So where's Hugh Grant been and what's been keeping him busy? In this interview to support "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," Grant answers that question and talks about why he returned for the "Bridget Jones" sequel, being known as the romantic comedy guy, and reuniting with Renee Zellweger.
INTERVIEW WITH HUGH GRANT ('Daniel Cleaver'):
Did you have much input into this Bridget Jones? Would you have come back, no matter what the script had been like?
No, no. I was very difficult. I'm always quite difficult, but I was really impossible on this one. And there was a lot of coming and going about the script and my part.
To begin with, I was not convinced that Daniel Cleaver could ever go into television, a medium he despises. But I got my head around that and did a lot of work on just sort of trying to keep the cleverness of Daniel. I always thought one of the mitigating factors for him in the first film that he wasn't just an a**hole, he was actually quite a clever a**hole. I wanted to try and maintain that. So in things like his presentations to the camera, I just tried to make them relatively clever.
Whats your opinion of sequels?
I don't think they're automatically to be despised. I've seen sequels that are The Godfather, he throws out nervously, racking his brains for another [example].
Lord of the Rings?
I've never seen Lord Of The Rings unfortunately. I've heard from some children about Part 2. But, I think it's all right. I think it's all right. Don't you?
The Weitz brothers referred to you as the epitome of romantic comedy actors.
(Laughing) That's incredibly nice of them. I love the Weitzes. What were they making? What have they just done?
In Good Company.
Is it about cooking? They always had a crazy cooking film up their sleeves. Is it about vampires? Because they once gave me the worst pitch I ever heard. I couldn't get through it. I said, "Stop, Paul," halfway through it. "This is ghastly." And he still laughs about it. Whenever he e-mails me now, he always says at the end, "Keep thinking about that vampire thing."
What do you do with comedy that other actors don't? What do you feel you have to offer?
I don't know what other actors do. I think in a way there is an upside to me being very difficult, and the thing I'm really difficult about is the script. I won't do it unless I think the script has got there, or at the very least, that my part has got there. And then even when I come to shoot it, I will try 16 different things. But it has become a form of madness, it really has, to the point of sort of meltdown. And on this film, the second day, I had a meltdown. Suddenly there was all this sort of neurosis [that] got to me and I had my first ever full-scale attack of stage fright. It was very alarming for everyone concerned. I had to get to about Take 30 before I could even remember my lines. It was the scene when Colin comes in at the end and challenges me to come out and fight him.
How many days did it take to film your fight scene?
It was one day about this time last year. It was the same approach as the first one, which was just to make sure that it was as crap as we wanted it to be. The key is to stop the stunt coordinator from coming in to make it look like a film fight. We just wanted it to be two pathetic Englishmen scared of each other, throwing their handbags at each other, basically.
Do you think your character, Daniel Cleaver, can change?
Can he change? No. I think short answer is that he can't. Funnily enough, I think that if he has changed, he'd change for the worse, not the better.