One thing Hugh is constantly criticized for by fans and critics alike is that much of his characters tend to be the same. The 58-year-old actor loves those romantic comedy roles where he plays a British gentleman who is truly foolish when it comes to love. Have you ever heard the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" These recurring roles, along with other things, lead us to believe that, although Hugh is a great actor, he's ultimately just playing himself in every movie.
Sound bizarre? Hear us out. We've put together a list of all the reasons Hugh's iconic characters really are just versions of his authentic self. We recommend hitting up GQ's "Hugh Grant Breaks Down His Most Iconic Characters" video before reading...we refer to it often.
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If you've seen most of Hugh's biggest films (and if you haven't - WHY?!), you'll know that this is true. From Love Actually to Four Weddings and Notting Hill, Hugh's specialty is an awkward, usually a bit miserable and hopeless when it comes to love, British man. Whether he's playing an important Prime Minister in Love Actually or a book store owner in Notting Hill, his characters usually come down to a simple man who's looking for love and trying to do the right thing. How could you not love him for that?! All the screenwriters in the world aren't writing these roles the same specifically for Hugh, which leads us to believe that he's unintentionally playing them this way because he is that type of person.
In his movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh plays Charles — an English man who is unlucky in love. He finally meets the girl of his dreams, but she's engaged to somebody else. *Classic* If you've seen the movie, you'll know that Charles's character is unfortunate, awkward, and finds himself in some pretty embarrassing situations constantly — who accepts an invitation to the love of his life's wedding?! Someone like Hugh Grant does. Like much of his characters, Hugh is an unfortunately awkward soul. While talking to GQ, he recalled the time he was at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of his movie Maurice, in which he plays a gay student studying at Cambridge. While watching the film, Hugh said that he undid his trousers because they were "too tight," forgot about them completely and subsequently did his standing ovation with his trousers open. Sounds like something Charles would do, don't you think?
A hilarious trait of Hugh Grant's is that he thinks he is literally the worst actor ever. He always seems to be shocked when one of his projects does well, and when talking about how much his audiences love his movies, he's previously said: "it's very odd." Why doesn't Hugh love himself as much as we love him?! Well, if you're a big fan of the actor, you'll know that much of his characters are pretty modest as well. Even his Love Actually character David, who is the Prime Minister of the UK, is beside himself when the girl he's after falls for him. He just doesn't realize how much of a star he is.
We know we just said he was super modest, but Hugh is a big hit with the ladies IRL. He has a long list of exes, some of whom are big Hollywood names including Liz Hurley and Drew Barrymore. The actor has five children with two different women, however, he recently married his long-term girlfriend, Swedish TV producer Anna Eberstein. In the '90s, Hugh was considered to be the English bachelor who would never settle down — sound familiar? Daniel Cleaver — Hugh's iconic Bridget Jones's Diary character, was also a bit of a ladies man... as was his character in About a Boy, Will. We can only assume Hugh didn't have to do too much acting while playing those roles!
Remember that scene in Love Actually when David had just told the US president where to go, so he's dancing around his office in delight? Well, Hugh told GQ that scene was hanging over his head like a cloud watching the movie the first time because he was so self-conscious about it. This personality trait isn't too far from David's, who was very conscious of his life in the limelight and was mortified when he was caught dancing in front of the house staff in that memorable scene. If Hugh Grant is self-conscious, how is there any hope for the rest of us?
We wish we could say that Hugh airs on the side of optimism, but deep down he's a cynic, just like his About a Boy character, Will. Hugh's said now that he's older, he has a feeling that mankind is really evil and that "our veneer of civilization and niceness is very very thin," which is why he likes playing everyday-evil characters. So optimistic, right? His character Will is also a pessimistic soul, having once said that there's absolutely no point to his life. We think Hugh definitely identified with this part of Will's personality, even if it is depressing.
Despite appearing to be completely unemotional and cynical, Hugh really is a big softy on the inside like most of the characters he's played. Hugh has previously said that while filming Sense and Sensibility, his director Ang Lee would blatantly criticize his acting and call it "boring." He also admits that receiving those comments was "disheartening." Hugh also isn't afraid to show his emotional side through his movies; remember when Will in Notting Hill was so devastated when Anna left him that he was hesitant of taking her back in case he was hurt again? That was all Hugh.
It might just be the British humor, but Hugh is *seriously* sarcastic when he wants to be. If you watch interviews with him, you'll be sure to catch him shooting a witty or deprecating comment to the interviewer. He brings his sarcastic humor into any role he plays, whether it's intentional or not, and we love him for it. Remember how David talks to Natalie when she f*cks up on the first day? Hilarious. His Music and Lyrics character, Alex, is also sarcastic towards Sophie (Drew Barrymore). Some may think it's mean, we think it's comedy gold.
Although everyone else thinks Hugh is exactly like his "fluffy" characters in real life, including us, Hugh considers himself to be closer to Daniel Cleaver, his Bridget Jones's Diary character that he played for three movies and who happens to be kind of a d*ck. If you've seen the franchise, you'll probably find it hard to believe that Hugh was a harsh womanizer like Daniel, but his history with women might say otherwise. Remember the whole Hugh Grant cheating scandal in '95? We do.
Hugh has a reputation for being pleasant to work with, that's why Richard Curtis (writer of Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Love Actually) kept bringing the guy back on board for movies. He's even friends with Robert DeNiro, who he casually calls Bob. This personality trait is similar to that of David's in Love Actually... he's probably the only British Prime Minister in history that people actually liked — and he was fictional. The entire staff loved him, Natalie loved him, Natalie's family loved him, the only person who didn't love him was the US president, but that one was understandable.
One of Hugh's less popular movies is Music and Lyrics, the 2007 flick he starred in alongside Drew Barrymore. He plays Alex Fletcher, an ex-pop star who scores a major comeback when he's asked to write a song for a young, new, Britney-esque singer. The movie is full of singing, songwriting, and piano playing, as you can imagine — but that wasn't Hugh's first crack at music. As a child, he took piano lessons from Andrew Lloyd Webber's mother. ALW is the guy who wrote the music for Phantom of the Opera — impressive or what?
Hugh has told the story of how he got the part in Paddington 2 multiple times, and it's pretty hilarious. Paul King, who directed the children's movie, said he wrote a part about a washed up, narcissistic old actor and called the character Hugh because he was thinking of Hugh Grant, all before approaching him for the part. OMG.
Richard Curtis is the man behind Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually — four of Hugh's most well-known roles. After Four Weddings, Richard and Hugh had worked together so much that they knew each other inside and out, so we really doubt that Hugh's next three roles written by Richard were random. Hugh said himself that Richard takes inspiration from himself and the people in his life while writing characters. Our theory is that Richard wrote these characters with Hugh in mind and that all of his characters are a version of him. Too far fetched? We don't think so.
Hugh Grant's interviews are some of the funniest to watch because of how unintentionally funny he is. His blatant disdain for acting, which is apparent in his GQ interview, would make anybody laugh out loud. At one stage he even says: "The world hates actors, and rightly so." All of his biggest characters are funny in their own right, one of our favorites being Charles in Four Weddings. Charles is funny in the sense that he's so unfortunate you can't help but laugh at him, and we feel like that's the case for Hugh... need we refer back to the Maurice premier incident?
Time and time again, the actor keeps coming back to the fact that he always plays characters the same way unintentionally. He acknowledges that he's known for playing "fluffy" characters, and although writers tell him each time it'll be different, he ultimately falls back into the habit of playing his roles the same way. Why? Because he's just playing himself, that's why! Hugh says he started doing this when he was instructed by writer Richard Curtis to play his character in Four Weddings, Charles, in a convoluted syntax style, and then he just accidentally let it bleed into all of his other roles after. He even says that his Love Actually character was designed to be different to the rest, but he played him in his usual way, as did he with his Sense and Sensibility character shortly after.