The 1969 moon landing is one of the signature achievements in American history, a triumph of science and problem-solving that helped prove America’s dominance in the then-raging Cold War. That is, if it ever happened at all. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years that the U.S. government failed to reach the moon, and covered it up by having iconic director Stanley Kubrick film a fake version. The 2012 documentary Room 237 even posited an interpretation of The Shining as Kubrick’s covert apology for helping to fake the moon landing. The new film Moonwalkers has yet another (fictional) interpretation of the scenario.
In the movie, a CIA agent (Ron Perlman) is dispatched to London to recruit Kubrick for the project, but is tricked by a shady band manager (Rupert Grint), who’s trying to pocket that suitcase of government cash. In the exclusive clip above, Grint’s character physically transforms one of his hippie friends into a Kubrick doppelganger. The film is overflowing with psychedelic silliness, from scenes of Grint dressed as an astronaut to Perlman’s hardened agent lying catatonic in the throes of an accidental acid trip.
“It felt really free and spontaneous,” Grint says. “We had the freedom to do what we wanted. You get that sense watching it that it was fun to make.”
Grint says he’s always been interested in conspiracy theories. Despite Moonwalkers’ obvious farcical aspect, he says it did make him think twice about the real life moon landing. The film, in fact, remains slightly vague about whether the actual moon landing was successful or not.
“The conspiracy was something I’ve always read a lot about, but I kind of dismissed it,” Grint says. “Filming this, it gave me a few second thoughts. Our fake moon was easy to make, and a lot of the film is pretty ambiguous either way. That’s quite a human instinct as well, coming to your own conclusions that not everything you’re told is real.”
But even as Grint forges ahead with new projects like Moonwalkers, his most famous role has moved beyond him. It was recently announced that Paul Thornley will play the part of Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the upcoming London play set years after the original series. The Harry Potter film franchise is also set to continue later this year with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but since Newt Scamander’s story is a prequel, Grint isn’t involved in that iteration either.
“It feels very strange not to be involved in that world anymore,” Grint says. “It’s nice to see it from a different angle. I think both projects are both kind of reinventing it. They kind of feel like their own things, which is really cool. It’s really amazing to see it move on and still be relevant to people.”
Grint, for one, is happy to see the franchise continue to stay relevant even after he has moved on.
“It makes you feel kind of old,” Grint says. “I never would’ve dreamed this. You thought people would just forget about it. I meet new people every day and see that new generations are discovering it. It makes you proud to have had a part in it. I’m really looking forward to the play, and the cast of Fantastic Beasts is amazing. It’s gonna be great.“