Fangirl Friday: Hugh Grant

On this week’s edition of Fangirl Fridays, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite actors: Mr. Hugh Grant.



Many of my favorite movies have one thing in common: him. I don’t know what it is exactly. Maybe it’s his delightful British accent, his crooked smile, the little twinkle in his eye, or the perfect delivery of his lines. He’s been in dozens of films and television shows, however I’m going to stick to the movies I actually own (and watch over and over!). In these films he plays a variety of roles: good guy, self-absorbed prick, cad, earnest politician -- and I enjoy his performance in each one.


 



I was first introduced to him in the British blockbuster, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), playing the male lead, Charles. The film follows the fortunes of Charles and his friends as they wonder if they will ever find true love and marry. Charles is immediately captivated by Carrie, an American guest at Wedding #1.



Charles: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to drag you from your delicious desserts. [pause] There are just one or two little things I feel I should say, as best man. This is only the second time I've been a best man. I hope I did OK that time. The couple in question are at least still talking to me. Unfortunately, they're not actually talking to each other. The divorce came through a couple of months ago. But I'm assured it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Paula knew Piers had slept with her sister before I mentioned it in the speech. The fact that he'd slept with her mother came as a surprise, but I think was incidental to the nightmare of recrimination and violence that became their two-day marriage.



Charles: Why am I always at, uh, weddings, and never actually getting married, Matt?
Matthew: It's probably 'cause you're a bit scruffy. Or it could also be 'cause you haven't met the right girl.
Charles: Ah, but you see, is that it? Maybe I have met the right girls. Maybe I meet the right girls all the time. Maybe it's me.



Henrietta: Charles! Charles, we must talk.
Charles: Right.
Henrietta: The thing is, Charlie, I've spoken to lots of people about you. Everybody agrees you're in real trouble, Charles.
Charles: Am l?
Henrietta: You see, you're turning into a kind of serial monogamist. One girlfriend after another, yet you never really let anyone near you. On the contrary... You're affectionate to them and sweet to them. Even to me, although you thought I was an idiot.
Charles: I did not.
Henrietta: You did. I thought U2 was a type of submarine.
Charles: In a way, you were right. Their music has a naval quality.
Henrietta: Be serious, Charles. Give people a chance. You don't have to think 'I must get married', but you mustn't start relationships thinking 'I mustn't get married'.
Charles: Most of the time I don't think at all. I just potter along.
Henrietta: Charlie! Oh, God! The way you used to look at me! I just misread it, that's all. I thought you were going to propose and you were just working out how to leave.



Another of my favorite Hugh Grant films is Notting Hill (1999). He portrays William Thacker, the owner of a small travel bookstore. One day Anna Scott, a beautiful and famous Hollywood actress (portrayed by real-life beautiful and famous Hollywood actress, Julia Roberts) visits his shop. When he sees her a second time he accidentally spills orange juice on her, and he offers her a place to get cleaned up...at his house. Eventually, the two become close and try to have a relationship in spite of being thrust into the spotlight.



William: The thing is, with you I'm in real danger. It seems like a perfect situation, apart from that foul temper of yours, but my relatively inexperienced heart would I fear not recover if I was, once again, cast aside as I would absolutely expect to be. There's just too many pictures of you, too many films. You know, you'd go and I'd be... uh, well buggered basically.
Bernie: But she said she wanted to go out with you?
William: Yes - sort of...
Bernie: That's nice.
William: What?
Bernie: Well, you know, anybody saying they want to go out with you is... pretty great... isn't it...?
William: It was sort of sweet actually - I mean, I know she's an actress and all that, so she can deliver a line - but she said that she might be as famous as can be - but also... that she was just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. [pause] Oh, sod a dog. I've made the wrong decision, haven't I?



In Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Hugh plays Daniel Cleaver. Daniel is Bridget’s boss at a publishing company. She has a crush on him, even though she knows he is a cad, and eventually sleeps with him. He plays the antagonist in this one, but really seemed to relish breaking away from his usual nice-guy role.



Bridget: So what do you think of the situation in Chechnya?
Daniel Cleaver: I couldn't give a fuck, Jones.



Daniel Cleaver: First, have some more wine, and then tell me the story about practicing French kissing with the art girls at school, because it's a very good story.
Bridget: It wasn't French kissing.
Daniel Cleaver: Don't care, make it up. That's an order, Jones.



Bridget: Daniel, what you just did is actually illegal in several countries.
Daniel Cleaver: That is one of the reasons that I'm so thrilled to be living in Britain today.



Daniel Cleaver: Come on Bridget, we belong together - you, me, poor little skirt. If I can't make it with you then I can't make it with anyone.
Bridget: That's not a good enough offer for me.



About a Boy (2002) is another one of my favorites. Hugh plays Will Freeman, a rich, self-centered man who hasn’t worked a day in his life thanks to the royalties from the hit Christmas carol written from his deceased father. Will’s life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters 12 year old Marcus, a boy living with his depressed single mother.



Will: The thing is, a person's life is like a TV show. I was the star of The Will Show. And The Will Show wasn't an ensemble drama. Guests came and went, but I was the regular. It came down to me and me alone. If Marcus' mum couldn't manage her own show, if her ratings were falling, it was sad, but that was her problem. Ultimately, the whole single mum plotline was a bit complicated for me.



Will: Me, I didn't mean anything. About anything, to anyone. And I knew that guaranteed me a long, depression-free life.



Will: I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour. Taking a bath: one unit, watching countdown: one unit, web-based research: two units, exercising: three units, having my hair carefully disheveled: four units. It's amazing how the day fills up, and I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I'd ever have time for a job; how do people cram them in?



Will: All men are islands. And what's more, this is the time to be one. This is an island age. A hundred years ago, for example, you had to depend on other people. No one had TV or CDs or DVDs or home espresso makers. As a matter of fact they didn't have anything cool. Whereas now you can make yourself a little island paradise. With the right supplies, and more importantly the right attitude, you can become sun-drenched, tropical, a magnet for young Swedish tourists.



Will: I couldn't possibly think of a worse godfather for Imogene. You know me. I'll drop her at her christening. I'll forget her birthdays until her 18th, when I'll take her out and get her drunk and possibly, let's face it, you know, try and shag her. I mean, seriously, it's a very, very bad choice.
Couple: We know, I just thought you had hidden depths.
Will: No. No. You've always had that wrong. I really am this shallow.



Will: [voiceover] Having been Will the Good Guy, I didn't relish going back to my usual role of Will the Unreliable, Emotionally Stunted Asshole.



In Love, Actually (2003) Hugh is part of a large, ensemble cast, playing the role of the new British Prime Minister. Unlike the previous Prime Minister, he is unmarried and childless.



Prime Minister: Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.



Natalie: Hello, David. I mean "sir". Shit, I can't believe I've just said that. And now I've gone and said "shit" - twice. I'm so sorry, sir.
Prime Minister: It's fine, it's fine. You could've said "fuck," and then we'd have been in real trouble.
Natalie: Thank you, sir. I did have an awful premonition that I was gonna fuck up on the first day. Oh, piss it!



Natalie: He says no one's gonna fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
Prime Minister: Ah! You know, um, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
Natalie: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
Prime Minister: Do. The SAS are absolutely charming. Ruthless trained killers are just a phone call away.



Press Conference Reporter: Mr. President, has it been a good visit?
The President: Very satisfactory indeed. We got what we came for, and our special relationship is still very special.
Press Conference Reporter: Prime Minister?
Prime Minister: I love that word "relationship." Covers all manner of sins, doesn't it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship; a relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to, erm... Britain. We may be a small country, but we're a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that. And a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.”



Recently, Hugh appears onstage alongside his friend Nigel Hollins and other members of the Baked Bean Theatre Company for actors with learning disabilities. The play tells a story loosely based on Hollins’s own, about a young man who isn’t sure whether he has the confidence to get into acting, but who eventually plucks up the courage to take a part. The friendship between the two came about after he contacted the Hollins family when he was making a television documentary about press intrusion in 2012.



For several years, he has been an outspoken advocate against illegal phone hacking conducted by members of the British press. As a key member of Hacked Off, the campaign for a free and accountable press, and as a victim of phone hacking, he testified at the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. In addition, he made a documentary Taking on the Tabloids, which aired on the eve of the publication of the Leveson Inquiry report.



Next up for Hugh is the film, The Rewrite. He leads a cast including Marisa Tomei, Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons as a washed-up screenwriter who begins teaching at a state university. In an interview, he described The Rewrite as a movie about second chances and redemption, rather than a traditional romantic comedy. Okay, I’m in!



Whenever I need a pick me up, all I have to do is pop in one of Hugh Grant's films, grab a snack and enjoy.

Comments

  1. Delightful and delicious, love your post Donna!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great post Donna. I've seen all these movies too, except for The Rewrite. He is one of my favourite actors and I won't confess how many times I've watched Bridget Jones's Diary.

    ReplyDelete

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