Which Hugh Grant romcom is your favourite? Four Weddings and a Funeral? Notting Hill? Love Actually? Bridget Jones’s Diary? Or maybe it’s Music and Lyrics? Whichever one it is, I know you have one, we all do. (Mine is probably Bridget Jones, fyi.)
The point is, the man is known for romcoms, and has been since he starred in Four Weddings over two decades ago.
But in a recent roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter, Grant revealed that he feels he “played it safe” after Four Weddings.
When asked if there were things the actors wished you knew about navigating fame and success that you know now, Grant responded:
“Just about everything. Every decision I ever made was probably wrong. When I was where you are now (to Stephan James) and you are now (to Richard Madden) after Four Weddings, and the world was my oyster, I should’ve made interesting decisions and done different stuff. Instead, I repeated myself almost identically about 17 times in a row.”
He was close – according to this list on IMDb, he’s starred in 14 romcoms, including Four Weddings. Which is a lot. But when you know what works for you and what works for you includes paycheques worth millions of dollars, why question it?
Grant added that he “had to wait until all the romantic comedy had dried up before I was offered anything else.” And he reckons he knows the reason that work dried up: “I’ve gotten too old and ugly and fat to do them anymore, so now I’ve done other things and I’ve got marginally less self-hatred.”
By “other things”, he presumably means roles like the villain in Paddington 2, playing opposite Ben Whishaw, or his other role opposite Ben Whishaw in A Very English Scandal, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. (He should have won an award for his work in Paddington 2, but we already know my feelings on that subject.)
He realises that while he was in a box, it’s a box most people, and most actors, would envy.
“I was being paid tons of money. I was very lucky. And most of those romantic comedies I can look squarely in the face — one or two are shockers, but on the whole I can look them in the face and people like them.
And I am a big believer that our job is to entertain. It’s not to practice some weird, quasi-religious experience. I see us as craftsmen along with the guy who does the lights and the guy who edits and the guy who pushes the dolly. Because if it’s not that, I think it’s a bit masturbatory. Can I say “masturbatory”?”
You’ve certainly entertained us, Hugh, and we thank you for it.