In the wake of his Golden Globe nomination announced Wednesday, Hugh Grant paid tribute to the “genius” of his fellow nominees from HBO’s limited series The Undoing (co-star and EP Nicole Kidman, director Susanne Bier and creator David E. Kelley), explained the challenges of playing an unhinged man, and hinted a little at his upcoming Guy Ritchie film.
In The Undoing, Grant is Jonathan Fraser, a pediatric oncologist and seemingly ideal husband to Kidman’s character Grace and father to Noah Jupe’s Henry. But Fraser also happens to be a dangerous sociopath who murdered his mistress.
Did Grant relish the opportunity to play this subversive villain?
“There were other attractions to the project,” he told Deadline. “Susanne Bier is a great genius, so is David E. Kelley, so is Nicole Kidman, but I’m not sure if I would have done it if I’d just been the husband who sh****ed the wrong woman and then spent six episodes apologizing. That would have been a bit boring. To be a sociopath who is on the surface such a wonderful man and a healer of children seemed to me to be hilarious.”
In the finale episode, Fraser loses his cool and kidnaps his son—a trajectory Grant found challenging to play, he said, confessing to checking Twitter to see if he’d gone over well. “That’s the hardest bit actually. I was very nervous of that moment, that car trip with his son. When you have to act someone slightly losing it, you can very quickly go into laughable territory—it’s a bit like playing drunk, you’ve got to be really careful. So that was terrifying and when it was finally broadcast, I did get up in the middle of the night and check on Twitter to see if people were laughing at me or quite enjoying it. Thank god [the tweets] were good. Obviously there are always going to be some vile ones. That’s why we go on Twitter, to torture ourselves. On the whole we got away with it, so thank god.”
With any successful series, there tends to be the question of a possible second season, but in this case Grant sees it as highly unlikely. “I don’t see how that could be done, I honestly don’t. If I’m in prison, I’m guilty. It would have to be a spinoff series about my time in prison and how I befriend Phoenix Buchanan from Paddington,” he joked, referring to that other villain, his role in Paddington 2.
Next up for Grant is Guy Ritchie’s latest film Five Eyes, which will soon shoot in Turkey. “He changes the titles of his films every Tuesday but for the moment it’s called that,” Grant said, adding that his role will be “quite different” from the last Ritchie film he did, The Gentleman.
“I’ve become a big fan of his films,” Grant added. “He creates a world that I miss really, where everyone dresses sharply and lives dangerously and is allowed to have fun and that’s a world of total political correctness is quite distant. People just shuffling around and sipping lattes and staring at phones, the modern world, is all quite distant from the Guy Richie world and I admire him for that.”
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