Knock At The Cabin’s Rupert Grint On What He Likes About Playing Unlikable Characters

Warning: slight SPOILERS for Knock at the Cabin are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you’ve been warned. 

Roughly 20 years ago, actor Rupert Grint’s career was started as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. Much like his co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, his career after those movies would give him a wide range of roles to tackle, and in various mediums. Thanks to his work with director M. Night Shyamalan and the 2023 new movie release Knock at the Cabin, Grint has been able to really dig into playing unlikable characters. 

It’s an experience that’s given Rupert Grint more of a chance to learn what he loves about playing those types of people. It just so happened to be that his role as the snarky Julian in the Apple TV+ series Servant went back-to-back with his latest Shayamalan collaboration, a fact that I learned when sitting down with him during the Universal press day for this apocalyptic thriller.

When I asked if Rupert Grint was purposely seeking out roles where he could play “unlikable with caveats,” his answer suggested that he’s not trying to make a pattern out of it. That being said, he isn’t against the fact that those sorts of parts have just landed in his lap. Reflecting on his Knock at the Cabin experience, here’s how Grint explained this career move to CinemaBlend: 

I think the latter. It’s kind of a lane I’ve found that I kind of like. I kind of empathize with these characters in a way, that happened to me with Redmond as well. On paper he’s a person that you can’t understand, and it’s a person that I feel I kind of know in today’s times. He’s kind of an angry guy who has got a very kind of shady past.

Throughout the fast-paced narrative of Knock at the Cabin, Redmond is the only character for whom we really see their backstory. As an assailant who attacks Andrew (Ben Aldridge) on a night out with his husband Eric (Jonathan Groff), we learn that Redmond (Rupert Grint) has a connection to the couple that’s being asked to make an apocalyptic sacrifice.

That’s not how he’s introduced though, as you can see in the Knock at the Cabin trailer, and Grint acknowledged the big change his character undergoes between those events of the past and the standoff at the cabin. When we see Redmond standing alongside Leonard (Dave Bautista), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Adriane (Abby Quinn), he still has quite the temper. 

However, the version of this man Knock at the Cabin introduces us to is definitely reformed, trying to serve the sacred purpose he and his compatriots are trying to execute. Even after seeing his past revealed throughout flashbacks, you still feel sorry for the pressure that’s put on him in this tense situation.

It’s a different kind of unlikable from Rupert Grint’s stint as Julian Pearce in Servant, which is about to conclude its four-season run on Apple TV+. Whereas Julian is more cosmopolitan and comes from money, Redmond is more of a blue collar character. The common thread of Grint and his consummate skills to present these characters as three-dimensional beings is the only thing that draws these wildly different people together. 

Just as co-star Dave Bautista struggled with emotional balance for his Knock at the Cabin character, Rupert Grint also did a delicate dance with a character who could have very easily been one note.  The results don’t lie, as Knock at the Cabin has been drawing critical raves for the film, as well as its performances. 

Should you dare to take this trip into the woods, you can only see this picture at a theater near you. Rupert Grint fans can also take this time to catch up on Servant, which is streaming for those who have an Apple TV+ subscription at their disposal.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.