After nine years of filming Harry Potter movies, Rupert Grint, who plays the character Ron Weasley, is reportedly struggling with the prospect of reacclimating to a post-Harry Potter life.
Grint, who recently came down with H1N1, or swine flu, apparently tried coming back to the set where the cast has been filming the seventh and eight movies before he had recovered, insisting that if he could just see Madame Pomfrey -- the nurse in charge of Hogwart's hospital wing -- she would be able to cure him. His attempts to self-medicate at home by eating enormous amounts of chocolate -- a common medicine for various ailments in J.K. Rowlings magical world, including encounters with dementers -- had failed to do anything more than give him a stomachache, according to his concerned friends.
In contrast, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, who play Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, have taken conscious steps to distance themselves from their characters.
In 2007 and 2008, Radcliffe played a stable boy obsessed with horses in the play Equus, with a much-talked about nude scene. His performance received positive reviews in London and New York and critics agree he has done a good job of avoiding being typecast as the most famous boy wizard in movie history.
Watson, meanwhile, intends to attend college in the United States and take a break from acting. Sources say she will be attending Columbia University in New York City, but she has declined to comment.
Radcliffe and Watson have grown increasingly concerned with Grint's mental stability and worry what he will do once the movies have finished. "He insists on being called Ron all the time," Watson fretted to a friend. "That's all very well now, when he can pretend like he's just some very serious method actor, but what about when we wrap? People will think he's mental if he goes around calling himself Ron and waving a wand."
Like his fictional character, Grint has started to express amorous feelings towards Watson, which she has not reciprocated. And he refuses to eat at the same lunch table as Tom Felton, who plays bad boy Draco Malfoy, saying loudly "Gryffindors only at this table. Slytherins eat over there."
Grint also has expressed nostalgia for the earlier years and has taken to alternately caressing and cursing a rat that he calls "Scabbers" and "Wormtail," a prominent character in the third book, Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban.
Film executives at Warner Brothers, the company producing the lucrative Harry Potter franchise, have discussed Grint's mental state with director David Yates and a few fellow cast members. They have tried to keep it confidential for fear of distracting from the much-anticipated release of the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
One of the proposals currently under consideration is to allow Grint to live on the Hogwarts set for a couple of weeks after the films have wrapped. "Once Rupert sees that the floating candles and Nearly Headless Nick are blue screen magic and not actual magic we hope that will help him realize that Hogwarts is not reality," said one of Grint's fellow cast members.