Hugh Grant has been making the rounds, speaking to media outlets about his new movie Florence Foster Jenkins, in which he stars with multi-oscar winner Meryl Streep. She plays the title role, a wealthy opera singing socialite, and Grant, her adoring husband. This movie already has some Oscar buzz for both leads. Best of all, this movie means that the usually reclusive About A Boy actor is making the rounds and talking about his successful acting career.
The Oxford grad dug deep into his long career and mentioned how his breakout film, Four Weddings And a Funeral, was where his image and his affable acting roles began to merge in the public eye. The fans all thought that he was the dewy-eyed romantic. This was a mistake. The actor now explained that people actually thought that his personality was the one he portrayed in his films.
“People thought I was this nice character I played in that film. And so I suppose the contrast between that person and this seedy behavior was juicy stuff. And I quite understand why it was a big story.”
Seedy behavior? When Grant was caught with 25-year-old prostitute Divine Brown, his boyish image was tarnished. Yet, his appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno right after the very public arrest was perfect. Jay asked Grant “What the hell were you thinking?” and the actor gave a shrug and a goofy expression and the audience burst into applause. Instantly, all was forgiven in the public eye. He may have considered the incident “regrettable,” but his charm kept him working in such top movies as Notting Hill and Sense and Sensibility.
While appearing on American television after an embarrassing arrest may require a lot of courage, it is actually dancing for the camera that the 55-year-old dreaded the most. A lot of people don’t care to dance in public, let alone in front of a camera.
“I dreaded the dance scene in Love Actually more than having my teeth extracted. And you know, the thing is, you gotta be in the mood for dancing.”
Over the years, many fans have believed Grant should have been nominated for his breakout role in Maurice, to his brilliantly played role in About A Boy. Further reflecting on his career, Grant conceded to the New York Daily News that it was not Oscar-worthy projects and directors that were looking for him, but instead, the money people. Hugh Grant was an instant draw and producers looking for good box office numbers knew he was the ticket.
“The people who wanted me were always the money people, much more than the important directors.”
Unlike his co-star Meryl Streep, the measurement of Hugh Grant’s success has only had to do with dollars and cents. Now that he is working with the multi-Oscar winner, is Hugh Grant now dreaming about Oscars?
“And so that I suppose, if I had any unit of success any metric it was how much money a film made. I was never in that whole other film world which is to do with prizes.”
As the father of four small children, Hugh Grant may be thinking more about his legacy. One of his most recent films, The Rewrite, may have even hinted that Grant was ready for a new second act. Starring in Florence Foster Jenkins and dropping out of the new Bridget Jones movie may indicate that Grant’s second act may be more about his legacy than his pocketbook. With such great movie reviews of his latest offering, perhaps we will see Grant in more high-brow movies and finally nominated for a prestigious award?
Are you excited about this new stage of Hugh Grant’s career? What is your favorite Hugh Grant movie?
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]