Harry's pal is growing up

'Potter' co-star branches out in 'Cherrybomb'

Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the "Harry Potter" franchise, has moved on to more grown-up pastimes.

In "Cherrybomb," which had its world premiere Sunday in the Generation sidebar at the Berlin International Film Festival, Grint plays a youth dabbling in drugs, joyriding and the thrills of teenage sex. It's a far cry from the innocent excitement of Hogwarts but an inevitable transition for the 20-year-old actor.

"It was always going to be quite tricky. 'Harry Potter's' a big thing, really, so I've always known it's going to be pretty hard," Grint said. "But doing this film wasn't really a conscious decision to try something different — it just worked out like that. I got the script, really liked it, and it all happened in a couple of weeks."

Grint will start shooting this month at Leavesden Studios in England on the seventh and final book in the "Harry Potter" series, which is being made as two films.

"Fourteen months for Part 1 and Part 2, more or less back to back," he said. "It's going to be long, but it's going to be good, I think. I really liked the book and the script.

"It's going to be quite a thing when it's over because it'll be half my life exactly. I think I will miss it because I've had some good times on it."

"Cherrybomb," directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, is set in contemporary Northern Ireland and co-stars Kimberley Nixon and Robert Sheehan in a tale of youthful high jinks and misdeeds that, inevitably, ends badly. James Nesbitt also co-stars.

Grint joined Nixon on Monday in Berlin to meet the media and talk up the film, which required them to act in a fairly frank sex scene."The hardest bit for both of us was the love scene," Grint said.

Said Nixon: "It was toward the end of the shoot, so we knew this day was coming. But the crew were so supportive; they made us feel so comfortable, we just got on with our jobs."

Grint's presence at the premiere certainly pulled the spotlight onto the film, with a large crowd outside the Babylon theater there to greet him.

"It was lovely, because I wasn't expecting it at all," he said. "It's good that everyone's excited about the film. I do get recognized pretty much everywhere now, but everyone's really nice and it's not a problem." (partialdiff)