Hugh Grant on what people don’t know about him: ‘How nasty I am… I’m vile, really’

2020 US Presidential Candidate Joe Biden addresses the audience at his Kickoff Campaign Rally held at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia

I’m pretty convinced that Hugh Grant is probably a complete a–hole if you really know him. He says that about himself and people are always like “No, that can’t be true, you’re so British and charming!” But really, he’s just an a–hole with a posh accent and some wit. We should believe him when he tells us that. The funny thing is, that combination of wit, charm, poshness and assholism makes for wicked combination in interviews. Say what you will about him, but Hugh Grant is ALWAYS a great interview. So it was during the Hollywood Reporter’s TV leading-man roundtable. The roundtable included Grant, Sam Rockwell, Stephan James, Billy Porter, Diego Luna and Richard Madden. Hugh dominated the conversation because he was the funniest and he was telling the truth the whole time. You can read the full piece here. Some Hugh-specific highlights:

What would surprise people: “How nasty I am… People saw all those romantic comedies where I was being a nice guy written by Richard Curtis, who is a very nice guy, and they used to think, ‘Oh, Hugh must be like that,’ but I’m vile. Really.”

His impressions of Hollywood: “It was so long ago that anyone was nice to me [in Hollywood], it’s kind of hard to remember. It was after I made Four Weddings and a Funeral, and I came out as a hitherto unknown crap actor. (Laughter.) And suddenly big studio people were sending me baskets. You know, there are endless baskets. I was spending all day, every day just undoing baskets. Turning on and off lights in enormous suites. It was quite fun. And people used to say extraordinary things to me, like, “Missing you already.” What? I’ve only just met you today. The level of phoniness was fantastic. I enjoyed all that.

Hugh permanently had an inferiority complex because he’s just the rom-com guy: “Well, yes, but less now because I’ve gotten too old and ugly and fat to do them anymore, so now I’ve done other things and I’ve got marginally less self-hatred… I was being paid tons of money. I was very lucky. And most of those romantic comedies I can look squarely in the face — one or two are shockers, but on the whole I can look them in the face and people like them. And I am a big believer that our job is to entertain. It’s not to practice some weird, quasi-religious experience. I see us as craftsmen along with the guy who does the lights and the guy who edits and the guy who pushes the dolly.

His early days: “The difference was when I was unemployed, I took everything. The worse it was, the quicker I took it… in fact, quite enjoyed it. You think, “Oh, well, this is nonsense, this film [1988’s Rowing With the Wind], it’s being made in Spain with English actors, with a director who doesn’t speak English and German money, it’s never going to see the light of day, so just go and have a nice time for three months, flirt with the actress playing Claire Claremont” [Grant’s former girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley]. Have you ever done those? I used to call them Euro Pudding.

Deciding to do A Very English Scandal: “Oh, well it wasn’t really a hesitation, it was just pure snobbery. But I’d done Florence Foster Jenkins with Stephen Frears and he sent me this thing [A Very English Scandal], it was three scripts. And I thought, “Television? I don’t do television.” And then I read them and they were brilliant. And I realize everyone does TV now — I just can’t help having a little hankering for the old days of glamour and cinemas with lots of people in them. Anyway, it’s all gone. But I have to say, I didn’t know which part he wanted me to play. Frears is very good at seeing things in me that I certainly never saw. And he said, “Jeremy Thorpe” [a Liberal Member of Parliament who had to contend with a disgruntled former lover, played by Ben Whishaw, in 1970s England]. So I had to say yes, and then I spent a nice year panicking about it.

[From THR]

You could tell from the transcript that Hugh had everyone in stitches the moment he opened his mouth. And honestly, I love when actors do that – when they reach an age and a place in their careers where they really don’t give a f–k and just say whatever. And yes, he’s probably quite “vile” in real life. But it comes across as so charming and truth-telling in interviews. Also, I love what he says about acting: “And I am a big believer that our job is to entertain. It’s not to practice some weird, quasi-religious experience. I see us as craftsmen.” I love that, because… well, I feel like a lot of actors forget that.

Screening of James Ivory’s MAURICE

Cover courtesy of THR, additional photo courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

58 Responses to “Hugh Grant on what people don’t know about him: ‘How nasty I am… I’m vile, really’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. OSTONE says:

    Three honks for Hugh Grant! I’ve recently watched the majority of his movies as a source of escapism and it was great. He was quite handsome back then, and he remains equally charming and witty (in this interview anyway!)

  2. NYC_girl says:

    I’ve always loved him, but then again I have a penchant for British men. I don’t think he’s vile (minus the nasty prostitute issue 25 years ago); I think he’s dry and honest. Would I want to date him? Probably not. But I would certainly have a few drinks with him. I love this from last year – he is witty and hysterical – “they were kind enough to like me.” LOL:

    I think if you can get to a place where you can admit to being unlikable or occasionally annoying, without fake modesty, it is very liberating. I just turned 50, so this is #truth.

    • Darla says:

      Oh yes, preach! I have totally come to terms with being unlikable. I full know that most people do not like me, and it’s okay because I don’t like them either, and i probably didn’t like them first, and that’s probably (part of) what makes me unlikable. No regrets, I am loving being in my 50’s and gaining full acceptance of myself.

      • NYC_girl says:

        You’re awesome! And you’re right! I had breast cancer 5 years ago, and something in me changed after that. I mouth off much easier now, and am not afraid of people disliking me. I used to keep it quiet and was afraid of conflict but not anymore. I know some people don’t like me, and I also learned that if you dislike/like someone, the feeling is usually 100% mutual.

      • Darla says:

        Good for you! Yes, I definitely believe that if you like/dislike someone it’s mutual. It is against human nature to like someone who dislikes you, so if you want to be very popular it’s easy, just go around with a happy look, hug everyone, tell them how special and great they are. How exhausting. Most people are idiots and I have no problem looking at them like, wow you are so stupid, do you know how stupid you sound? Especially these days, when their idiocy has basically destroyed the world.

      • ex-Mel says:

        “Yes, I definitely believe that if you like/dislike someone it’s mutual.”

        Not trying to be contentious, but that’s not my experience. I seem to be awfully liked by a few people I really dislike; conversely, I have liked – still do – a few people that for some reason (like a misunderstanding) disliked me, because I thought (still do) that I could see past their weak points. I suppose I don’t need to feel liked to like someone (although it can be very pleasant, though) – and vice versa.

    • Christin says:

      As time passes, you start to realize the enormous value of time. When someone asks for your time, it’s asking for something of great value and you alone should decide how to spend it. If that makes others not like you, then so be it. True friends will respect your decision.

      I have really culled my interactions with people in general, too. Not everyone is in your corner, and a lot of people are users. I’m not completely cynical, but certainly more aware of how much time and energy can be wasted on people who really don’t deserve it.

  3. Milkweed says:

    Hugh, we knew.

  4. Mia4s says:

    I cannot WAIT until the full round table is released. The highlights have been terrific. Also that cover photo of all of them! I’d watch this movie. 😍

    • BayTampaBay says:

      In the USA is the Hollywood Reporter’s Roundtable on the Sundance Channel or is it BBC America? Does anyone know?

  5. sara6 says:

    The Billy Porter part of the round table is eye opening. He talks about how he despises how straight actors play gay characters but gay actors like him are never considered. And the camera cuts to Richard Madden and Hugh Grant who played gay characters recently. The shade!

    • Anna says:

      Isn’t Richard Madden..

    • Coco Puffs says:

      Personally, I don’t find straight actors playing gay characters problematic, it is acting, literally pretending. Unless its something visible, like race, I don’t think actors need to have anything in common with the characters they play. In any event, the ‘shade’ seems misdirected as neither Richard Madden nor Hugh Grant made the casting decisions.

      • oh-dear says:

        He does a good job of explaining why it is problematic in the interview – the studios tell gay actors that straight people don’t want to see gay men play straight, so those parts are very, very limited to out gay men (yes, there are a handful of exceptions but they are exceptions). If the straight men play the gay parts, there are even fewer for out gay men to play. He is very eloquent in his reasoning.

        I love Hugh, but his privilege seeps through in this interview. You have two men (Diego Luna and Billy Porter) who are speaking about the importance of representation, access, stories that are not told because of the limited vision of the studio execs and American audience for diversity, and Hugh reducing acting to a pragmatic job. This article is an excellent example of the blindspots people of privilege have and the importance of including marginalized voices to highlight what privilege affords people (ie. an approach to acting as a paycheck for people like Hugh Grant and Ellen Pompeo).

    • buensenso says:

      can’t stand that billy porter guy. he irritates the hell out of me.

    • buensenso says:

      billy is bitchy, but he’s not right. the reason he’s not getting straight roles (maybe even gay ones) might be that his ‘queen’ persona (his saying, not mine) is too strong and he might not be as great at acting as he may think. I can’t imagine him in a straight guy character. neil patrick harris played a womanizer and he was brilliant at it. nobody had a problem with it. many gay actors get straight roles. so it’s not a discrimination.

  6. BayTampaBay says:

    Have no problem believing Hugh is nasty, file and very self-centered but he also seems cool & fun as all-get-out. Sorta like the guy everyone loves to have around but you never would fix up any woman (friend or foe) on a blind date with him. LOL!

    • elimaeby says:

      Exactly this. He seems like he’s be one of my dearest drinking buddy/guy friends that I would love like a brother but would steer all of my single friends away from. LOL.

      • T not for Trump says:

        Agree! I can’t make up my mind with him. Think I saw him apologize for acting like a jerk once years ago on some late night show or something and I did appreciate that he at least he publicly owned it. Very few do, so I liked him. Now? Who knows.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I just wanna say, he was fantastic Paddington 2.

    Those films really don’t get their due with how good they are.

  8. Jenns says:

    I remember Jon Stewart saying that he was the absolute worst guest ever on his show. And when the press asked Hugh about it, he agreed with it. So yeah, he’s a major a-hole and he totally admits it.

  9. FHMom says:

    I believe Hugh. He may be vile, but his wit makes up for it. If you were someone whose friendship he valued, I think he would be tons of fun to hang out with.

  10. buensenso says:

    hugh is refreshing. he’s honest, straightforward, very intelligent and witty. yeah, he’s grumpy and seems quite unhappy most of the time, but I like him. I don’t think he’s vile. that’s a bit much.

  11. Candikat says:

    Anyone who was around in early 1995 remembers just how vile he is. Amazing how far good looks and a British accent can propel a witty white man, I’d never have guessed. /s

    • Starkiller says:

      It really is amazing, how much an English accent excuses. Another one that happens frequently, is people claiming that “it’s just British humour” and chastising the idiotic Americans who just don’t get it, but are really just using “British humour” as an excuse to be a flaming ashole.

  12. Bunchita says:

    He is great in A Very English Scandal, and it’s a great story too. I watched it on a plane and have been recommending it to everybody ever since.

  13. K says:

    He’s very honest. I recall an interview, I think it was with Oprah and he described kissing Julia Roberts and hearing an echo at the end. Such a jerk but he was so brave to point out that America’s sweetheart has a prominent mouth!

  14. Lightpurple says:

    He has always been open about how he is not the person he plays in rom coms; that he is messy; that he can be difficult; that his prickly character in About a Boy was closer to his personality than the 4 Weddings & a Funeral character. years ago when he was on Oprah, she asked him for quick descriptions of his female costars, putting up their pictures. For Julianne Moore, he said he was absolutely horrible to her and wouldn’t blame her if she never forgave him. For Julia Roberts, he made a face and said something derogatory. Oprah got upset and said “but she’s my friend!” and he countered that she should have known this might be a problem and shouldn’t have put a friend in that position when he was giving honest answers and not playing games.

    • To be fair Julia Roberts IS awful. Have only heard things about how hard she is to work with and a totally miserable person. A Low Vera, anyone?

    • buensenso says:

      I’ve seen so many of his interviews, since I’m a huge fan. yeah, I’ve heard that oprah interview and some others where the hosts ask him questions about his costars. he is always honest and says stuff that are uncomfortable, but he never insults people. what he says is a bit devilish, but funny. the reason people are shocked is that americans always expect people to be happy shiny and fake and say every co star was the greatest, every director was a genius,etc. so their world collapses when somebody doesn’t cooperate with that. that’s what happened with oprah. she wanted him to say he was so happy for having worked with the biggest american star julia and stuff like that and couldn’t find a way to keep the conversation going when he said what he said. he says the same stuff in british shows and the hosts laugh naughtily, people have fun, it’s all fine.

    • Christin says:

      As I read this interview, I thought of his “About a Boy” character and how the first half of that movie was probably close to the “real” Hugh. I had no idea he had identified that role as being close to his actual personality.

      I like people who just tell it like they see/feel it, instead of falsely sugarcoating everything.

  15. Tiny Martian says:

    I have no problem believing that he truly is vile, but I don’t know him and will never hang out with him, so I don’t care one whit!

    He’s an entertainer, and he’s delightfully entertaining in interviews. I will read/watch him every single time.

  16. perplexed says:

    Elizabeth Hurley said he’s grumpy. They’re still best friends though.

    I feel like his grumpiness is kind of fun though — you’d never be bored listening to him talk and complain about stuff.

    • Andrea says:

      I wonder if they still get it on all these years afterwards or are truly just best friends?

  17. Ashley says:

    Oh we know, Hugh. We know.

  18. minx says:

    He’s quite funny.

  19. Nikki says:

    I want to have an afternoon martini party with Hugh Grant and Duchess Camilla. Super fun, both of them I’ll bet.

  20. jen says:

    Yes to this: And I am a big believer that our job is to entertain. It’s not to practice some weird, quasi-religious experience. I see us as craftsmen. Actors and reality show wannabe celebs take themselves waaaaay too seriously.

    • Belly says:

      And to this:

      “The level of phoniness was fantastic. I enjoyed all that.”


  21. A.Key says:

    I love this guy!

  22. Swan Lake says:

    I’d love to hang with Hugh, Duchess Milla, Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Helen Mirren for drinks!

  23. Ruyana says:

    No Hugh, I have no problem at all believing you are nasty and vile. It might have something to do with all the abandoned baby mamas in your wake.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      He has had children with two women, one of whom he is married to now. The other woman (with whom he has two kids) lives within a few blocks of him and his wife and kids (with her) in London. How is that “abandoned baby mommas”??

  24. Andrea says:

    Aren’t a lot of Brits self-loathing?

  25. entine says:

    I follow him on Twitter and I like his point of views, he mostly retweets, but he’s quite political and does not beat around the bush.

  26. clairej says:

    Friends met him at theit local pub and said he was lovely. Had a great photo take with him.

  27. Robinda says:

    I think he’s probably great fun as long as you have no expectations of him. I have several friends like that, extremely entertaining but if they promise to help you move, they’re not going to show up.

  28. Canadiangirl says:

    He is who he is. I’ll never know him personally, so truly I don’t care how he is in person. At least he is honest. I’m sure there are many a celebrity out there who are vile and horrible behind closed doors. Hugh is honest and witty and I think he is utterly amazing in his movies.

  29. trh says:

    At least he says: “I was very lucky.” How rarely one hears this from the rich and famous.

  30. A Fan says:

    Self-deprecating, dry humour.

    [*Classic Virgo.*]