I can’t say that I’ve ever given the actor Hugh Grant much thought. I have seen a few of his movies, not many. I think the disaffected man-child roles that he perpetually plays have worn thin, and are a bit absurd now that he is in his 50’s. However, I did like him in Emma Thompson’s and Ang Lee’s Jane Austen adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet, and I thought he was wonderful in the charming About a Boy — a great script and spectacular cast with Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz. I know of him since he has been in the tabloids consistently over the years, being connected with glamorous and beautiful girlfriends. I have seen the Bridgit Jones movies only because they play constantly on the 700 channels or how many we have beaming into the house.
Recently I’ve thought about him in a different light; I think he may be more substantial than his cultivated public persona reveals. The first inkling was when he went up against Rupert Murdoch and testified in a London court over phone hacking of public figures. Here’s where a classical education from Oxford comes in handy folks!
Over the summer, I was watching a talk show on Bravo, Watch What Happens Live (my secret shame), and Elizabeth Hurley was on with Ralph Fiennes. They were both fun and game for the silliness, and they both looked pretty amazing. Hurley mentioned that after all this time she and Grant are neighbors and friends, and that he has taken to fatherhood, all be it late in life, but taken to it fully. I thought that was moderately interesting.
Then a month or so ago, Hugh Grant was on the same show. First, I was struck by how well he looks too. Of course, most celebrities have a lot of work done, but it looked good on him and he still has that nice shock of hair. I can’t remember what he was plugging. This was after The Man from U.N.C.L.E. which I did not see, and it wasn’t for the next Bridget Jones sequel. To Grant’s credit he did not sign on for that one. Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are reprising their roles (what’s up with that?), but they had to get someone else to play the irresistible rake. I think in this movie Bridgit doesn’t know who the father of her child is?! Aren’t they all eligible for Social Security by now or whatever the equivalent is in the UK?
I read online that Grant was irritable during the “after show” on Bravo, but maybe his discontent is a product of someone smart and talented that took too easy a path on the rise to stardom. Perhaps there’s a great actor in there. On the other hand, why shouldn’t he be happy? Handsome, smart, early fame, beautiful women like Elizabeth Hurley and Jemima Goldsmith, money, still has his looks, still working — I mean life seems pretty good for Mr. Grant. Time to hang around with lesser mortals, regular people, and count his blessings!
Now that Grant is a father and older, I think it’s an auspicious time for him to reveal and revel in his substance. Take smart roles, play against type — the risk is small, don’t you think?