Hugh Grant Says This Movie Almost Killed His Career

The actor credits this film with his hiatus from Hollywood.

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Actor Hugh Grant, fondly known for his slew of romantic comedies, has begun to reinvent his career. After years away from TV and movie sets, Grant has been back onscreen in largely more dramatic roles. Most recently, he's had audiences buzzing about his role on HBO's limited series The Undoing, which aired its final episode Nov. 29. In an interview published shortly before the finale, Grant told the Los Angeles Times that he went into semi-retirement due to a movie flop: Did You Hear About the Morgans? To see what Grant had to say about the film, read on, and for more on Grant's questionable past, find out why Jon Stewart Said Hugh Grant Was the Worst Daily Show Guest Ever.

When the L.A. Times asked Grant why he took such a long break away from movies, he gave a lengthy explanation, ultimately saying it wasn't really his choice. "I developed a bad attitude from about 2005 onwards, shortly after Music and Lyrics. I just had enough," Grant recalled. When he finally decided to return to making movies a few years later, the actor didn't have a pleasant experience.

"I went back in 2009 and made another film. At that point, it wasn't me giving up Hollywood. Hollywood gave me up because I made such a massive turkey with that film with Sarah Jessica Parker [Did You Hear About the Morgans?]," Grant said. The star blames the movie flop for his opportunities drying up.

"Whether I wanted to or not after that, the days of being a very well-paid leading man were suddenly gone overnight. It was slightly embarrassing, but it left life free for other things," Grant said. Although the transition wasn't easy, he found that he had time to explore other passions. "That's when I started getting very political and had a fascinating few years as a rabid campaigner for reform of press regulations," he added.

Now, the actor is excited to be cast in more serious roles, including on series like The Undoing and A Very English Scandal. But Grant also earned acclaim for his performance in the family comedy Paddington 2.

Keep reading for more of Grant's reflections on his acting career, and to find out which co-star Grant didn't get along with while filming, check out these 11 Beloved Movie Couples Who Clashed Behind the Scenes.

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The Undoing

The Undoing
HBO

Grant said he was eager to take on the character of Jonathan Fraser in The Undoing because it's "a very classy project and it was a script that made me turn the pages, which is very rare because normally I'm asleep by page six of most scripts I read."

He felt the show would bring him further away from the rom-com persona he's been trying to shed. "For 10 years now at least I've been trying not to be [the] sort of romantic Englishman who is in love. I've been trying to do more character roles," Grant said. And for more celebrity content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Richard Curtis films

Love Actually
Universal Pictures

Screenwriter Richard Curtis was responsible for many of the movies that shot Hugh Grant to stardom, including Notting HillFour Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Love Actually. When the L.A. Times pointed out that there was a perception that Grant was often just playing versions of himself, the actor linked this notion to Curtis' films.

"That always made me grind my teeth a bit. Because that character in the Richard Curtis films was a bit repetitious," he said. "But it wasn't me. It's really kind of Richard." And to see where Love Actually ranks among other Christmas classics, This Is the Single Most Popular Holiday Movie of All Time, Survey Says.

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Music and Lyrics

music and lyrics
Warner Bros Pictures via Youtube

When posed with the task of deciding which of his romantic comedies have stood the test of time, Grant pointed to the 2007 film Music and Lyrics, which he starred in alongside Drew Barrymore.

"I'm amazed at how well [my rom-coms] have stood the test of time in terms of people still wanting to see them. They're scattered all over cable channels and streamers, so they must provide some service," Grant said. "There's some that I'm particularly fond of, including a film called Music and Lyrics." And for more movie news, George Clooney Hand-Picked This Lookalike Actor to Play His Younger Self.

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Paddington 2

Hugh Grant in Paddington 2
YouTube/Warner Bros.

Grant's role in Paddington 2 might have looked like a jolly good time, but the actor says it was challenging. "It's bloody hard, comedy, particularly hard with that director Paul King, who I think is a great, great filmmaker," Grant said. "One of the things that makes him so good is that he never compromises." However, the actor did acknowledge that it was fun to employ some of the traits of people he'd met early on in his career to help create his villainous character in the film.

At first, Grant's children hated the movie, with one of them even asking why the actor was in it so much. But they eventually came to love it, he said. And for more beloved films, check out The Best Christmas Movies of All Time, According to Critics.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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