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Watch an old video of Rupert Grint, age 11, freckle-faced and adorable as he describes in awe the dream-come-true of being cast as Harry Potter’s best friend. That was almost a decade ago and Grint, now 20, has grown into a man. In his role in Irish indie film Cherry Bomb, Grint plays a liar and a thief. And he’s the badass who beds the girl.
Grint has spent almost half his life on the set of the Harry Potter films, and he’s got two more to go (along with some work on a theme park set to open in Florida next year). So you could forgive him for having a slightly skewed sense of what life is like in the real world. “It’s been exactly half of my life,” he says with wonder after a day of filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh in the series, in London.
When Grint was just a kid with no real acting experience, he was so crazy about the Harry Potter books that he hsowed up at the auditions, made up a rap about himself and — like magic — became a wealthy world-famous movie star. “It has been really weird. I feel like I’ve completely changed really quickly. I was going to a regular school, and then suddenly I did this audition on a whim and then — well, it just sort of happened.”
With the next Harry Potter coming out this summer, and the final two films of the series set to be released next year, Grint has had to start to imagine his life outside Hogwarts. “I don’t quite feel 21. I guess I still think I’m 16.” But his rabid fan base — there are countless blogs devoted to his “ginger” beauty — can’t wait for him to grow up.