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All right, all one. Can you dig it? Let's do the show.
Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you, what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck? Nix what's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast, WTF. Welcome to it. Hugh Grant is on the show today. Hugh Grant. Now, I'll be honest with you, I didn't know if I liked Hugh Grant, I know Hugh Grant, we all know Hugh Grant, everybody knows Hugh Grant.
He's that cute guy. But lately he's been a little less cute and a little more intense and a little more interesting to me, frankly. But then I watched him in this new this new Betties in the undoing dark shit, but I know what to expect, you know, because I think back about Hugh Grant. You remember when he got busted and I thought I thought this at that point, he must have been like the biggest star in the world.
That's what I remember. But the truth was he hadn't even released an American film yet. He was just this guy that was at the tip of the spear of total media hype.
And I talked to him about it. And he completely knows that.
But but it was sort of interesting talking to him because I didn't know what to expect. He was in Istanbul. There's a tremendous time difference. It was the sun was setting there. And and he was having a cocktail, it seemed, and he was cracking me up. He's a very dark, self-deprecating man. I enjoyed it very much. So that's going to happen in a few minutes. Wish you could get live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment all in one place, do you?
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Have been having.
I've been sleeping better in my muscles. Feel better. I don't know if it's a change of vitamins. I don't know if it's the combination of yoga and meditation. I'm having deep dreams. I don't know what they mean. I had a dream about my second wife and in the dream she wasn't wearing makeup and she was a giant. And I just remember being excited to see her, but not remembering how huge she was. Like, my my head came literally to her crotch level and she was just just giant, powerful looking woman.
And I was like, were you or was it always was there was always this big a size difference.
I don't remember this at all. I guess metaphorically we can figure that one out, can't we? Can't we? And yesterday, I went and did some some voice work for the Bad Guys movie, apparently this book is very popular with kids, bad guys, and I play the snake.
But I was able to watch some of the completed sequences and it's like fucking amazing you. I'm not a big animation guy, but this stuff is moving. But I think it's everything moving now. What is happening to me?
What am I going to do? Jesus Christ, do I do want to do anything any more? Man, I don't know where you're at, but Cheesman. I did some planting the other day, I planted some plants, I've been walking by these beds around my house with these that I hated for over a year.
Because I you know, I threw some plants in there, I had the gardener throw some plants in there that didn't like them and some of the plants, they never grow. It just looks shitty and it's right in front of my house. And it was driving me nuts for over a year. And I get it in my mind.
Well, I better do some research. I better look at some books. Maybe I can have somebody come in and assess what's happening out there and breathe. And then finally, it was just sort of like, fuck it, fuck it.
And this is how I work all the time.
I don't know how you work, but I get right to the end of my rope and then it seemingly impulsively, seemingly impulsively. I just fucking go do what I have to do in a flurry. I know I've got to do it for a long time, but then it just it almost has to be it has to be done on impulse.
Like I just went to run an errand somewhere and I went by the nursery after and I bought about seven or eight plants for less than one hundred dollars. And then I just got on my knees and I got my boots on and I got a little shovel and I planted a bunch of plants. And it has taken such a fucking load off my mind.
It's such a pleasure to walk into my house. It took like a half an hour. What the fuck is wrong with me? What is wrong with us?
I mean, the one thing you learn about stuff that makes you happy in your home and around your home is if you've been forced to stay in that box for a year. Whatever you thought was slightly fucked up or slightly driving you crazy or slightly annoying or slightly ugly, it's definitely fucking annoying, ugly, irritating now.
And you can just fuckin get rid of it now. I'm not talking about children or partners, I'm talking about objects. All right, don't misunderstand this. Do not get rid of your children. Do not get rid of your partner. Well, I mean, look, oddly, you've got to keep the kids. But, you know, if it's been a year and you've realized something about your relationship, maybe you should make a move. Maybe you should make a decision.
Maybe it's time.
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All right. OK, all right. OK, so look, Hugh Grant. I had a very good time talking to him, and he's nominated for a SAG Award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a TV movie or limited series for his role as Jonathan in The Undoing. You can watch that on HBO, Max. He you can watch all his movies.
You know Hugh Grant. You know him. When I spoke to him, he was in Turkey, yeah, this is me and Hugh Grant, he's in Turkey. Hello, how's it going here? That was really natural. I'm very good at this. I've been doing it a long time.
You can tell this is I think this is the longest stretch of my miles between people that we've had.
Where are you, L.A.?
I'm in L.A.. Yeah. You're in Turkey? Yes.
Have you ever have you been there before?
Yeah, I've been on silly holidays here in the 1980s. So people go on holidays to Turkey. Oh, yes, it's hot. And it's if you're European, it's a good and if you're Russian, it's a very good destination.
So if you enjoy the nice weather and Russians, you you go to Turkey.
I love both. I'm very happy here.
And but isn't like the thing I always wonder about Turkey is like isn't there like an authoritarian regime? Does that does that in any way hamper your good times?
Well, I'm here doing a job. I'm making a film. I know. Yeah. So I've had to I you know what actors are like when we act, we park all our morality in grandstanding.
Well, I don't I don't think it's a moral thing. But even if you're vacationing because I know people live in those countries and they seem to have a life, I mean, I assume they're, you know, web designers and massage therapists that are very pleasant and happy. But I mean, I just want to just wondering if you feel it a little bit.
Like, are you nervous now?
Extremely nice to me, I have to say.
Yeah, it's a completely charming I love them so that so now we're we're good if there's any further down the road. Yeah.
If there's any monitors in the room you've done your bit. Well what is the movie man. Can you say.
Yeah it's a it's another Guy Ritchie film. I've made two already. This is another one. Stars Jason Statham. It's like a spy thing. Yeah. And I'm a I'm a billionaire. Yeah. I'm straight talk like that.
A billionaire arms dealer that talks like that.
Which accent is that would you call it is sort of north London. So a lot of the time, yes. I no, no, Mark, I'm talking sush.
How long does it take you to get hold of that accent. I kind of know it.
I grew up around a lot of London accent and I'm stealing from a few sources, but I'm too frightened to say who they are.
Oh, yeah. So characters from your past.
Well, no, real real. Some of them quite well known. But I, I see you're on the coke. I'm on the whiskey. That's that's good.
That's good for you. I'm doing. It's actually black coffee. I like to drink it out of glass. It's 730 a.m. here. You're winding down. I'm gearing up.
I'm sorry you're doing it at seven thirty. But think of me doing Jimmy Kimmel this morning at three thirty five a.m.. You did? Yeah. How'd that go?
Well, as you can imagine, it was a catastrophe. Think I like the fact that we're all on a level playing field.
Production value was like this might as well be The Tonight Show. I can do The Tonight Show from my backyard.
Whoever thought that would fucking happen? National television from my porch.
Yeah. So these characters, like in The Last Guy Ritchie to you, did another sort of guy.
Yeah. It seems like you've become like a different manifestation of yourself in terms of acting.
It seems like you enjoy it more.
Yes. Yeah, yeah. Well, the funny thing is I started out in my twenties doing I made a living from doing silly character, silly voices. Well, yeah.
I mean, what was the background in that? I notice it like that there was some comedy and some other stuff where. What part of one did you grow up in?
I grew up in West London. And yeah, I just I that's what I did, I did it I did it as a child. I did it at school. I made people laugh, doing imitations of people. And then in my early 20s, I had a you know, that's how I made my my living doing silly voices on radio commercials, which I produced and wrote with friends. And then suddenly one day I got cast in a film and I went off on a 30 year detour.
And it wasn't really the plan. It just got swept up.
Well, I was so bad in my early films. I thought, if I do one more. Yeah, just to prove I wasn't quite that bad. And then you're never satisfied right now I'm back to doing silly voices. Yeah, you do.
You have actors in your family. I mean, what what drove you initially? How many kids are there of your siblings?
Well, oh, I have one brother who is a banker in New York and there's no acting whatsoever in my family. In fact, they were all horrified when I ended up going on that detour.
And what kind of like do you come from? Like, I don't understand how Britain works, but do you have a long lineage? Are you from a prestigious heritage of sorts?
No, there's no titles. Sadly, I would love it, but I think you can get one now, can't you?
I mean, you Hugh Grant, can you just get a title? Well, the government really hate me, so I don't think so, but yeah, my family, which is nice, they would like gentlefolk, I suppose, penniless gentlefolk.
I really grew up economically compromised. My dad was in the army and he he decided to come out and make his fortune in business. And it turned out that that plan didn't work out, did not work.
And it was the seventies and everyone was unemployed and the lights went out all the time because we had power cuts and strikes. And I do remember all this in the 70s in Britain. It was really hardcore. The dead were unburied in the street. The rubbish wasn't taken away.
But wait a minute. Really, the death of the country was ruled by the unions, especially the miners union. Yeah, that's right. And then Maggie Thatcher came along and changed up.
The dead were unburied in the street.
I may have exaggerated slightly, but. Yeah. Is that like one story or was that just something like you're going to school and there's some dead people?
Well, I do love a dead person in the street. I once made a film in Calcutta and I don't know if you've been to India, but it's pretty great if you're stuck in a traffic job.
Yeah, your window goes cars, cyclists, motorbike people, coppers. And then akal. Yeah. And then a dead body is being carried on a stretcher and it might, they might get stuck and then you're just sitting, looking at the dead body for a bit.
I guess there's, there's an honesty to that that we try to avoid at all costs. You know, it's probably yeah. It's part of life.
Right, because it is of course. Yeah. I don't know why that but yeah I well yeah.
I don't know if I'm, I'm spooked by it, but I just want it to happen quickly.
I understand. Yeah. How can I help it to be quite good at murder. You're probably helping somehow now whatever stress I'm experiencing.
But India. Yeah. I've wanted to go to India but I don't know anything about India other than I like the food. And that doesn't seem to be a great reason to go because you probably can't, you know, eat too much without being careful.
You get poisoned on day three and then you no matter what you do on that film. I was there for three months and I didn't leave the lavatory except to shoot my scenes. And then I had to go straight back, continue with my explosive diarrhea.
What movie was that? Now that we know the subtext, it was a very pretentious French film. This was again back in the eighties. I went through a phase of doing your cinema and it was a film called Had Bengali Sets of InfoSec.
Do you speak French?
Well, I pretend I do. Yeah, I, I have a house in France. I'm a massive Francophile. I love the place. I love the people.
So you can speak enough French to get by. Yeah. Yeah. But when I, I always say I'm doing a sort of publicity tour for filming. Yeah. We get to France and they say could you do you know, live radio interview in French. And I said, of course, yeah. And then I go on the live radio, I can't understand a word anyone to not one word.
They just and they think you're just being an asshole or what happens.
Well, it's difficult when it's a phone in and you're under pressure and they've got foreign accent from strange regions of France. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
How do you handle that? You just go like what. What. Yeah.
You say Paul. Don't say I'm sorry. I didn't understand. You can say that once, maybe twice. But when you put it for the eighth time they just cut you off with Gingles. And so who is this idiot.
So like you're carrying like from the beginning it seems. OK, so you do one movie, you didn't think you were good in it and then it just starts rolling. I mean, did you did you train to be an actor in any way other than like I read in some of the material that you had an actual comedy troupe? Is that true?
Yes, yes. Yes. That was back when I was doing Silly Voices.
And what was comedy? Something you appreciated? Were you like a Python fan? Did you see the future?
Yes, of course. Of course. Yeah. It was the highlight of the week for us growing up.
And who are these guys in your troupe? Were you in college at the time? No, I, I oh, it's it's a complicated story. They were just guys I met.
You know, we have time. I mean. Yeah.
And we ended up we did a little show and then, you know, it was popular and then we did another one and we did another one and it got a bit bigger. Yeah.
We ended up with the Edinburgh Festival on the Fringe, you know, there. Yeah. For a month the manager had booked us this theater. Yeah. And he was an idiot and he booked a theater, the held fifteen hundred people and our average audience in London was, you know, fifty and and our first night's audience in Edinburgh was three. Yeah. Oh. Three people in a 1500 seat theater was depressing. Oh yeah. And every day we went out.
Gave out leaflets and, you know, we've got we've got our audience up to about 20. And then one day there was a guy from the BBC doing a show about friendship. He saw our show and he really liked it. So he said, come and come and do it on the BBC tonight. So we did we did one sketch the next day. We went into the theater ready to give out leaflets and played an empty house. And there was a queue three times around the block.
And it was so exciting that we gave the worst performance of our life because every time 1500 people laughed, we laughed, too, with excitement.
So you weren't you weren't you were still green, weren't ready for the big crowd. We weren't ready for those huge laughs. No.
And was it a disaster or did you get away with it?
Now, it actually went quite well there. And then we got given a TV show and that really was a disaster. We got that completely wrong.
I you know, I've had that number of fringe experience and I'll never go back there. I have a, you know, a trauma from doing that.
From what did you do? I did stand up there for a month, but I was on a double bill and I wasn't a known quantity. So we were just struggling with audiences of nine to fifteen for a fucking month. And so I beat you down, man.
I also did I did a hamlet too, that when I was at university, we did Hamlet in Star Trek costumes. We didn't we didn't have big audiences for that either.
It's I just will never go back like you couldn't pay me to go back there. It's like, you know, to compete with nine hundred acts, you know, who are doing other things.
A nine hundred aspirant, middle class. Twenty year olds. Right. Right. With different varying degrees of costume and self-importance.
Yeah. Yeah I know. But there was the TV show, the comedy show where you started launching. I mean it went badly but you seem to have done.
Yeah. But we had other work as I say, we were making all these commercials. Right. And we are writing sketches for other people on TV and we were still doing stuff in the theater. Yeah. And then one day I, I still had an agent for acting, but I never really returned that call. And then they left a message saying, this guy, James Ivory, wants to see you for film. And I said, I don't think I really want to go.
I'm not interested in acting. I've got my show and I won't get it anywhere.
And my brother, the banker that then and he was living with me, brother. I was camping on his floor. Yeah. And he said, don't be an asshole. This is money. You need money. You're not paying any rent. Go to the audition. You may be put on a suit. And I went and I got the job and and that that began this detour.
Yeah, but you keep saying Dhikr, what would you think you were going to be doing otherwise?
I mean, did you have a plan that you got no one who does have a plan in their 20s? No, I was very, very happy doing that, doing our show. I felt like a man. At the end of the day, when you write your own material, it's a lot. You feel a lot. Oh, yeah. You have a you have a hairy chest.
And if you're just seeing someone else's words, so you enjoy doing the comedy, the sketch show, even though it wasn't popular, you felt that it didn't go well.
It was probably very popular in the theater. It just was not good on television.
Oh, and so why you had the television show, you were also doing live performances. Yeah. And that was satisfying. Yes.
Well, it was it was very frightening. I mean, on the whole, it was it was it was always quite a big success. But we we then started putting in some new material which was much more controversial. Oh yeah.
I would either go brilliantly or play to sepulchral silence.
Like what, what, what were the hot topics and you know, is not desirable. Yeah.
It's a it's a it's a powerful silence that one. It is powerful. It's got a little vacuum to it. It's not just silence. It takes something from you. Yes.
Forever. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You fill that hole with resentment. It's great. The great business.
But I mean what kind of buttons were you pushing.
Well. We did some very, very blue material. Yeah, that's good. Just filthy. Yeah, you had to get the right.
Sometimes friends of my mother would come out of loyalty right into the report back was not great.
Well, they just looked ashen faced. They know how to be kind. And it was it was that was different.
They couldn't hide the what happened to you face. How did they say they're such lovely people?
My mother only had lovely, loving, supportive liberal friends. Yeah. But was very strong meat. What we were doing. I don't know why. Yeah. And I could see they were horrified. I mean these ladies were brought up in the 1950s.
Yeah. Of course. Right. Of course they were horrified. But on some level, didn't you set out to clarify exactly those people? Wasn't that the intent?
God knows what our intent was. God knows.
So you're nostalgic in about that period of self generating material?
Yes, yes. Yes, yes. Well, how come you didn't have you done any of that since?
It's not enough, although I do. It has to be said, embellish the script or the parts that I play in films always. It depends how good the original script is. If it's absolutely brilliant, there's less embellishment to be done.
If it's a bit of a dog, then there's a lot the directors enjoy you doing that they they are rightfully nervous of it because I've heard a lot of actors do it unbelievably badly and you don't know where to look, especially if they're quite powerful actors. Yeah. And they said, wouldn't it be great if I said X? And everyone's thinking, no, that would be absolutely awful.
Right. But I, I do. I do. I do the scripted version as well. And then on take three or four without saying anything, I just do something different. And sometimes you see or hear a laugh from the monitor and you think, OK, well that's good. Yeah. And I must say they do quite often end up in the film, partly because just because that fresh.
Sure. And and the camera loves fresh anything that's not pre rehearsed seems to go down very well. End up in the edit.
Did you do any formal like training. No, sir. No, I got an inferiority complex about it. At one stage I ended up it's a long story, but I ended up doing some theater at one point early on. Right. I know nothing about theater. Yeah. And I have these young friends who have been to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art of London, knew how to protect their voices and move properly. I knew nothing. So I bought a book.
There was one called Voice and the actor. The other was called Movement for the Act for Actors. And I went and practice these ludicrous exercises in the park. And I remember, for instance, running backwards with my arms outstretched, going, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Over and over again. And it was only on about the fifth time I'd done that that I noticed there were some local boys watching make rather rude signs at me. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Oh, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me. Yeah. Scrunchy not correct.
They seem to have they seem to have stuck.
I mean it's the well I mean I sort of love to that I got quite enamored of actors in the way they prepared, you know, in the theater in those days there was still some real old timers. Yeah. Well old fashioned greasepaint and did all that stuff.
Long warm ups. Yeah. Yes. And then they would come into your dressing room and they would say, hello. Hello, Christopher. I notice you're in your underwear. Christopher, do you have an erection. You see, all that was fine in those days.
Yeah, you just.
Baloji It was fine with me too.
You just took it on the chin, as it were.
It seems like those exercises were effective, though. It seems like, you know, as ridiculous as they were, they gave you some sense of of no, no, no, no.
I was really bad on the stage in those days. My God. It was one exercise about how to stand up properly on stage. And it's quite important you don't slump. Yeah, I apparently, unbeknownst to me, I really overdid it. And I went through a whole week of Lady Windermere's Fan walking onto stage, literally leaning backwards, like like I was asked by other members of the cast had to come up to me and said, could you stop doing that?
I thought I was just being my own.
You know, you're doing it correctly. This is what I did. Well, this is what actors do.
So what do you. How did you become better at it, just by doing it, just by working with directors, just because, you know, you're really good at it.
I mean, you put the working on it definitely got better in the last few years. Yeah. Oh. Just in the last few years that you think I was all right.
I had some talent, but my problem was subconsciousness really. And part of the answer, there's many answers, but the main answer for me has been don't do parts which are like me. You know, the further away from me I get, the more of a mask I put on, the less self-conscious I am.
Oh, so do you think that the self-consciousness added that can manifest just you never thought you were good?
Well, it's just if you get the average person off the street and say, right, I'm not going to push a camera into your face very slowly. Right. While 100 people watch right. And millions of people around the world watch, they get self-conscious. Or if you say to the average person on the street, just walk towards me normally. Yeah, they can't do it and no one can. You get a very strange, bouncy, self-conscious walk.
Yeah. You go from doing something which is completely instinctive in your right brain to. Using your left brain, which is something I walk, you know, and suddenly you can't do it. So this is the nightmare of self-consciousness. And anyway, my way out is to is to not be me, right. To just be captured by someone else.
But you seem like it seems like when you look back on the past and the early roles that you have a certain amount of contempt for that guy, for you doing that.
Well, I mean, I was ludicrous doing opposite theater then, but like even the most and that is where I met.
That is where I met my friend Chris, who was equally bored, the one who had the bulging underpants. Yeah. And that's when we started writing a silly show to do in the bar of the theater late at night. And that was the beginning of our show.
And then and then when you get this call, what stage you sweeping on your brother's couch? How far after the theater?
Well, during that time when I wasn't working right, I lived I lived on my brother's floor. He had a nice flat because he was a banker. Yeah.
And I always thought he liked having me there. But he recently revealed to me that he had been trying for four years to get me out.
Four years is a long time to have your brother sleeping on the floor. Yeah. Yeah. So. So when did it all turn around? I mean, was it really how many movies did it take? What was the Ivory movie that he made you go audition for?
Well, it was called Morris, OK, as it's known in America. Morris Yeah. And it was it did well, as you know, critically. And prizes were won at the Venice Film Festival and stuff like that. And well, at least the other two actors were three main boys in it. And the other two actors then had a very good phase of their career. I had a fairly good phase, but it went downhill quite fast. And then I was rescued many years later by four weddings and a funeral.
So that was your beginning and then you felt like you did. You was so Rupert Graves was in that one.
That who. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you just you feel like you did OK. But then there was a lot of expectation and it didn't quite happy. Well no, not really.
I just, I got offered some crap and I did all the crap because I thought how lovely. He has money in his foreign location and pretty girls and I accepted everything.
Where does the layer of the white worm fall in? I'm very fond of that film that I've seen it. Yeah, of course. Fucking trip. Yeah, well, people who take a lot of drugs do love it.
Well, Ken Russell's a wild man. He was he was a wild man.
And he was I mean, he was very talented.
But by that stage, he was also very fond of a good lunch, let's just say, yeah, it was already a fairly wild film in the mornings. Yeah. By the time he'd had a lunch with two bottles of wine, it was really a different story. And, you know, his style of directing became ever more eccentric. So he would say, I remember there's a scene in that film where I have to pick up a big sword.
Yeah. And cut. A lady snake monster. All right, it didn't feel quite right, and I said, I can this doesn't feel quite comfortable here. And his immortal words to me were, while fuck, I fucking feel do it how I fucking Shoji's cunt.
And that is not out of the classic directorial hand. Yeah.
You got to be at it for a few years to have that kind of insight.
That must have been it was that close to his last movie I wonder. Yeah. Close too close to you. And I never really sure what he intended with that film because it's possible it was meant to be a serious horror film. And then we had a read through the night before we started shooting and the cast laughed so hard with tears streaming down our face. But I think at that point we think we might have it up a bit.
And he didn't stop you. So what are you going to do? Yeah, but it's like it's kind of amazing that you did like it looks like almost ten movies before. Forty four weddings and a funeral.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well and lots of miniseries. Really dodgy mini series. It was, it was the BBC. No they were I don't know, it was some American ones. It was Judith Krantz's to we meet again. Oh yeah. I don't know. I was always for some reason a champagne baron. An evil one. Yeah. Who stole the family champagne and sold it to the Nazis and raped Courteney Cox. My half sister got whipped out of the house by Michael Yo.
I always had a little mustache.
You got to work with Michael York. I mean, that's not nothing.
That's not nothing. I just watched the accident, the accident that Joseph Locy movie the.
With the Pinter script.
Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing how long that guy was around. And he was always sort of in movies. Yeah.
Was a lovely man is he. And very, very good as Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers.
Yeah. Yeah. Austin Powers.
Well so you got cast as the evil baron rich guy thing and you were pretty young and then all of a sudden it just shifts and you're this, you know, this, you know, romantic kind of well things what things were started even in the even the miniseries were fizzling out by nineteen ninety three.
I think they were a bit.
You weren't even thirty yet. Right. And you're already thirty.
I was thirty. Yeah. They were little bits that were alright you know, but it was fizzling and then suddenly the script arrives and I've told this story many times but I'll tell it again just in case anyone hasn't heard a. It was so surprising to read a good script from my agent that I called up and I said. I think there's been a mistake, you sent me a good script. The reason I did that is because about a year previously they'd sent me Jerry Maguire and I said, I think some mistake here.
You've sent me a good script. And they said, yes, I'm sorry. That is a mistake. Anyway, for weddings was.
Yeah, it was an audition. And I went to the man who wrote it. Richard Curtis hated me on sight and didn't want me to do the film. And the producer didn't want me to do the film. But the man who was directing it, my new thought there was some. Something there. Yeah, and he fought and he got cast and then I was off on another detour.
But have you written a memoir yet? No, sir. When's that going to happen? Well, I don't know, because half of me wants to do it, but obviously thinks. They're a bit of one zone or something. I mean, it's a bit yeah, and I guess but it like it really seems that, you know, given your your tone and the way you would approach the stories, it would be pretty entertaining when it would probably be fun to write.
I try and go that way. Did you ever read David Nimmons autobiography? No. No. You're great. It's great. The Moon's absolute fact as to the moon's balloon. And then there's another one called Bring On the Empty Horses. And those are great. And it's not obvious. Yeah.
And I think there's probably a way to do it. Yeah. So after four weddings, like, I didn't realize because my memory, like, I've just sort of always been around, you know, in my in my life.
I'm sorry. No, no, it's great. I mean I mean, I, you know, I watched, you know, the undoing and and there's part of me, you know, seeing you in that and watching all of it where I'm like, oh, finally now we really see him.
But did you ever did you not see I done a few other really evil characters.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that that's where you're going. But like, I was sort of my my my point is, is that I didn't realize that after four weddings and a funeral that, you know, you'd only done that movie and you'd become this like almost major presence in the world of celebrity and attention.
You know, like I remember like I had to kind of put it into context when all that shit went down with you out here that you were you were you were new.
Like he wasn't like you'd done a million movies.
I was about to launch my first Hollywood show. My timing was impeccable.
How deeply have you investigated the the timing of that, you know, in terms of why you do certain things? Do you do do you do that kind of self exploration?
Yeah. I mean, I've said this before. My problem was that was my first Hollywood film and I'd just been to see it. The film was about to come out. Yeah. Week or two. And I had a bad feeling about it.
And I went to see a screening and everyone in it was brilliant. But I was so atrocious that I was not in a good frame of mind. And I had a I had a Ken Russell kind of lunch. Yeah. And one thing led to another.
So you're like, you know, I'm going to make a mess of this.
Well, now I know deliberately. God, no, not deliberately at all. No, I just was disappointed in myself and.
Yeah. And you wanted to make it worse. I don't know. I don't know what was going on, but I certainly did. But but, you know, you sort of weathered the storm.
Which movie were you talking about that you thought you were so bad in sirens?
Well, no, no, no. I wasn't bad as long as it was called nine months.
Oh, yeah, yeah. And yeah, but you weathered the storm. You kept going. Was I mean, did you think it was over after that or what.
No, because the film did alright at the box office, but I think it did quite well and that's all Hollywood really cares about. They don't care what you get up to as long as you make no money. Not then they didn't.
Now it seems like you know.
Well, yes, yes. I think things are different now. Yeah.
I mean, and also, like, I don't know, I think the premium put on who the hell knows what's happening with show business. It's a fucking disaster.
Why? What in what way is it a disaster? Well, it just feels like, you know, the pressure of being a public person, even a minor public person, you know, is is daunting. And it's, you know, at some point, especially now, you've got to wonder, like, you know, is this worth it? You know, and it seems like you've fought that fight before, you know, valiantly against, you know, people who are, you know, the boundaryless, abusive press.
But it's just like you can't hide anymore from anybody can get through to you, whatever.
Yeah. Yeah. Everyone's got a phone. Everyone's a pop.
Yeah. Everyone's tweeting about where you are, what you're doing. It's crazy. Yeah. So I you couldn't misbehave and I don't want to misbehave anymore.
I'm too old and you know. No but thank God because it's now it would be completely impossible. Misbehavior of any kind.
Well what sparked this scene. Like I have no understanding, like apparently the British tabloid press, I don't know it, but like I think it's bad here, but apparently it's like horrendous there. Yes.
But it's er. Yes, that's correct. And funnily enough, I've just been sent a whole lot of information about how it wasn't just my cell phone, that messages that were being accessed. It was also my landline was my home line. For years and years they were listening and my medical records and my car had bugs put in it so that they knew where I was. And, you know, you just found this out? Yeah, I knew some of it, but I didn't know for sure.
But a lot of the guys who. Did this work? Private investigators hired by tabloid newspapers are now coming over to our side. You know, I've got a sort of campaign group. I'm a part of it. Yeah. And they now they're so pissed off that the editors, senior executives and the owners of these newspapers have got away scot free while some of them have gone to some of these foot soldiers are gone to jail, that they're now coming over to our side and spilling the beans, really.
And it's apart from it being sort of fascinating and horrific. It's it's also quite heartwarming and weird in a way, I have a party every year with my campaign group for my birthday, and they love to invite these people who've previously done really terrible things to me, you know, but my car stolen my medical records. Yeah. In one broken into my apartment, just took the door off the hinges when I was out and had a good sniff around.
And so they love to say at these parties, they said RSU, I don't think you've met Noby. He broke into your flat in 1999. And I have to go. I know. Yeah. Well, welcome. Make yourself at home.
I think you know where everything is, you know, but, you know, it's like you're sitting here saying there's a list of things and you're actually in, you know, a relatively authoritarian country.
But those all sound like authoritarian actions. Yes.
Well, that's almost true in the sense that they were allowed to do all this because government was so scared or remain so scared of those newspapers. Yeah, because they have the power to make or break politicians careers that no one ever went after them. So the police were instructed to look the other way while all this was going on. And that is why my group campaigned for a big public inquiry led by a judge to really uncover all the dirt that we did get it and it was done.
And he made recommendations. And then the government, under pressure from these newspapers said what were they found a way not to put it into law. So really, we're sort of back to square one. It's just the country. Britain is run by four or five newspaper owners. People often say, you know, Americans I mean, they say, so what do you think of the present prime minister? It's kind of irrelevant. They are just puppets chosen by Rupert Murdoch and the Barclay brothers and really a couple of.
Oh, yeah, yeah. These are the people. It's it's it's an oligarchy. It's four very, very powerful newspaper owners runs Britain.
And none of them like you well know, I would be one of their first public enemies because I've. Yeah, I've spoken up against them.
Well, I mean, didn't you you've had you've had some success, right, in making them making them pay. Yes.
I've won court cases because in our authoritarian regime or Murdoch, Christie or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, the one the one one of the things that's still free is the courts haven't got to the judges yet. So you can win cases against them, but they will punish you for that. And how did they punish you?
Well, appalling editorial treatment. You know, you will be taken to pieces shredded as a warning, not just a warning to you not to do it again, but a warning to anyone else. Do not ever. Criticize us or point out the widespread illegalities and lawbreaking.
Holy shit, it's fucking terrifying. You know, I don't even have that. You know, I hear you're just doing what we've been through presidentially and what's going on here. I mean, I know there's, you know, outlets and propaganda, but, like, it seems so cut and dry, you know, what's going on there in terms of their control of things. We don't we don't have that here. I mean, they're they're separate stations, but it's not everybody's brain addled and terrified.
Well, it has changed a little here because of social media now before social media really took off. Yeah, they really had a stranglehold of public opinion. And if you have a stranglehold on public opinion and can control it, then you can control politicians, you can control everything. But now there is the people have the capability to push back a little via social media. You know, the truth can be put right on social media if you have a loud enough voice on that.
Well, that's good. I guess it's. Yes, I guess.
Do you do you live in England still? Yeah, you do. Yeah.
You never thought to to leave because I mean, I talked to Kate Winslet recently and I mean, she basically left that she was she living now.
She was in New York for a while. I guess she's back there. But I think after Titanic she went to New York for years.
She got that type of attention, very young. And it didn't seem as abusive or intrusive as yours. But, I mean, she knew that it was something that she didn't necessarily want to live with.
Yeah, well, I don't blame her. When did you like you've got a bunch of kids, right? Yes, that's you. I hope that start happening remarkably late in life. I had my first child at fifty one, really know sixty and I have children going down from nine to three.
And when did you when did you get married. About three years ago. You just got married three years ago. Like I'm work. I'm fifty seven.
Yeah. I guess I was fifty seven when I got married. Are you married.
No, no I'm not married anymore. I don't have any kids either, but I've been married a couple of times so. Wait, you had kids before you were married it with two different people.
I had most of my kids before I was married and I've had I think one since.
And what was the what was the big life change? Did you not want to have kids originally or you just never found the time or the person?
Yeah, I don't know really I. I think most men have a fear of what having a child will do to that lifestyle. Sure. And then other men will give them a lecture and say, no, you don't understand. It's so wonderful. It completes you as a man and you think I'll piss off.
But actually, I find that those smug people are not entirely wrong. It has been absolutely lovely and and it's been lovely being married to which I really never expected.
Well, I mean, you know, you're older. So, I mean, you know, after a certain point, all the things that were important when we were younger really start to lose their meaning.
Does that. But I but also, if you just happen to get lucky and find the right person and, you know, I'm married to an amazing person who is my best friend. And I mean, I look, I can't believe the cliches, the reporting from my lips, but it's it's nice that we have dinner together every night. And, you know, I look forward to it, which is just bizarre. Is it?
But it's bizarre in a good way. Right. This is not a detour. This is where you landed in the then the good life. Exactly. What does she do? She does she is she in the business? She's had many jobs.
But she was she was in ESPN. She made. Oh yeah. Sports promos and things. And now she's just swamped by children. Yeah.
And how do you think it changed your approach to life?
More cliches are about to pour from my mouth, but it's very nice suddenly when you're not the most important person anymore, it's actually strangely soothing and relaxing and a relief. We feel better about yourself to. Genuinely care about someone else. I mean, you know, I you properly love your children and you want to look after them and and I think it makes you feel, you know, I talked earlier about hairy chests. It gives you a hairy chest.
You would think, well, I took care of my kids today and I love them. And and, of course, it's absolutely delightful being loved, but so does so does complete you as a man.
I would look at you.
I'm making myself vomit.
But it's sort of this vulnerability is difficult, isn't it?
So in terms of what you were saying earlier about avoiding yourself was always a relief in terms of the roles you chose. Now it seems like you're fairly comfortable with yourself despite, you know, being cliches around fatherhood. But how is it do you feel it's made a difference in how you work?
Yes. I mean, I think it has made me better at acting. Yeah. Because I'm just less of a shrill. Narcissist, milk addict, which I was when I was a bachelor, what addict, golf addict, I was a really serious golf addict for about 12 years to the point of insanity. And now I can access all kinds of things in my acting in a real, proper love. And that's very useful.
Oh, man, I never thought about it like that. So, yeah, because you I guess you can't really fake that, can you? Well, I faked it for years and all those romantic promises, but right now I know I feel it. And whereas in the old days, if the scene required, say, crying, I just have one question. I forget it. Now you can't stop me crying. They have to ask me not to.
I do a scene where I have to say to the waitress, could I have a cappuccino? I burst into tears and I said, well, maybe not. Not in the scene.
You know, one of the things that's made me sad with the undoing was that there's two or three occasions where I genuinely cried and in the right kind of scene. Yeah. And the reaction of Twitter, which I was reading while this was being broadcast, never he tarabella crying. That's rubbish. That's not real cry.
And it bloody was maybe I've just got a really unattractive cry face and I'll never cry again.
Oh, you will. But I mean, I think people have built up, you know, expectations or judgments or some sort of relationship with you over, you know, the last 30 years where I think you're right.
I think you know what I mean. So they that's I mean, I think that's the weirdest part about being a, you know, a movie star.
Somebody as big as you in the cultural mind is that, you know, people have a relationship with you that's got nothing to do with who you are.
Yeah. Yeah. Now, it's a bit late to be attempting to be a serious character actor because I know his vast baggage with it.
That is not the point I was making. Yeah. You know, I put the fault on the people that think they know you but don't.
All right. You're doing good work. All right.
So like. Yeah, and I did I did like the undoing. And and I've interviewed Nicole.
She's like much different than I thought she was. And I found her to be very entertaining and candid and charming and funny. It must be it was a good to work with her. Yes.
And I've always liked, you know, Brits get on very well with Australians. Yeah. We invented them really?
By throwing them out. Yeah. Yeah, we throw up. So I've I've always, you know, I've noticed socially for decades and I've always liked, um. Yeah. As you say, she's a good actor. Yeah.
When you act with, when you act with people, I mean do you think because as you get older and you have this new vulnerability, do you connect better when you're doing a scene and all that stuff? Do you find that you're able to kind of show up for them better?
Yeah, maybe. Maybe, maybe. I mean, nothing can ever be as frightening as Meryl Streep, which I who I had to work with them, the Florence Foster Jenkins. So Nicole was intimidating. She's got hostas and stuff that's very serious acting.
Yeah. Nothing can ever frighten me as much of that. But you held your own. Well, I did my best.
I had my I had my emotion tape, all my emotion playlist, which really helps.
Oh, that's good. So now this one you're playing a bad guy. Is there is there a plan?
Do you do you ever see yourself doing something like I like that's directly relatable to the life you're living right now? Like like a father warm?
Well, I'm doing the sinisterly close to the life I live in. I got that he was an Upper East Side dad with a kid in a private school and he goes to fundraisers and all that. And that's me and the boy that turn in that movie.
Like I knew it was coming. But when it came, I was like, holy shit.
Yeah, really? Well, I had to warn my wife. I said, look, I did have a plan to play this as a character. But in the end, the director wanted me to play it closer to me. So I've done that. In fact, it's sinisterly close to me. And I, you know, don't be alarmed.
And how did she take that? She loves the film. She does more evil I am the more I arouse her. So that's partly why I'm doing all these villains to keep her entertained. Yeah.
To know how the role playing goes.
She is utterly revolted by the characters I played in those romantic comedies. She's a Swedish girl from the northern woods where men are men. The idea of some blinking, stuttering and an utterly repellent to her man.
He found the right person. Yeah, she's taking you to the next step, Hugh. Yeah, I'm still not.
I'm I'm still nothing, like, manly enough for her bright. There are these huge, good looking beasts who never speak, it's uncool to speak if you're from the north part of Sweden. I never shut up. And, you know, my wife has caught me, especially during lockdown, watching The Sound of Music by myself and really enjoying it and singing along. These were difficult moments for a northern Swede.
Well, it's hilarious. That's what you have to be ashamed of being caught doing in your house.
Yeah, but I really love The Sound of Music. I was in it once. I was Brigitta von Trapp, one of the daughters, because I went through the old boys school. So when we did The Sound of Music, you know, boys had to play girls roles. In fact, from for many years I played nothing but girls roles. So I've always been very sympathetic towards actresses. I know what life's like.
And. And do you like other musicals or is that the one?
I do like musicals. I can't beat about the bush.
I like have have have you ever wanted to do one as an adult. Well, I do a musical number at the end of Paddington two, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm not sure it's the most butch moment in cinema history, but it's a good one.
Do you want to do any stage work as this character actor that you are now?
Well, I would certainly do short run, yeah. But I also I would have to wrestle with that problem. I mentioned earlier of when the audience laughs. I'm so thrilled. I laugh to it.
So you get used to think you still got that. Did you ever meet Christopher Plummer? No, I wish I had. I thought you might. I figure, like in England, everybody meets everybody eventually.
Yes. I never met him. I don't know where he was hiding. Maybe he doesn't didn't live in England. I don't.
Well, this has been a very fun talk. Have you had a nice time?
Yes. Mark, thank you very much.
Did you work today, by the way? No. Today was well, I prepared an actor prepared today. Yeah. What did you do to prepare? Just to go over the script. Ridiculous detail I go into.
I write these long biographies of character. And do you why is he doing this? Why is he saying that? And really and then of course a lot of what else might he say? And I write all these alternative lines in the margin. Really?
Yeah. So you create a back story for all the people. Yeah. Huge, huge back story. Yes, they did. In mushrooms. So everything if it says he comes is, hey, you know, why did he come in here. Does he use a why doesn't he have a brush and how long is he used to comb and was it his mother. And let's talk about his mother. What was his mother like and how much did he love her and did she drink and all that?
And I don't know I don't know if it makes any difference to the final performance, but I feel like it might do. And it certainly helps my nerves because the waiting to act is absolutely miserable and tormenting. And I feel that if I fill it with activity in rehearsal and study, I'm a bit less nervous.
And do you wake when you are in scenes? What what do you do with all that information? Do you just assume that it's in there and you let it go or you let it go?
Let it go, let it go. Although occasionally, you know, and I always think this is a good test of whether you've really captured your character or not. Yeah. When the scene has finished or when there's a silence, I believe one should know what to say next, that you could improvise completely instinctively the next line, because you know your character so well, how they speak, how they think. And I like to try and get myself to that point.
Oh, well, that's helpful for me.
I mean, I like that's impressive. I never like because I notice when I talk to actors, they everyone's got their own way of of making it work for them, their own set of habits and tools.
Yeah. But this stuff like outside of just making you, you know, by the time better it kind of it makes you go deeper with the possibilities of those moments. Right.
So well so it turns out it turns out that this is Stanislavski, you know. In fact, he did write an actor prepares, didn't he? Yeah, I think so, yeah. And it's all that it's and the method and it's just endless combing through and through and through and through and through, thinking more detail, more detail, more detail where they come from.
All that man now and now we have to do at the same time. I think that that's that's quite serious. Actor actor prep. But I think it's very, very important. I think maybe want to simultaneously keep an eye on what's entertaining and. Will this actually interest people and entertain them or make them laugh or move them? Because if you just if it's just a sort of religious process where you just trying to be true to your character, it can be a bit boring.
Interesting. So you're aware of that, that you know that you want to be engaging and entertaining. And if you do see a scene where you don't feel that that's in there, you'll want to redo it.
Yeah. Yeah. But if you have to choose one, the entertaining instinct or the truth. Instinct. They on film, you're better to go with the truth, one always, because they can make it entertaining by editing music like other things, they can make an entertaining and there's no coming back from something which is false. You might think it was terribly entertaining in that film, in that scene. But if you were false, the audience knows it, they don't like it and it dies.
But if you're real, it's surprising even if you're not hitting any of the comedy beats in the classic sort of way. And I just think, oh, you're killing the jokes with your serious bloody acting. But actually on film, very often the joke survives their serious acting better than it survives me. My perfect timing. Right.
And do you like how aware of your face are you? Well, if you're aware of your face, you're dead meat. Oh yeah.
Because I talked to Jeff Daniels once. He's like, you've got to learn how to work your face because all film acting like 70 percent of it his face. It's true.
It's true. It's all the things I do. And they say we're just going to push in slowly on your face for this reaction shot, you know, courtroom scenes and this is this pushing could last two bloody minutes. And within the first 15 seconds, you think this is okay.
And I'm in character here and I'm thinking thoughts and I'm emoting. And then within twenty five seconds, he's, I think but my jaw has gone funny on funny, you know, no more. My eyes are bulging and then you're gone.
That's it. There goes that close up.
Yeah. Well I enjoy your work and I appreciate you talking to me.
All right. Well thanks, Mark. Take care of yourself, man.
All the best. That was Hugh Grant, the show that he's nominated for the SAG Award is in The Undoing as Jonathan in The Undoing. You can watch Jack on HBO, Max. So listen, folks, here's a little real talk. It's time to stop searching dozens of streaming platforms, trying to find what you want to watch. Paramount Plus isn't just another streaming service. It's live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment all in one place.
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I've said Star Trek my entire life, not Star Trek. Star Trek. It's been Star Trek my entire life. So saying Star Trek is new to me. There you go. There's a little secret.
Am I ashamed? Yeah. Mudjimba OK. Yup. I am going to play some guitar right now. Over lives, Monkey and the Fonda and the Cat Angels are coming down, they're coming down, they're coming down.