For eight very successful and much-cherished films, Rupert Grint brought the character of Ron Weasley to life with equal parts humor and heart. Playing the loyal, clumsy, and lovelorn best friend of Harry Potter - arguably the most popular fictional character in modern literature - was a breeze for the talented British actor. Grint went from a wide-eyed and adorable pre-teen in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) to a heroic and dashing young man in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" (2009). Apart from the franchise, the actor showed he was not a one-note performer, displaying his versatility as a shy teenager in the heartwarming drama "Driving Lessons" (2006) and as a car-stealing thug in the violent thriller, "Cherrybomb" (2009). Grint closed the chapter on his Harry Potter career with the two-part "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (2010, 2011), alongside his longtime friends and co-stars, while growing up to become one of the most veritable and bankable young actors worldwide.
Rupert Alexander Grint was born on Aug. 24, 1988, in Hertfordshire, England, UK. His father Nigel sold Formula One racing memorabilia while his mother Jo was a homemaker who raised the future star and his younger siblings. Grint's fiery red hair always brought him attention growing up, whether good or bad. His great-grandfather called him "Copper Knob" while others nicknamed him "Ginge." Grint, however, admitted he was more known for losing everything he touched as a teenager - from his keys to his cell phone. He attended a Catholic primary school prior to enrolling at Richard Hale Secondary School. It was at this all-boys school where Grint took an avid interest in theater. He began performing in school productions and joined the Top Hat Stage and Screen School, a local theater group that cast him as a fish in "Noah's Ark" and a donkey in a nativity play.
Grint was a huge fan of J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter book series, about a young wizard who attends a school for magic and discovers he must fight an evil sorcerer in order to survive his own dark fate. When the budding actor heard the BBC announce auditions for the film version of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," he jumped at the chance to play one of his favorite characters in the series, Harry Potter's gawky and kind best friend, Ron Weasley. Grint wanted to stand out, so on top of submitting an application form and photos, he sent a clever and original videotape of himself dressed up as his female drama teacher while rapping about why he was the best choice to play Ron in the film. Filmed by Grint's mother, the hilarious video captured the attention of the "Harry Potter" casting department and landed him a call-back. Several more auditions and a screen test followed, until Grint was finally cast in the film. Two other newcomers were brought in to star with him - Daniel Radcliffe in the title role and Emma Watson as brainy and sweet Hermione Granger. Production on the film began in 2000 with director Chris Columbus and a cast that included Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman. Grint was impressive as Ron, the gangly, arachnophobic and loyal friend to Radcliffe's Harry. "Sorcerer's Stone" triumphed at the box office, making over $30 million on opening day and receiving positive reviews from such hard-to-please movie critics as Roger Ebert, who called it "a classic."
Just three days after the worldwide release of "Sorcerer's Stone," Grint and his cast mates were back at work filming "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002), the second film in the series. Columbus returned to direct, while new cast members were brought in, including Kenneth Branagh. The film received mixed critical reviews but the loyal fan base still showed up to theaters in droves. "Chamber of Secrets" beat the first film's opening weekend record and solidified Grint, Radcliffe and Watson as blockbuster movie stars. Grint also appeared in his first non-"Potter" film in 2002 - the family comedy "Thunderpants," about a young boy whose ability to pass gas helps him realize his dream of becoming an astronaut.
There were major cast and crew changes when production on "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) began. Alfonso Cuaron stepped in as director while Michael Gambon took over the role of Harry Potter's mentor, Albus Dumbledore, after veteran actor Richard Harris died of Hodgkin's disease in 2002. The audience also saw for the first time, three young stars growing up onscreen. Gone were the squeaky-voiced and cherub-cheeked days, replaced by a darker plot and the characters discovering teenage romance. It was reported that Cuaron instructed his actors to write an essay about what they thought about their characters. While Radcliffe turned in a short essay and Watson wrote 16 pages, Grint - in true Ron Weasley's devil-may-care fashion - did not bother to write his essay.
The tag line for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) read, "Everything is about to change." Mike Newell replaced Cuaron in the director's seat and Ralph Fiennes hauntingly played the evil Lord Voldemort. Fans also recognized this was the first "Potter" film to feature the teen wizard's first kiss - also Radcliffe's onscreen first - to Cho Chang (Katie Leung). There was also a much-anticipated romance between Grint's Ron and Watson's Hermione that bloomed in "Goblet of Fire." The friends start to have feelings for each other, although a strapping wizard who also loves Hermione complicate Ron's chances with her. The film continued the franchises' successful streak at the box office, earning $40 million on its opening day and winning the 2006 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie, the first "Potter" film to do so.
Taking a break from the wizardry, Grint emerged as a dramatic actor in "Driving Lessons" opposite Julie Walters and Laura Linney. The coming-of-age story revolved around Grint's character escaping from his domineering mother (Linney) by working as a housekeeper and companion for a retired actress (Walters). It was a natural transition for the actor to work with such a nurturing and eccentric character in "Driving Lessons," as Walters also played his mother Molly Weasley in all the "Potter" movies. Variety went on to describe Grint's performance in the film as "red-headedly adorable to the end."
For his next return to the famous franchise that made him a star, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) contained one of the most climactic battles in the entire film series. Director David Yates was given the challenge of bringing to the screen an epic battle between Dumbledore's Army - led by Radcliffe's Harry, Grint's Ron, and Watson's Hermione - against the evil Death Eaters and Voldemort (Fiennes) himself. The film also concentrated more on the students' rebellion against controlling instructor Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) and less on their romantic entanglements. Nonetheless, "Order of the Phoenix" won viewers' hearts commercially and critically, with Rolling Stone magazine calling it "the best of the series so far."
Grint and Watson were able to explore their characters' complicated relationship further in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The sixth installment of the film franchise began production in 2007, promising one of the most lighthearted plotlines in the film series. The characters were well into their teens and coping not just with learning spells and potions, but also with feelings for their fellow schoolmates. Radcliffe's Harry has his eyes on Ron's sister Ginny (Bonnie Wright), while Ron gets a girlfriend named Lavender Brown, a relationship that makes Watson's Hermione jealous. Grint also scored his hero moment in the film when he wins a difficult Quidditch match for his school team. "Half-Blood Prince" grossed over $50 million on its opening day and beat the midnight-showing records previously held by "The Dark Knight" (2008) and "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (2005).
To avoid typecasting post-"Potter," Grint and his co-stars sought roles that challenged how audiences viewed them outside their wizard uniforms. The actor gave moviegoers a taste of his versatility when he starred in the dramatic thriller, "Cherrybomb." Grint played Malachy, one of three teenagers caught in a deadly series of dares during a weekend fueled by drugs, alcohol and crime. Besides learning to speak with a Belfast-area Irish accent, Grint also filmed his first love scene for the film, saying later that he found awkward to film the intimate scene in front of the whole crew. That same year, he appeared in "Wild Target," about a hit man considering retirement, starring opposite Emily Blunt and Bill Nighy.
Fans were delighted to hear that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final installment of Rowling's novels were going to be made into two films, released back-to-back in 2010 and 2011. Filming began in February 2009 with director Yates on board to complete the epic project. Grint took a few days off from filming in July 2009 after he caught a mild bout of swine flu. The cast and crew were able to shoot around the actor's absence before He returned to the set after a few days of rest. The latest "Potter" film ended the well-loved series just as it started: with the three main stars having now grown up in front of the audience and coming full circle. Director Yates filmed the epilogue, set 19 years later, with Grint, Radcliffe and Watson donning special makeup and costumes to make them appear even older.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast as Ron Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," adapted from the first novel in the best-selling fantasy series by J.K. Rowling
Portrayed the title character's best friend in "Thunderpants", about a flatulent youngster
Reprised Ron in the sequel "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
Again portrayed Ron in the third installment of the Harry Potter series "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Reprised the role of Ron in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," adapted from the fourth book in the fantasy series by J.K. Rowling and directed by Mike Newell
Starred in the coming-of-age drama, "Driving Lessons"
Reprised the role of Ron in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"; directed by David Yates
Reprised role of Ron Weasley for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"; again directed by David Yates
Reprised role of Ron Weasley for the seventh and final installment of the series directed by David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"; film released in two parts, Part 1 in November 2010 and Part 2 in July 2011