No More Rom-Coms with Hugh Grant? Counting Down Our Leading Man’s Best Performances
In a recent interview conducted by The Hollywood Reporter, long-time leading man Hugh Grant expressed relief that he was unlikely to be cast in the future as the leading man in another romantic comedy since he now believes he is “too old, ugly, and fat.”
I would strongly disagree with Hugh, but that’s just my opinion.
This revelation doesn’t appear to bother the Hollywood veteran in the slightest, as Grant expressed in the same interview that he regretted not having tried “different stuff” after the success of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. He went on to star in a number of successful romantic comedies after that film, but during this time Grant developed an “inferiority complex” about being, “just the guy from romantic comedies.”
When we look at it that way, his regret is somewhat understandable. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t love his leading man roles any less, and there are quite a few worth mentioning! Here is a countdown of some of the best roles Hugh Grant has played throughout his career.
Edward Ferrars, Sense & Sensibility, 1995.
This film was one of my earliest introductions to Hugh Grant’s line of work in my adult life. I went through a pretty substantial Jane Austen phase in my early 20’s (as so many of us do), and after falling in love with the 2005 rendition of Pride and Prejudice, I started branching out and watching other film productions of Austen’s novels. It’s thanks to the combined efforts of Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet that Sense & Sensibility still has a prominent place in my heart to this day.
A younger Hugh Grant, 34 years old at the time of filming, perfectly captured a Regency-era gentleman that is unsure of himself but still manages to be unwittingly charming and kind. I’m sure many hearts melted when we watched Edward helping Eleanor’s youngest sister Margaret practice her swordsmanship on the lawn. That moment is probably what sealed Eleanor’s affection for him, as well as our own.
George Wade, Two Weeks Notice, 2002.
The early 2000’s were a gold mine for rom-coms featuring our favorite handsome Brit. One of his earlier films from this decade had Grant working alongside Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice where Grant’s character, Mr. George Wade, is the hard-ass boss that Bullock’s character Lucy Kelson is forced to work closely with during the final two weeks of her job.
One of the more pivotal scenes from this film that I always remember is when Mr. Wade and Lucy are taking a helicopter ride over Manhattan, and Lucy shares some of the history of the Chrysler Building with him. This film is a perfect example of unlikely love and where two opposites attract and end up together before the credits begin to roll.
The Prime Minister, Love Actually, 2003.
For those of you who somehow haven’t seen this movie (serious, what rock have you been living under?) but that have seen this gif at some point during your travels across the internet, now you finally know exactly what movie this hilarious moment is from!
Hugh Grant as the new, young Prime Minister of England has to be one of my favorite roles he has ever done, as there is so much about this character that Grant managed to convey and bring to life for us on the big screen. He’s the “new guy on the block,” having just started this highest of high-profile jobs and only just moved into his new home during his first scene in the film.
Watching him slowly fall in love with his beautiful assistant Natalie is more than endearing throughout the movie, but what I enjoyed the most about the Prime Minister’s character arc was how he begins to really come into his own with regards to this new position. In the beginning he is very hesitant to make waves or to ruffle the wrong feathers, but his interactions with the American President open his eyes and allow him to stand up for himself, as well as his country, and it’s clear during this press conference scene why the people of England chose this man as their newest Prime Minister.
Daniel Cleaver, Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001.
Bridget Jones’s Diary: The Edge of Reason, 2004.
There aren’t too many examples in Grant’s vast filmography of him getting the chance to play the villain, but in Bridget Jone’s Diary, the antagonistic role of Bridget’s boss also doubles as the naughty, smoldering third of the love triangle that makes up the structure of this movie.
Daniel Cleaver is all of the things that Bridget does not want in a future romantic partner, and yet unsurprisingly she falls into bed with him anyway. He’s the sexy ladies man that we all love to hate, and maybe a few of us have even rooted for Daniel over Mark Darcy (not me though – c’mon, I can’t vote against the Mr. Darcy!).
Alex Fletcher, Music & Lyrics, 2007.
I’ll be ending this list with my personal favorite Hugh Grant film, Music & Lyrics, which I believe is thoroughly underrated and should have been a much more popular film than it ended up becoming.
The soundtrack is fantastic, the film’s script is fantastic, and Grant’s character of a washed-up 80’s has-been is equal parts hilarious and self-deprecating, and seeing how his character evolves as he interacts with Drew Barrymore’s character Sophie Fisher is very enjoyable. I find the relationship that blooms between them feels very genuine and realistic (despite the fact that these two hook up after only knowing each other and being cooped up in an apartment writing together for 2-3 days).
The song that Alex and Sophie are charged with commissioning, “A Way Back Into Love” includes the best and most vulnerable parts of these two characters. After an artistic disagreement turns into a devastating argument, which effectively breaks up the writing partnership and the blossoming romantic partnership that these two had formed, Alex writes a song on his own and performs it in the hopes of winning Sophie back. The reason Alex had hired Sophie to help him in the first place was that his talents had never been in writing lyrics as much as composing melodies, but this song that is meant for her is heartfelt and honest to the point that it’s easy to crack up laughing at some of his lyrics.
It’s sad to think about not getting any new rom-com performances from our British silver fox, but you know what they say; All good things must come to an end. At least we have a vast collection of memorable and meaningful performances by Hugh Grant to sate our thirst.