Hugh Grant is featured in W magazine’s October issue, discussing his return to Hollywood with his upcoming film, Florence Foster Jenkins, looking back on the love scenes in Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and talking about how he became involved in politics.
“In the last five years, I have been doing less in terms of show business and more in terms of politics [he has taken on certain Rupert Murdoch–owned tabloids for hacking the phones of celebrities] and having children [he has four],” Grantsaid. “My character in Florence Foster Jenkins is, in fact, rubbish. But then he meets this eccentric millionairess, and they suit each other perfectly.”
Lynn Hirschberg: Did you do any research for the part? Hugh Grant: Yes. In a panic, the year leading up to the film I did a very uncharacteristic amount of research, including flying to New York to read Bayfield’s diaries and letters. I also had to learn to dance the Lindy Hop. That took four hard months, with ladies in leotards in a sweaty dance studio in London. They had to train me like a performing seal.
Your love scenes in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill are considered to be some of the most romantic of all time.
Love scenes are extremely difficult. You’re always within a millimeter of sentimentality and “yuck.” But sex scenes are something else! The conventional response to sex scenes is that they’re horrible and not sexy and it’s all so unnatural. But I’ve always found filming sex scenes to be quite a turn-on.
After the massive success of Four Weddings and a Funeral, you could have easily moved to Hollywood, but you stayed in London.
I don’t hate L.A., but I’m nervous about becoming one of those people who has a ferocious interest in how films did at the box office that weekend and, you know, would want to meet for egg-white omelets in the morning. After a few weeks of living there, I realized I was going native. I remember being tempted to not actually phone people myself but have my assistant say, “Hi, I’ve got Hugh Grant for you.” At that point, you know you’ve got to get out.
For the photo shoot, Ellen von Unwerth captures Grant out on the town, wearing bespoke fashion.