go on it?
I know someone who went on that.
Did he really? No way!
He proudly boasts that he’s undefeated, because he was the last on in the series, and the bell tolled mid-way through his quest. So he never finished it, but never died.
Oh wow! [It would be fair to say that Rupert Grint is impressed by this story]
So he didn’t complete it?
No he didn’t. Thing is, you have the power and clout to revive something like Knightmare.
It could be so good now too. New technologies…
I think the old school is what helps it work.
There is a stage version of it now though, where you can be the dungeoneer.
No way! I didn’t know that. How does that work on stage? [a brief explanation followed, but basically: Google the excellent Knightmare Live].
Postman Pat, we should talk about that. I used to watch Postman Pat as a kid. You play a character called Josh in this one, and there was never any Josh in my day. There was a Jess. Have you usurped him?
Oh, no no. Jess is safe!
I play this character, Josh. Postman Pat enters this competition, a talent show thing…
Let me stop you there: you’ve not snuck Piers Morgan into the film have you?
He’s not in there. There is a Simon Cowell parody. But I’m Pat’s rival, one of the naive talents on the show. He’s led stray by his evil manager, who’s voiced by David Tennant. I’m his rival, and I have to sing.
You’re listed on the soundtrack album too, next to Peter Gabriel! Is this a life dream realised? Has there always been music in your blood?
Not really, no! I didn’t really expect it to happen. When they said “do you want to sing?” I just said yeah. I thought it could be funny, could be a laugh. I didn’t realised there’d be an album. It was fun, and they can do some clever things with the old autotune stuff. It came out pretty well!
Are you happy with it? Are you forging a whole new career now?
[Laughs] I don’t think so, it’s not for me!
You were linked at one point with a Beach Boys biopic though? So there is an interest in music there?
Yes I was. It was a while ago now. It might still happen. It was the journey through Brian Wilson’s addiction.
Is it something that interests you?
Yeah. I’m a big music fan. I’ve been to lots of gigs, love lots of bands. My sister’s in a band.
She must love it when you turn up to watch! She’d expect you to bring at least 100 people.
Yeah, it’s weird!
Your career though is interesting. You see a lot of actors now who land standalone roles in the early part of their career, and then maybe get a television show where they can develop a screen character over the course of seven or eight years. In your case, you seem to be doing that in reverse though. When you pick work now, what are you looking for? Is there an appeal to playing a character who story goes start to finish in one project?
Do you know what, I really don’t know. My attitude is that I go with the flow. It’s nice to do a variety of roles. Harry Potter was fun, a huge part of my life, and I absolutely loved it. But it’s nice to kind of just be free and do what I want, to do different things. The more variety I get, that’s what I look for. Something completely different. That’s the excitement of it. Just good scripts, good directors.
I’ve got you pegged as a Bond villain in about 30 years time.
I would love that. Love that.
You’d be able to play on people’s expectations and twist them.
Yeah. It’s hard, because the [Potter] films were so popular, you’re ingrained in people’s minds forever. To some extent, in people’s minds I will always be Ron. It’s quite a challenge to completely detach myself from that. But that’s the challenge we’re all facing. It’s fun!
You couldn’t have picked a better pension scheme than Harry Potter, save for being cast in Doctor Who.
You had your Clooney moment early. George Clooney, after Batman & Robin, realised he had the financial security to pick just the stuff he wanted to do.
Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing to have that security, and to pick things you’re passionate about. I’m in no rush to do everything. I like taking it slow, and enjoying things.
Can I ask: it’s always assumed when you get into acting early that that’s all you want to do. It’s what film are you doing next, that sort of thing. But where do your other passions lie?
Recently, I did my first play. That was really fun. Something I always wanted to do but never really had the guts to do it. I didn’t think it would really suit me, the repetition of it, and being in front of so many people every night. But it was a real buzz, and I learned a lot from it. I’d like to do more of that.
I do a lot of art too.
Is that just for you?
Yeah. I’ve always doodled, and I’ve got into animation recently too.
Finally, it’s a Den Of Geek interview, so we need to ask you what your favourite Jason Statham movie is.
My favourite Jason Statham movie? Well… what’s the one with the adrenaline?
Yeah, Crank! [grins] I’m going with Crank!
Rupert Grint, thank you very much!
Postman Pat: The Movie is out tomorrow.
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