Hugh Grant’s kids are ‘banned’ from acting: ‘Luckily, they display no talent’

Actor Hugh Grant at Mark Kermode Live in 3D

I was around for Hugh Grant’s first wave of success and it was somewhat enjoyable – Four Weddings and a Funeral put him on the map, and then he followed it up with some successful and not-so-successful films. Even in his “successful” years, he would go a while without anything sticking, then BOOM, Notting Hill or BOOM, Bridget Jones’s Diary. He did that for a while, then he took a break. He had five children in, like, seven years. He worked with Hacked Off on the British-media-hacking issue. And then slowly, he just started coming back to the acting world and there’s been something of a Grantaissance. That’s why Vanity Fair profiled him – Hugh has been quietly doing more work – more character work – and he’s getting the best reviews of his life. At the age of 58, he’s happier than he’s ever been, he’s working constantly and people actually seem to, like, genuinely respect him. You can read the full Vanity Fair piece here (it’s an excellent, funny read). Some highlights:

Working for three months on an HBO series, The Undoing: “I feel very overworked. It’s way too long—way too long. I’m such a baby about television. I didn’t even realize that HBO is considered kind of the crème de la crème. Is that right?”

His role in Paddington 2: “I was presenting I think at the Golden Globes, and they do that thing when you walk out, and they say, ‘From the forthcoming Paddington 2, Hugh Grant.’ And someone showed me Twitter afterwards, and it was…people were full of derision. ‘Christ, has it come to that. Poor old Hugh. Paddington 2. Sequel to a kids film.’ It’s particularly annoying in the case of Paddington 2, because I genuinely believe it may be the best film I’ve ever been in.”

His first foray into TV, A Very English Scandal, playing disgraced MP Jeremy Thorpe: “[I was] trying to find reasons not to do the job which is…I specialize in that. I sort of fear acting so much, or fear performing, I can always find reasons not to do something. I said, ‘I’m too old.’… It was a fabulous scandal. It had a sort of Monty Python element, because it was happening in the ’70s, sort of the last glimmer of old-fashioned British establishment, men in pinstripe suits, all backing each other up. So to have it all unraveling around this one man with murder and clandestine homosexuality, ‘biting the pillow,’ it was all brilliant.”

On Thorpe: “It’s helpful to find the tragedy of the character you’re playing. I think that having to live a lie was a sort of sadness to [Thorpe] all his life. And I also think that his narcissism, which by all accounts was kind of out of control, was a source of unhappiness. Because it stops you from really caring about other people and loving them and feeling embraced. He only really adored himself, and I think that’s a kind of torture.”

He’s the father to a seven-year-old, two six-year-olds, a three-year-old, and a one-year-old. “It’s sort of taken the lid off my ­bottled-up English emotions. I hate to talk this way, because it sounds so smug. And I used to loathe people who would say, ‘Hugh, you’ve got to have children. You haven’t really lived until you have.’ I hated those people. But there’s an element of truth. It’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you’ve done it.”

His kids are “banned” from acting: “The older ones, I’ve seen in a few school plays. And luckily, they display no talent. If I knew lots and lots of happy actors, I would recommend it. But seeing as I’ve never met a happy actor, I can’t. I’m just speaking off the top of my head, but the acting gene seems to me to come from people who have a relatively flimsy grasp of who they are. I’m not going to name names, but if you said to me, ‘What do you think of X?’ I’ll say, ‘Well, I have no idea who that person is.’ Because they’re always performing. They perform brilliantly, but you’ve no sense of them. And I think that’s a miserable way to live.”

Fatherhood & acting: “I think it’s possible that having children has made me better at acting. I mean, it’s a terrible cliché, but just sort of pure, unconditional love. It’s quite useful to have experienced it.”

[From Vanity Fair]

What I enjoy about Hugh – and I think he’s always been like this – is that he shows people what it’s REALLY like to be a professional, working actor. He was like this in the ‘90s too – insecure, self-effacing, a little bit lazy, but you could also tell that he loved the perks of his job, and that he is (at heart) a drama queen who thrives on this sh-t. Basically, the man is a glorious mess and he’s always given great interviews. “The older ones, I’ve seen in a few school plays. And luckily, they display no talent.” I lol’d. His defense of Paddington 2 is brilliant as well. The thesis from VF was that Hugh is actually, quietly having a ball now that no one expects him to play the romantic lead. Now he gets to have zero personal vanity and just do whatever he likes. It does suit him.

SAG Awards 2019 Arrivals

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and WENN.

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72 Responses to “Hugh Grant’s kids are ‘banned’ from acting: ‘Luckily, they display no talent’”

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  1. Darla says:

    To me, he was at his height in Love, Actually. I am one of those sadsacks who loves that movie, what can I tell you.

    • Louisa says:

      Love it so much. Lost count how many times I have seen it.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      That is one of my all time favs, too. Even though I own it, every time it comes on cable, I will have to watch it (at least some of it), and at least twice around the holidays lol. I’m shameless, but I do love that scene where he dances to The Pointer Sisters 😄

    • BengalCat😻 says:

      I’m not a fan of the movie, so I have a question for you guys who love it…does it not bother you that Hugh’s character spends the majority of the film criticizing his future love interests weight? I find it unwatchable for that and for many other reasons. Not trying to be rude or combative, just wondering if I’m missing something.

      • RedWeatherTiger says:

        Everyone else in the film criticizes her weight, but I don’t specifically recall him ever doing so. His assistant calls her “the chubby one,” and his character says, ” W-w-w-w-w-ould we call her chubby?” incredulously. When future love interest (Natalie) tells Hugh’s character that she broke up with her old boyfriend who had called her fat (or something along those lines), he offered to have him killed (humorously). Her own father calls her some derisive name, but I don’t recall Hugh’s character doing so. What lines are you thinking of?

      • BengalCat😻 says:

        @RedWeatherTiger, thanks for the information. I just remember the fat snark and Alan Rickman (my forever celeb crush) cheating on Emma Thompson. It’s been years since I’ve seen the movie, so my memory is clearly fuzzy. I may need to rewatch it at some point. Thanks for your response.

      • RedWeatherTiger says:

        BengalCat, the movie is problematic–there is a lot of fat shaming (the manager, too), and I loathe the whole Rickman storyline. I especially hate when grieving Liam Neeson calls Emma T because he is upset over his wife’s tragic death and upcoming funeral and she can’t be bothered to talk to him because her dumb kid got a part in the school play. Oh, believe me, I have problems with it (but still watch it too often). :)

      • BengalCat😻 says:

        Thank you, RedWeatherTiger (love your name, btw). I have my own favorite problematic movies/TV shows that I rewatch all the time too. I appreciate your feedback and I hope I haven’t offended anyone.

      • SuperStef says:

        I also love that movie, warts and all, because it shows so many different aspects of love and relationships and we all know, it’s not always right, or pretty. I also liked how all the characters were connected and reminds if the fee degrees of separation between us all.

        @RedWeatherTiger, you summed it up well for @Bengalcat that Grant’s character never fat shamed Natalie, but others did, which I thought was stupid. I like how their story ended up, especially when he went door to door in the dodgy neighbourhood to find her.

        Also thought Colin’s character was hilarious when he’s ugly in the UK and goes to the USA and hooks up with January Jones and her hot friends.

        I’ve always liked Grant as an actor, even though he was always an ass IRL. Anyone remember when he got busted getting a BF from the LA lady of the night? He was unapologetic about his ways and kept it real. I like this interview and how fatherhood has melted his heart a little.

  2. Naddie says:

    I’d pay to have a chat with this guy. There’s such an ironic honesty about his words, it’s not the first time I see it.

  3. MachineElf says:

    I love his work in Paddington 2. It is genuinely a wonderful movie. Even if you don’t have children you should see it! I save it for days when I am feeling a bit down.

    • Jerusha says:

      P1 and 2 are wonderful! I love them and he is fantastic in 2.

    • Naddie says:

      I saw it yesterday and I confirm 100% of what you said.

    • Birdix says:

      Agreed! Although every time I recommend it, people look at me like I have lost my mind.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree! I loved both films, and he was truly brilliant in P2. I always thought he was just kind of playing himself in the rom coms and stuff, but that was the first time I realized oh no, he’s actually a great actor.

    • Blueskies says:

      He is absolutely superb in Paddington 2. The sight gag with the framed photos in his flat always makes me laugh out loud. So brilliant. I highly recommend the films to everyone, too, they’re so wonderful and a visual feast, definitely not just for kids!

  4. greenmonster says:

    Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver is everything. He is amazing in Bridget Jones’ Diary (let’s pretend the second movie doesn’t exist). And his comment about actors is hilarious and probably quite on point.

    • Dani says:

      I loooove him in those dumb movies lol but I must say About A Boy is really my fave thing he’s been in.

      • NYC_girl says:

        @Dani – Yes, agreed…. he was great in About a Boy. I’ve always liked him, especially when he plays a wanker :)

    • Moco says:

      He is a great as Daniel Cleaver. He slags on his acting but he is 100% believable in every movie… you never see his “work” of acting. Notting Hill, Four Weddings, Love Actually – he makes it look easy but I think it is deceiving.

    • Megan says:

      I thought he was brilliant in Florence Foster Jenkins. He should have gotten the nomination, not Meryl.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yes! He & Colin Firth in that silly fight in the fountain? That’s one of my all-time favorite movie scenes.

  5. StarGreek says:

    He’s always been this blunt and I like that, even if it showed the fact he’s a giant a-holè…

    That part about actors, he nailed it so much! That’s why I always avoided to become an actress although I was asked twice to audition for roles.
    The best ones have probably lost all sense of their real selves.
    No way I would have put myself through that kind of torture, a lot better to be a writer.

  6. CharliePenn says:

    He cracks me up with his utter bluntness. I do like him as an actor and he seems chill and humble and pretty funny as a person. And what he’s saying resonates with me, about how having kids feels like nothing else in life (NOT saying everyone needs kids by any means! But in my own personal life, it was indeed a game changer).
    Does he treat the mothers of his children well? Why do I seem to recall that he was mistreating one of their mothers? Correct me because I hope I’m wrong/misremembering that!

    • Mia4s says:

      “Does he treat the mothers of his children well?”

      There was a lot of media attention, which I remember the first baby mama had a lot of problems with and got an injunction. Plus, she’s Asian, English media is racist as f**k…fill in the blanks. But they seem to get along at least now.

      Did he treat them respectfully though?…well….babies 1 and 3 were with one woman. Babies 2,4 and 5 were with his now wife. So, not so much for at least awhile there. But it seems to have settled. Messy as hell though!

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      Hugh said in some interview that he bought 1st Baby Momma a home very close to where he lives with his wife and other kids, so they’re growing up knowing their siblings. As long as all involved are happy with the situation….? Seems like he finally got his shizz together. Good for him. I think he’d be a blast to grab a drink with.

  7. bonobochick says:

    I enjoy him as an actor.

    He is lucky that his solicitation arrest didn’t badly damage his career.

    • LadyT says:

      He didn’t hide behind rehearsed PR insincere babble. He straight out said, clearly in his own way and words— it’s bollocks to hide behind excuses, I did a bad thing.
      People like that- it’s a breath of fresh air.

      • Lightpurple says:

        And he has repeatedly acknowledged that Julianne Moore has every right to hate him for his arrest completely upstaging the opening of their movie

      • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

        It was GREAT tv when he went on Jay Leno shortly after, and Jay looked at him and just asked: “What the hell were you thinking?” Hugh looked properly embarrassed for a moment, and then owned up. It was brilliant.

  8. Eleonor says:

    I saw A very English scandal, he was brilliant.
    He is a mess, very self absorbed, but also very matter of fact, and there’s a sort of honesty which I like. Probably I’ll have a beer with him.

  9. Beli says:

    You know what? I completely agree with him.

    Paddington 2 was a fantastic film!

  10. drea says:

    Paddington 2 was FANTASTIC!!!

    Honestly, Nicole Kidman was amazing/funny in the first Paddington.

    We love those movies, no kids here!

  11. Originaltessa says:

    Any About a Boy fans? I think I at least like every movie Hugh has ever been in. Even that crap movie he made with Drew Barrymore was watchable.

    • SK2 says:

      LOVE about a boy.
      My sister and I are Hugh Grant fans and often say any film with him is good.
      He was delightful in Paddington 2

    • Lala11_7 says:

      I think in “About A Boy”….Hugh grew into the actor I ALWAYS knew he could be….he let that hint of “darkness” and “self-loathing” color his performance which was quite brilliant….

      It’s a movie that gets lovelier each time I watch it!

    • Christin says:

      Boy movie fan here. His character seems to mirror his own personal growth pattern, too.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      LOVE “About a Boy”!!!! Great film. (And look how nicely Nicholas Hoult turned out! 😊)

    • Reef says:

      About A Boy soundtrack is the last movie soundtrack I bought. It was perfect for a movie I only watched once.

    • Dee Kay says:

      I was wondering if I was going to see some love for About a Boy in this thread. I think Grant gives an astounding performance in that film, hands down his career best. What a fantastic character for him and he played it beautifully. Little kid Hoult was great in it, too.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I loved About A Boy, esp the bread and duck scene.

    • Kk2 says:

      I love About A Boy. More than any of his romcoms (many of which I also liked). No man is an island!

  12. xo says:

    ‘Well, I have no idea who that person is.’ Because they’re always performing. They perform brilliantly, but you’ve no sense of them.

    interesting observation. I’ve often felt this way. . . .

  13. Ann says:

    Not really sure why he raves about “fatherhood”, I doubt he actually does any of the actual childcare but whateves.

    • perplexed says:

      It’s likely that he truly does live his kids unconditionally though. I’m not a parent, but I’d venture a guess that loving your child is probably different from other kinds of love (at least when the kids are small and haven’t figured out ways to resent you as a parent.)

  14. S says:

    I love him. I will always love him. Messy, jerk that he is. I just love Hugh Grant.

  15. Rosewater says:

    I’ve always liked Hugh because of his honesty.
    He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a bit of a cad and he wears it on his sleeve proudly. He doesn’t go on and on like some other pretentious actors about the torture and agony of being an actor and how much you have to sacrifice for your “art”.
    Nope, he enjoys the attention, he loves the perks and if he could figure out a way to get the attention and the perks without actually working, he’s be there yesterday.

    I honestly could not imagine any one else in ‘Love, Actually” , “Bridget Jones’ Diary”, Paddington 2″, “Four Weddings..” or “Notting Hill”. I loved him in “Music and Lyrics” as well playing a washed-up 80′s teen pop idol a la Duran Duran or Wham!

    • Moco says:

      His Vanity Fair – I think – YouTube interview where he goes through his career is great in this respect. He’s completely honest about how he basically played his role from Four Weddings and a Funeral several times without really trying… no talk of “developing characters” or anything.

      • Dee Kay says:

        @Moco: Thanks for this rec!!! It’s actually an interview with GQ, and I just watched it b/c of your summary, and it’s hilarious!!!!!

      • Emma33 says:

        I highly recommend that Vanity Fair interview, it was great. His self-effacing act is a bit of a …well..act, but he is someone who never got caught up in his own PR.

      • ravynrobyn says:

        @ MOCO-I watched that yesterday and couldn’t stop giggling. Great interview.

  16. Mumbles says:

    In a way the prostitution bust was a strange gift. He gave up the stammering puppy dog romantic lead roles he was getting and he started getting cast more in the dirty-dog roles he excels at (and even when he plays the protagonist like in “About a Boy” and “Music and Lyrics”, it’s a curmodgeonly kinda-jerky protagonist).

    He’s one of my favorite Graham Norton guests because he has zero Fs to give and is funny and honest and grumpy, and Graham just gives it back.

  17. Charlie says:

    I love the comment Liz Hurley made about how fatherhood has turned Grant from a miserable person to a fairly miserable person. Honesty! https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/celebrities/news/a19299769/elizabeth-hurley-hugh-grant-is-a-dad-again/

  18. EbonyS says:

    I love this interview he gave about the dancing scene in Love Actually. Classic Hugh: Self-effacing, curmudgeonly, hilarious without really trying.

    https://youtu.be/1cYdamjCzM8

  19. kerwood says:

    I wish more famous actors forbid their children from going into the business. Think of all the crap acting we would be spared.

    I like Hugh Grant. I agree that ‘About a Boy’ is probably his best performance, although he’s pretty good the first Bridget Jones.

    The prostitute that Grant was caught with used to work outside my school in SF. When the scandal broke and a classmate told me it was her, I couldn’t believe it. Talk about six degrees. She was a nice girl.

    Grant seems happy now and even though he’s always struck me as being a bit of a dick, I can’t begrudge him that.

  20. Seraphina says:

    I needed a laugh, that you Hugh. We parents have to realize our kids’ limitations but still encourage them to reach for the stars. A difficult balancing act.

  21. RedWeatherTiger says:

    It’s sweet that the whole “kids forbidden from acting” thing is just a long way of saying he wants his kids to live happy lives. He does often seem like a dick, but he’s so darn appealing that you have to love him for it.

  22. Betsy says:

    I’ve liked this guy since the 90s and I still do. He’s a dog, but he’s a hot dog and a funny one.

  23. Alice says:

    Sense & Sensibility, always always always. I cry every time with him and Emma Thompson (who is fab!)

    • Mumbles says:

      Between Emma getting Hugh, or Kate getting Alan Rickman (RIP), I don’t know which sister did better! But I thank Emma and Ang Lee for giving the smart girls a movie to swoon over.

      (Also love Hugh Laurie’s small but wickedly funny part.)

  24. Nev says:

    I loved him and Sandra in Two Weeks Notice.

    • RedWeatherTiger says:

      OH, I LOVE this movie! Everything about it. He and Sandra are the cutest thing ever.

      Would you like a milk dud?
      Well, if you’re going to send out, you might as well get a whole box!

  25. NYC_girl says:

    Notting Hill is my guilty pleasure. So guilty that I have to pull a blanket over my head to hide the guilt!

  26. Jaded says:

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned his role in Sense and Sensibility. He played such a sweet, stammering, woebegone fellow who got completely over his head with a scheming little tart, then fell in love with Emma Thompson’s character. He was wonderful in it and played the “nice guy” who continues to be nice despite his rich family cutting him off without a farthing and the scheming tart marrying his older brother for the money.

  27. Missyoda says:

    I love About A Boy. “The thing is, a person’s life is like a TV show. I was the star of ‘The Will Show,’ and ‘The Will Show’ wasn’t an ensemble drama. This is still quoted in my house.

  28. paddingtonjr says:

    There’s a great episode of “Actors on Actors” in which Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant talk about their careers and how they aren’t as famous as they used to be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He016M9OjLE

    I like Hugh Grant’s films, but I’ve always thought he shined more in ensemble pieces like Love, Actually and Four Weddings rather than in his leading man roles. Although, I have enjoyed some of his rom-coms (Two Week Notice and Music and Lyrics) even though i’m not usually fan of the genre or some of the earlier efforts.

    I think he would be a great acting teacher: his bluntness would be a much-needed reality check.

  29. Blueskies says:

    He’s wonderful in Maurice, too. A beautiful film I watch every few years.

    Hugh and Jude Law will always be my “despite everythings”. 🤐

  30. virginfangirls says:

    I loved the interview but wish I hadn’t read the first answer. I mean really, complaining about being overworked. Ughh! If it’s so bad just don’t do it. Not as if you need the money to eat.

    • Timbuktu says:

      I’m quite sure he was making fun of himself with the first answer. He wasn’t really complaining, he was being self-deprecating about how spoiled and privileged he is.

  31. barbwire says:

    to me he will always be Pirate Captain…

  32. Ramona Q. says:

    Handsome scamps from Ireland and the UK … I am defenceless against them … swoon