In the space between Harry Potter films, the young actors who play the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been trying to cram as much non-wizarding world work on their resumes as possible — to prevent typecasting when they grow up. Dan Radcliffe, for instance, is starring in the controversial play “Equus” on Broadway. But Rupert Grint, who plays Harry’s best bud Ron Weasley, is trying to go Radcliffe one step further — by taking on violent roles in the independent films “Wild Target” (which he just started) and “Cherrybomb” (which he just finished).
“My character Malacy [in 'Cherrybomb'] works at a leisure center in Belfast,” Grint explained. “It’s not really a proper job, but this girl Michelle is my boss’ daughter. She’s really exotic and fashionable and she gets his attention, along with his friend Luke, and she starts this crazy competition thing between them.”
In order to impress Michelle (who is played by Kimberley Nixon), the two guys start trying to one-up each other, first by going to a club and trying to dance with her, then by pulling stunts like stealing a car, and then things escalate from there.
“Usually, Malachy doesn’t get the girl,” Grint said. “Luke is more of the ladies’ man, but he’s a bit more dodgy. Malachy isn’t a geek, he’s a bit of a thug, but he starts off as basically a good kid. He goes to work, he has a good relationship with his parents, but he’s got some bad influences, so he gets into a bit of trouble.”
Because Grint’s character is trying to be a bad boy to impress the girl, he loses himself in that — “she likes that, so she likes him.” Stealing a car wasn’t that big of a leap, especially because all he has to do is swipe the keys. “Why do my movies always involve illegal things with cars?” he laughed, referring to his last independent film “Driving Lessons” and the infamous flying car from Harry Potter. “I’m not that into driving that I’d ever actually steal a car,” he laughed. “Never.”
Grint got a “little love scene” that’s a little more adult than the one he had in “Driving Lessons,” he said, “which was quite awkward to film, with the whole crew watching. They’re in bed!” But the real adult subject matter, Grint said, is what happens afterwards — which he didn’t want to spoil. “It gets quite serious,” he said. “It gets a bit crazy. Really violent and out of hand and lethal at the end.”
But delving into the more mature material wasn’t the hardest part for Grint — it was the Belfast accent. “It’s a mishmash of all sorts of different accents,” he said. “I got the vocal coach to make me a CD of all the lines and I put that on my iPod, and that really helps, to learn the vowel sounds. Otherwise, I’d pick it up from the crew, since they were all local.”
Only having one week of rehearsals also put the pressure on. “On Harry Potter, we do a scene every few days, and this was like 12 scenes a day,” Grint said. “It’s a much tougher shoot, really, and quite tiring, but it’s good, to be at this much faster pacce. I prefer it to the waiting around. You’re always moving about. And at least I’m playing such a cool, different character that I’ve never done before. It’s nice to get to act like you’re more confident, even for a little bit.”