JW: Have you ever thrown a showbiz tantrum? And if so how bad?
JW: Here's the star of the best movie I've seen since Moulin Rouge
and a man said (didn’t quite hear this bit) "actually he's quite good isn't he, Hugh Grant"
Hugh Grant: Thanks..I'll take any compliment I can get, though there's
certainly a barb in the back of that
JW: The soundtrack, when did you actually hear it back?
HG: Well, during the previews cos I'm very interfering in the film
making process, I won't let anything go without nagging and putting
my oar in.
JW: That's why you came in and grabbed the CD and said "we didn't
approve that cover"
HG: I know, pathetic isn't it, I mean, what am I Barbra Streisand?
I mean I was working closely with the Weitz brothers, who directed
the film, in terms of whether we should use Badly Drawn Boy and I
thought it was a great idea and then he came in and we spoke to him
and you know the only down side was that he'd never done this sort of
thing before and who has? apart from film composers, which is a very
specialised art. And he has done an incredible job, but I think it
took some time to get there, it's very very difficult...you can be
the most brilliant musician in the world but to get the music to
really work with the film so that you don't even necessarily notice
it till afterwards..
JW: And Damon said he was hanging out with you a a little bit so you
got on all right with each other..
HG: Yes, yes, well, we didn't hang out much, I think we had some
lunch on a bus once (laughs)
JW: Oh well, he's larging it, he's using your name all over the
HG: And I'm using his for my credibilty.
JW: Going back to being patronised by press and reviews and stuff
like that, we'll move on after this, how does it feel though when
they are actually saying that you really are a world class actor
HG: Don't get me wrong, when I say I'm thrilled with any compliment
and grateful it's true, it's very nice to get praise, God, we all
need, it and I'm delighted that that is happening a bit on this one.
JW: But do you feel like it's the best thing you've ever done?
HG; When I say I can't watch myself on screen without wanting to
throw up I'm not really lying, so I really am never happy with what
I've done, but having said that I am thrilled that the film works so
well, because I was really involved with it for about 3 or 4 years in
development and so on.
JW: So you made the film happen, or you spoke to Nick Hornby, how
did that come about?
HG: Well, yeah, I was sent the proofs of the book before it was
published for my company and by the time I'd read it, and loved it
and wanted to buy it, I was too late, Robert de Niro, or Bob to me
now, they'd snapped it up and there's a long boring history, I was
involved for several years and helped find the Weitz brothers to
direct it and write the script and it was all agony really and worry
and then finally you have these early screenings and people go nuts
for the film and that makes it all worthwhile.
JW: Have you worked with kids before?
HG: I haven't really, not on such a scale. You've just got to be
very careful you get the right kid because a lot of them come in and
they're a bit stage schooly and that's hell, they're a bit
determinedly cute and they've got these scary mums lurking in the
background, so we were very keen to get a human and I think we found
one with Nicholas and he also has to be, as well as a good actor,
when it comes to films you need someone who is to a certain degree
that part, and although he's not as disturbed and weird as Marcus is
in the book, Nicholas Hoult, who plays that part - there are oddities
about his family life..
JW: Are his eyebrows genuinely like that or are they brushed?
HG: His Dr Spock eyebrows are his own.
JW: Good on you Nicholas. Did you actually screentest loads of
kids? That must have been quite a pressure as well. The mothers
there in the wings, I'm just imagining a nightmare scenario...
HG: Well, all auditions are heartbreaking, but in a way auditioning
children of 11 or 12 is less heartbreaking because they are going to
have so many more opportunites..the thing that's unbearable in
auditions is when you get some guy of 50 with a family coming in and
that's just awful.
JW: Are you quite tough though? I guess you have to be.
HG: Well, I mean you can't give everyone the part, you know, very
tricky, but I've always let other people do the hiring and firing and
take the flak, I just whisper in the background.
JW: Could you identify with Marcus the character?
HG: I wasn't really bullied at school I don't think. Maybe briefly
because I was a late developer when I was maybe 12,13, everyone else
had shot up as they say and I hadn't. I had to go and buy huge
platforms from Shelly's Shoes in King St Hammersmith.
JW: Are you sure you weren't just a fashion victim?
HG; Well, you see, they weren't really fashionable then, well they
were first time round, but they were ugly fashion and not cool,
retro fashion and they were terrible terrible platforms, platforms
that used to come off, do you remember that? Well, you don't, cos
you're young, but they did, you were dancing and off they'd come.
The Testimony section
JW: This is something we do, if you just bear with me and take a
copy of the CD over there, which is the soundtrack, it's the nearest
thing we have to a religious item in this room at the moment. Say
after me: I Hugh John Mungo Grant (HG laughs and says thanks) and
repeats it) It is a genuine name?
HG: Yeah, I'm afraid it is.
JW: What's it based on, the Mungo bit?
HG: Cruelty, I think. It's an old family name, one of my great-
grandfathers suffered the same fate.
JW: Did you ever try and pass it off, deny it when you were growing
HG: It was no good actually cos my friends were onto it very early
and most of them still call me Mungo.
JW: Really, a kind of nickname, that's quite cool. So, 'I Hugh John Mungo Grant, or we
can just stick to Hugh Grant, promise to tell the truth, the whole
truth and nothing but the truth (Hugh repeats it), so help me Jo
(Hugh repeats that and laughs). You can pass on one of these
questions but you have to answer everything else truthfully.
HG: Oh God!
JW: You're offered a life changing amount of money to play an
English fop in a gin advert, what do you do?
HG: I've had that offer, no.
JW: What was the offer, who from?
HG: It may not have been gin, but I get that all the time.
JW: Do you get it all the time, people trying to typecast..
HG: Listen, I've never been queeny about being typecast, God knows,
but I just don't want to do commercials - I was so bad in the one
commercial I ever did, I don't want to suffer that again.
JW: What was that for?
HG: The German lottery. I had to sit in a cinema audience and a
voice from the netherworld says "what would you do if you won a
million deutschemarks" in German, and I had to say in German "Ich,
eine million" [perfect German, sing-song accent here!] and I was
poor, very poor.
JW: Did it pay well, it probably didn't?!
HG: No, not then, we're talking about 1983 or something.
JW: You're only allowed to make one more movie ever, who would you
choose as your co-star, and who would be your director?
HG: D'you know it might actualy be Bullock, I'm doing this romantic
comedy with her at the moment and it feels like we were meant for
each other, not necessarily in a romantic way, but (JW: your
styles) - yeah, so it would probably be with her. Directed by, very
hard to say, maybe the Weitz brothers who directed this, but I was
also very fond of and grateful to Mike Newell who directed FWAAF and
he always makes me act better than I can.
JW: OK. If there was one thing you could change about the opposite
sex what would it be?
HG: Stealing mens' razors to shave your legs with.
JW: Drives you mad?
JW: What's your favourite of all the films you've ever made?
HG: Actually, blink and you'll miss me, but Remains of the Day is
the best film I've ever been associated with.
JW: Because you're not in it very much (laughing)
HG: Yes, there you go.
JW: What's your least favourite? See, I bet you can easily answer
HG: I've made some absolute stinkers but the greatest stinker of all
is called Night Train to Venice. It was in my Europudding phase,
directed by an insane German, with me and Raquel Welsh's daughter
starring. And it's a film that has the unique distinction of having
had no release in any medium in the world ever.
JW: Just buried (laughing)J
HG: Totally buried, yeah, no videos, nothing. And even after FWAAF
came out they kept coming to Cannes and trying to flog this thing
that I'd made years earlier and still noone will buy it, I mean they
look with interest and say, sorry that is TOO bad.
JW: What do you play in it?
HG: I played a sort of Scottish journalist and I never understood
what the hell was going on - we were chased by neo-Nazis on the
Orient Express and I kept having dreams about Dobermans and, it's a
HG: I like to throw one or two during a shoot, just to keep everyone amused, and what they do is
the print the take now and play it back at the wrap party.
JW: Excellent. Outside of when you're filming have you ever
completely lost it with a journalist or a member of the public?
HG: I have road rage. I had a bad attack of road rage about 2 years
ago. Someone just GRAZED the back of my car, I mean he hardly
touched it, and I was walking down the street and I saw him do it and
we ended up with this absurd situation of me leaping onto the bonnet
of his car and pulling his windscreen wipers off, right off his car,
and then as soon as I'd done it apologising profusely and offering to
drive him to the garage to get them fixed.
JW: You're asked to present at the Oscars the same night as you've
absolutely promised to host your best friend's birthday party. Big
decision, which would you go for, you're committed to the best
HG: Yeah, yeah, tricky, good question, you're very - sharp. I'm
going to go best friend's party I think because I think the Oscars is
a slightly overrated experience, perhaps if one was nominated you'd
have to go to the Oscars, but I think just to be a presenter you
always feel like a bit of a tit.
JW: You're offered lead roles in the remakes of Flash Gordon or the
Magnificent Seven, which would you do?
HG: Flash Gordon, Magnificent Seven - oh Magnificent Seven, much
better film I think.
JW: Would you, I can't imagine you doing sci-fi or westerns, I have
to say, you've never dabbled in either?
HG: No, Westerns I quite like the idea of, being covered in dirt and
JW: Russell Crowe flicks cigarette ash on your jacket at a showbiz
party, what would you do?
HG: Take him out, shake him down.
JW: You really fancy someone in the public eye but you don't know
how to meet them. How do you engineer it, have you ever had to
resort to any tactics?
HG: Yeah, find a go-between. Sandra Bullock is finding me American
girls at the moment. She procures for me.
JW: You've finished filming over there?
HG: No, no, I'm back there this afternoon.
JW: What's the most you've ever spent on an outfit?
HG: Well, I bought a very very dodgy pony skin coat from Prada a
couple of years ago, which I was drunk when I bought, which is always
fatal and it cost maybe $2-3,000, I got it in NY and I wore it once
when I got home, to go to a football match at Fulham and the laughter
I generated was so deafening it stayed in the cupboard thereafter.
JW: Not wanting to rub it in, but Fulham get through to the final of
the FA cup and they ask you to lead the team out on to the pitch?
HG: Yes, I've always wanted to be the mascot, but they tell me I'm a
JW: I'm sure they'd make an exception. And what would you like
written on your headstone?
HG: You were fabulous darling, that's what I'd like.
JW: In your dreams, obviously!