Hugh Grant

About a Boy

Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

We asked Hugh Grant some of your questions when he came over from LA to promote his latest movie, "About a Boy". Here are his answers...

Are there any similarities between yourself and Will, the character you play in "About a Boy"? Louise Whitecliff

I'm not quite as extreme a case as Will is but certainly I have spent a lot of time in my life sitting around in the afternoon watching Countdown, being a bit lazy, and being shallow in terms of life goals and relationships.

Have you ever been best man, and were the anecdotes as good as in "Four Weddings and a Funeral"? Richard Gillibrand

I was best man to my brother, and I am quite proud of the speech I made; it did turn out to be quite funny. Luckily my brother got a very bad sty in his eye on the day of his wedding and he begged me not to talk about it. So I got up and said, "I'm not going to mention my brother's sty, even though it's the biggest sty I have ever seen in my life or in medical history." And I went on and on, all about his sty, things like, "I hope his wife would keep him in the sty to which he is accustomed to", and "My sty and I"... it seemed to go down well. I actually remember showing that tape of the wedding speech to the producers of "Four Weddings" when I was auditioning for that part. I think it helped.

Are there any actors/directors you would really like to work with? Richard White

Not really but if there were, I would have already done so because I have that ability now because of my production company. But no, there's no one in particular that I have a real urge to work with.

Which of your films makes you laugh the most and why? Christina

I'm afraid to say it but it would be my old Euro pudding films. They weren't meant to be funny at all but they're funny to me because they're so bad. Before "Four Weddings and a Funeral", when I had a much more low-key and desperate career, I shamefully used to take these films because they were offering lots of money and ten weeks in Spain with pretty girls, but they'd be the most dreadful films with very bad wigs, bad costumes, and bad accents. So those make me laugh, whereas the comedies I've done since I watch with a completely po face. I can't see anything funny in any of them - apart from "Mickey Blue Eyes" maybe - but none of them make me laugh any more. When you've lived with them for a year, they stop being quite as funny.

Would you ever like to play the role of 007? Lorella Gallone

I don't think that's particularly up my alley unless the Bond films were reinvented and taken back to their original period - the late 50s and 60s - that would appeal to me. But I think Bond looks a bit weird in 2002. If you go back to the early ones the costumes, that general air of chauvinism, I think it works better. They don't have that Ian Fleming flavour that I really liked in the books any more.

What was it like to work with the young boy, Nicholas Hoult, in "About a Boy"? Helen Baker

I didn't know what to expect. I'd never done a film with a child in a leading role before, so I was very keen that we got it right and was very interfering in terms of casting. I was there throughout most of that process. It was rather like casting a girl to be your lover - I had to make sure the chemistry was there and that he wasn't going to be annoying, which he's not. But, I didn't want to click too much with him. We talked a bit in pre-production about whether I should hang out with him, get to know him, but I was against it because my character is someone who doesn't know what the hell he's doing around children, really, and I thought, well, that's me naturally in life so, I think I'll stick with that to play the role.

Has the success of the characters you play in "Four Weddings" and "Notting Hill" held you back from more serious roles? Lisa Bishop

Well, I don't really want to play serious roles, I'm not very good at that deep, dark serious stuff, so I don't feel that those roles have been a hindrance. I'm quite happy sticking to the romantic comedies and lighthearted stuff.

Were you consciously looking for a film that took you away from the nice guy roles that most people associate you with? Josie Gale

Not necessarily. It's whatever is a good part I do next, and sometimes it might be more villain and sometimes it might be the nice guy, but it's not my criteria to play the bad guys from now on, I'm happy playing both.

Did you read Nick Hornby's book before you accepted the project? Mark Fairbank

Yes, I had read the book and I nearly bought the rights to it for our company, but I was pipped to the post by Tribeca. So yeah, I read it before it was published and I adored it.

Why did you change your hair style? Sarah Cheesman

I've always wanted to have short hair - long hair's a pain in the arse, but I never really had the right short haircut. Whenever I tried it I looked like a lesbian, so now I think I've cracked it.

Can you tell us about the film you're doing at the moment with Sandra Bullock, "Two Weeks Notice"? Emma Hope

Well, it's yet another romantic comedy, so no surprises there. I play a billionaire property developer, irresponsible and hopeless and my brother really runs the business. Sandra plays my lawyer, who I use for absolutely everything, not just for business but for my personal life - from choosing my new furniture to ringing her in the middle of the night to ask her what tie I should wear - and it drives her absolutely mad. She wants to resign and I won't let her and lots of stuff happens, but I won't tell you any more.