A Minute With: Hugh Grant on Hollywood, hacking and celebrity

Wed Oct 8, 2014 3:52pm EDT
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By Rollo Ross

LONDON (Reuters) - Actor Hugh Grant, who became the poster boy for the charming British fop in romantic comedies such as "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill," is delighted not to be part of Hollywood anymore.

Grant channels his feelings in his latest film, "The Rewrite," as Keith, a washed up screenwriter who moves to a small New York town to give a college course on the sometimes cynical and occasionally realistic perils of Hollywood. The film is out in UK theaters on Wednesday.

Grant, 54, has also been active since 2011 in the Hacked Off campaign, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the victims of press abuse. He gave evidence at the Leveson inquiry into the culture and ethics of the British media and accused several British tabloid newspapers of intruding into his personal life and hacking his telephone.

The actor talked to Reuters about shedding the rom-com tag, leaving Hollywood and his involvement in Hacked Off.

Q: How do you feel about "The Rewrite" marketed as a romantic comedy? Do you think that's acceptable in your eyes?

A: I did have that fight with Lionsgate, who are brilliant and marvelous distributors, and in the end they convinced me that the marketplace is so crowded with stuff now that you have to give a simple message to the public. You can't say, "Oh it's a little bit of a romantic comedy with other genres mixed in." It becomes too confusing. So they wore me down, except I did manage to get "romantic" taken off the comedy (points to film poster). 

Q: How do you empathize with Keith's views on Hollywood, and how has your perception changed as you've gone through it?

A: This character still actually loves Hollywood and wants to be part of it, and he's just sad that he's not and that he can't get a job. I'm not quite like that in that I'm delighted not to be a part of it anymore, apart from occasional dippings of my toe. That doesn't make me a better person. That's just my taste.   Continued...

British actor Hugh Grant arrives for the premiere of 'Cloud Atlas' in Mayfair in central London February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville