Hugh Grant has admitted he has made some “shockers” throughout the course of his film career, and said he had to get “too old and ugly and fat” before he stopped making romantic comedies.
The Very English Scandal star said he has got “marginally less self-hatred” since he started making other kinds of projects, but added he felt like he was in “a box” for a long time after the success of Four Weddings And A Funeral in 1994.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: “But not one [a box] you can complain about. 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.”
However, Grant said had a permanent inferiority complex because of his run in rom-coms, which included Love Actually, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Music And Lyrics, adding: “Less now because 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.”
Discussing his early career, he said: “When I was unemployed, I took everything. The worse it was, the quicker I took it.
“You think, ‘Oh, well, this is nonsense, this film [1988’s Rowing With The Wind], it’s being made in Spain with English actors, with a director who doesn’t speak English and German money, it’s never going to see the light of day, so just go and have a nice time for three months, flirt with the actress playing Claire Claremont [Grant’s former girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley].
“I used to call them Euro Pudding.”
Asked what he wished he knew about navigating fame, he said: “Just about everything. Every decision I ever made was probably wrong.
“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.
“I had to wait until all the romantic comedy had dried up before I was offered anything else.”
He joked that people would be surprised to learn “how nasty I am”, adding: “People saw all those romantic comedies where I was being a nice guy written by Richard Curtis, who is a very nice guy, and they used to think, ‘Oh, Hugh must be like that,’ but I’m vile. Really.”
He described himself as “Barbra Streisand in trousers,” adding: “I’m very interfering. And maybe I’m doing her a disservice. Maybe she’s very easy.
“I always [think of her as being] quite interfering and difficult. I’ve gotten better as my power has dwindled, but when I had a bit of power, I got heavily involved with the script and the casting and the crew, down to what the poster was going to look like in Italy.
“Then I got a life. Had children. It’s the Hollywood system. They pretend to listen — they’re not, though.”
Asked if he had any interest in producing, he replied: “I did a bit of that, and it’s actually horrible. I don’t know if you’ve done it, but it’s like driving a car from the back seat.
“You’re just tearing your hair out while someone else is driving, saying, ‘No, no, no, slower, go right’.”