When Alfonso Cuarón signed on to direct "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," he had an unusual assignment for his young stars. The director charged each one with writing an essay on their character: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger.
As the story goes, Watson, in true Hermione fashion, turned in 16 pages. Radcliffe turned in a solid one-page composition. And Grint, well, he didn't do his.
To clear things up, The Huffington Post asked the redheaded actor if there was any truth to the story.
"Yeah. That is true, yeah," Grint said, laughing.
Grint had a pretty good reason to shirk the assignment. As the oldest of the three -- then 15 -- he'd been preparing to take his General Certificate of Secondary Education exams, a series of standardized tests taken by British students at high school age. (Radcliffe and Watson were a year or two from the tests themselves.) Grint explained that he was too bogged down with his studies to give the assignment much thought.
"It’s quite Ron-ish not to do it," he added. "I think [Cuarón] kind of appreciated that."
Smart but occasionally careless, with a fondness for snacks, Grint and his "Harry Potter" character may have more in common than he realizes.
When we asked about another Ron-ish story -- whether he'd kept the ice cream truck he bought as a teenager with a freshly minted drivers' license -- Grint responded in the affirmative.
"I'll never get rid of it," he said. But finding a place to park an ice cream truck has proven more trouble than not, considering its affect on pedestrians.
"They think, rightly, that you are a legitimate ice cream salesman. And they queue up and expect ice cream, which I don’t have."
Since the "Harry Potter" film franchise wrapped up in 2011, Grint has moved on, staying largely out of conversations about the new "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" play set to debut July 30 in London, the upcoming prequel "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and fans' discussions on the Internet.
When we spoke, he'd just learned about a popular theory on his character's true identity -- fans know it as "Ronbledore." According to the theory, Ron is actually a time-traveling Dumbledore, as evidenced by physical and temperamental similarities. (Grint needed to do more research before forming an opinion; J.K. Rowling, however, shot it down on Twitter.)
Although he's stepped out of the "Potter" world, Grint continued to pursue acting, currently starring in a psychedelic space-race flick "Moonwalkers" alongside "Hellboy" star Ron Pearlman. An offbeat story peppered with cartoonish violence, the film indulges conspiracy theorists' ideas about NASA's 1969 moon landing. Grint's Johnny is an ungifted band manager looking to make some cash by conning his way into a CIA plot led by Agent Kidman (Pearlman) to produce fake video footage of men on the moon with Stanley Kubrick.
Something of an armchair conspiracist himself, Grint was naturally attracted to the script, he explained. He considers the famous photo of a flag waving on the moon -- a windless surface -- particularly suspicious.
"There was a period when I was quite obsessed with it. I’m quite decided that it definitely happened," he said. "We did land on the moon."
Nevertheless, filming made him think twice about that claim, seeing how closely the film set mirrored actual photos of the event.
"It seemed very easy to make a moon," he observed.
With other non-"Potter" credits including limited-release comedies "Wild Target," "Postman Pat," "Charlie Countryman" -- not forgetting 2002's flatulence-filled "Thunderpants" -- Grint seems to be leaning into a more lighthearted genre these days. But he thinks it'd be fun to work with his "Harry Potter" co-stars again in the future.
"I loved working with them," he said, "all those 10 years."
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