Hugh John Mungo Grant is an English actor and film producer. He has received a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Honorary César. His films have earned more than US$2.4 billion from 25 theatrical releases worldwide. Grant achieved international success after appearing in the Richard Curtis-scripted Four Weddings and a Funeral. He used this breakthrough role as a frequent cinematic persona during the 1990s, delivering comic performances in mainstream films like Mickey Blue Eyes and Notting Hill. By the turn of the 21st century, he had established himself as a leading man skilled with a satirical comic talent. Grant has expanded his oeuvre with critically acclaimed turns as a cad in Bridget Jones's Diary, About a Boy, and American Dreamz. He later played against type with multiple cameo roles in the epic drama film Cloud Atlas. Within the film industry, Grant is cited as an anti-film star who approaches his roles like a character actor, and attempts to make his acting appear spontaneous. Hallmarks of his comic skills include a nonchalant touch of irony/sarcasm and studied physical mannerisms as well as his precisely-timed dialogue delivery and facial expressions.
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Well, I'm here to answer any questions you might have. Try to be nice to me. Victoria's assisting me via phone.
I have a new film coming out in the UK today - it's called The Rewrite. Trailer here.
Edit: Well, I'm very sorry, I have to go 'way now to be grilled about my film by a scary radio-person. But thank you very much for your questions. I was frightened that no one would ask any.
Do you feel any shame at playing so many characters that set such high romantic standards for men? I feel like you have been personally responsible for thousands of relationship squabbles based on mere mortal men being unable to live up to the promise of a Hugh Grant-ian boyfriend.
I do feel guilty.
It's all a terrible lie. And if it's any comfort - in real life, I'm a nightmare in any kind of relationship. These are all inventions just to make people miserable.
In a romantic comedy battle royale between you and John Cusack, who would win and why?
Ehm - well, when it comes to acting, he would win. But if it came to a straight fistfight, I would take that bitch down.
Hi. What's your secret to being as old as my mum and yet looking about 20 years younger? Are there any rituals or anything you do, because I look way older than I am (18 and been told I look almost 30) and I don't fancy looking like a goblin when I'm your age.
You're very nice to say that. But in fact, I am told that I do look pretty baggy now. Someone on Twitter the other day said I had a face like a scrotum. So I'm afraid I have no tips. You should ask someone else.
Beer or Wine?
I will pour almost anything down my throat, I'm afraid.
Cloud Atlas, in my opinion, is a one-of-a-kind, brilliant and criminally under appreciated movie. How was it like, on set, creating such an epic tale? Did you enjoy it, even though (or maybe because) it was very different from the roles you are known for?
I was very flattered to be asked to be in that.
Because I'm a huge fan of the Wachowskis. Ehm - I hope I didn't let them down. But I must admit that a flesh-eating cannibal from the future turned out to be harder than I thought it was going to be.
I kept wishing someone would give me a funny line.
Can you tell us anything interesting about your time on Top Gear? And how does it feel having beat Ewan McGregor by .3 sec?
I loved my time on Top Gear, and I was extremely proud of how speedy I was.
Important question, Hugh.
It's almost lunchtime in NYC and I don't know what I want. What do you recommend for under $20?
Ehm - I think you should have a Nathan's hot dog. But only one. I once made the mistake of having 4 for lunch. And was unable to return to the film set in the afternoon.
Which of your childhood dreams came true?
Absolutely none. I'm a bitter and disappointed man.
What is the worst part about being famous?
It's pretty much lovely all around, to tell the truth. And don't let anyone convince you otherwise.
What shampoo do you use,and how often do you wash your hair?
Like most Englishmen, hair washing is an annual event. I believe mine is coming up in November, when my whole family likes to wash their hair together.
I recently watched Music and Lyrics and I thought it was hilarious, especially the PoP! Goes My Heart song and music video. Those dance moves are amazing.
Did you make them up?
And what is your favourite tv show?
Thank you very much for liking my dancing.
You may be the first person, ever.
And yes, I did make up a number of those moves. Especially the "motorcycle" move.
Which I now see widely imitated in the nightclubs of Ibiza.
Ehm - I really only watch motor racing. But I do quite like Modern Family.
Love Actually is one of my favorites. Do you have any fond memories of filming, apart from torturing Billy Bob with antiques?
Any action on the writing front? What genre(s) do you see yourself exploring when you do turn your attention to being an author?
All I can remember was fear and dread knowing that I was going to have to do that dancing scene at some point. They kept asking me to rehearse, and I refused.
Sadly, I've been so involved with this political campaign here in the UK for the last 3 years that I haven't had time to put pen to paper. But I do still have that half-finished novel. And the genre I would describe it was would be "black comedy" or "film noir" with the emphasis on the noir, because it all takes place inside the boot of a car.
Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of the funniest movies ever made. What's your favorite story from filming that movie?
I'm just glad that it turned out well. Halfway through filming, they screened about 20 minutes of the film for the cast and crew. There wasn't a single laugh in it. And I had to be helped, sobbing, back to the set to work that afternoon.
Was it your choice to be so prolific in the area of romantic movies? Would you like to try other genres too?
It wasn't my choice. It just seems to be what happened. I have acted in quite a few films in other genres, it's just that no one seems to have watched them.
Are you still in contact with Julia Roberts?
I do occasionally bump into her. But I don't call her anymore. Not since the restraining order.
You almost became James Bond back in 1995. If you could and were offered, would you go back and take the role? Do you think being James Bond could have changed your life for the better, and maybe make you see the acting profession in a different light?
I never was offered James Bond, sadly. Which is a shame, because I think I would look nice in a white tuxedo. And I do love to kill.
At this point in your career, what do you find motivates you when it comes to the roles you choose?
Well, sometimes it's just that the script makes me laugh. Which was the case with this film, The Rewrite. Other times I'm just curious as to why on earth they would offer me such a part. Which was more the case with the Cloud Atlas role, for instance.
Have you used the phrase, “Whoops-a-daisies” since filming Notting Hill? It is a mighty fine expression in my opinion, which I am now quite self-conscious of using since seeing the film (approximately 32 times).
Heh. English people say "whoops-a-daisies" on average every 3 minutes. So yes, of course I've used it.
How's your day going?
Heh. I'm having a lovely day, thank you. I'm being ferried around from studio to studio, doing interviews for this new film, and so far I haven't lost my temper.
Hugh, can you see yourself in the Marvel universe? Which superhero would you be and how would you make sure you get into the third Avengers movie?
I've always cherished the role of the Hulk, and am furious no one has offered it to me.
Hey Hugh, my mom wants to know, in Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson wrote such a beautiful screenplay, and in the final climactic scene between Edward and Eleanor you seemed so authentic. Did you ad-lib at all?
I would have liked to. But Emma was very fussy about her own script. And would threaten me with physical violence if I changed a single syllable. So no.
what's your favourite food to eat with a cup of tea? and what tea?
I have a complicated procedure with tea and biscuits that involves licking all the chocolate off of a chocolate Digestive biscuit, throwing the biscuit away, and then throwing the tea away, because by that time it's gotten cold.
What is the strangest thing you've had happen or done yourself on set?
Ehm... I once had to do a scene with a giraffe. It was challenging. The giraffe was actually excellent. But I was not at my best that day. I've also worked with a live grizzly bear, who was charming. And with whom I talked about theater during the lunch break.
Do you like acting in the states in hollywood or the UK better?
I can be nervous and difficult about acting in all of those places. But I do quite like the way the Americans are less devoted to the script, and everyone mutters around with the lines, and improvises. That seems to help my nerves.
Who's your favorite superhero?
I'd have to say that was Batman, from the original 1960's tv series. I had, when I was 7, I had a utility belt, a Bat-cape, Bat handkerchiefs, and I still to this day sometimes like to wear my underpants outside my tights.
Hugh, could you give me any tips for living in the UK as an international student from North America?
Don't wash too often. It will make the locals suspicious of you. Learn to love Dairlea and Marmite.
What was the best country to shoot a film in?
Ehm - I always love shooting in France. They don't start work until 11 AM. And there are bottles of wine on the breakfast buffet.
Imagine yourself being the president. Now you have to give someone a Huge Grant. To whom would you give it to?
Heh. Ehm - that's a good question, I don't have a good answer.
How was it like to work with Roman Polanski in (my favorite movie) Bitter Moon? Which one is your favorite movie in which you starred?
I like people who like Bitter Moon. Do you smoke a lot of pot?
As for my favorite movie I've ever done, it's hard to say. But I do have a soft spot for the cartoon I made about pirates a couple of years ago.
What is your favourite horror movie?
Ehm - I highly recommend The Lair of the White Worm, in which I bravely take on a terrifying giant earth-worm. It co-stars the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi. And was made in 1988. With very dodgy special effects.
What's your favorite kind of music? What are you listening to the most right now?
I'm not sure that my musical taste is very cutting-edge.
I very much like military bands, The Sound of Music, and above all, the Gypsy Kings. I met one of the Gypsy Kings this morning. He had a radio interview, and I practically fainted with excitement.
Is it pronounced caramel or caramel?
Caramel is what you eat, Carmel is where Clint Eastwood lives.
Hi, Hugh. What can you tell us about Guy Ritchie's directing style? What things does he do differently?
Guy is clearly a genius.
But his style is, ehm, remarkably laid-back. I have seen him playing chess and playing the guitar while I was busy trying to act. I can only assume this was a reflection on the quality of my acting.
If you weren't acting, what would you be doing and why?
I used to have a parallel career in advertising.
Which I quite enjoyed. I was completely unprincipled, and would advertise absolutely anything for money. It was all quite fun.
What is your favorite dinosaur?
I don't think I have one, I'm sorry.
How did you enjoy voice-acting in Pirates! ? Would you like to try another voice-acting in the future?
I loved that experience. Partly because those Aardman Animators are geniuses. And partly because it was nice not to have to sit in hair & makeup at 6 AM.
I could rely on a lump of plasticine to do the visual side for me.
I'd love to do more animated films.
If we were to go cheese tasting, which cheese would you suggest I try first?
I would start with a delicious processed cheese called Dairylea, which is I believe 90% chemical. I was brought up on it, and always look for it among the cheese boards at those expensive restaurants.
Do you think playing a villain role would be something you'd like to try? Or any other genres you want to act in other than what you usually get cast in?
I have played villains. In fact, before Four Weddings and a Funeral, I played so many that people used to ask me "Didn't you ever want to play a nice guy?"
Generally speaking, I was an evil champagne baron selling the family champagne to the Nazis. I think I played that role about 12 times.
I have to say, your portrayal of Doctor Who was one of my favorites moments of the show. Are you a fan of the show? If so, who do you consider "your doctor"?
Ehm - I'm afraid I haven't really seen Doctor Who. So it's Patrick Troughton in the 1960's. It was too frightening for me then, especially the Daleks. And even the theme music makes me reach for a cushion to this day.
You're known for your comedy movies. Is this the point in your career when you want to explore other genres starting with The Man from U.N.C.L.E.?
Ehm - I... I don't have any particular direction with regards to films that I do. Just occasionally something tickles my fancy. And I do it.
Hi Hugh. In the Rewrite you play a Hollywood screenwriter. Ever thought, or even tried, to venture into screenwriting yourself?
I have in fact tinkered with a number of scripts that I've been involved with.
And I do have a list in my iPhone of ideas for a full-length script. It's just a question of having the discipline to get down to it.
Will you direct a movie in the future?
I would like to do that. I often think the only person having fun on a film set is the director.