'Moonwalkers' and Life After 'Harry Potter' for Rupert Grint

'Moonwalkers' and Life After 'Harry Potter' for Rupert Grint

Mar 20, 2015

Daniel Radcliffe has transitioned successfully from leading boy to leading man with films like The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings. Emma Watson has focused on working with interesting directors like Sophia Coppola and Darren Aronofsky. So, that accounts for two of the three leads from the Harry Potter film franchise, but where’s Rupert Grint?

We’ve spotted him at SXSW! He’s starring in the new comedy Moonwalkers, a drug-fueled, hyper-violent, swinging-sixties story of CIA agent Kidman (played by Ron Perlman), deeply troubled by visions of those he’s killed in foreign wars, who’s sent across the pond to solicit the assistance of Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing in case the real one goes awry. Inept hustler Jonny (Grint, feeling 100% period authentic) steps in, promising Kubrick but delivering hippie burnout Leon instead (Robert Sheehan). It’s a monumentally bone-headed con that goes about as wrong as is humanly possible in hilarious ways.

The role of Jonny is not a heavy one, but the casting of Grint, an actor we’ve seen grow up on film in front of our very eyes, infuses the character with an appeal that may not have been evident in the script. Jonny’s a scumbag, and not a very bright one, as established in his first scene where he books a psychedelic rock band at some kind of “churchy” gathering of flat-topped squares and they’re chased out of the venue with hurled bricks. There’s no darkness to Grint, so Jonny comes across more as a good-natured fool than anything.

If anything, it proves that there’s use for Grint as a character actor outside of Harry Potter. His wide smile, clear eyes, and lanky presence can hold the screen, and he’s not overshadowed or intimidated by co-stars like Perlman (who’s simply ferocious in Moonwalkers). Perhaps a childhood spent acting alongside Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Emma Thompson, and the like (the list goes on and on) prepares you for being in movies? Who knew, right?

To be honest, we should’ve known. Grint has his dedicated fans for sure, but there was always an ugly rumbling that amongst the three Harry Potter kids, he wasn’t the “real” actor. It’s especially unfair when the series gets to Deathly Hallows, and Ron Weasley’s more dramatic moments are executed by Grint in a way that pays off, seeing the kid become a grown-up over the course of eight films. But Ron was the goofball, and we, as audiences, always expect our actors to be their characters in real life.

Moonwalkers is as interesting a concept as anything Radcliffe or Watson have done so far, and it’s a promising first feature from Antoine Bardou-Jacquet. Grint doesn’t feel he picked the role because he has something to prove as an actor; it feels like he picked it because the Kubrick moon landing conspiracy is rich material for a comedy. He’s also selfless enough to allow Robert Sheehan to steal all of their scenes together, another earmark of a pro who simply knows what they’re doing.

We’re not worried about the Potter kids. Their childhood trial by (Goblet of) fire has forged three capable, appealing screen stars. Grint may be the most difficult actor of the three to pigeonhole into a “type,” but that could turn out to be his secret weapon as an actor. Moonwalkers has made us interested to see where he’ll turn up next.

 

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