Some actors have almost become the epitome of their country. If I were to ask you to name a Scottish actor, you would tell me Sean Connery. If the same question were asked about Australian actors, you’d say Hugh Jackman. Well, Hugh Grant is probably the best known British actor. This is probably because most of the films Hugh Grant has performed in have been from Britain. As such, since Hugh Grant has appeared in many British films, he would tend to be identified as the epitome of a British actor. But what really defines a British actor? Often, they are seen as overly formal, socially bumbling, and all around charming in an awkward kind of way. This week’s two films highlight some of Hugh Grant’s roles as a British actor which have ended up defining the stereotypical British role.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Length: 117 minutes / 1.95 hours
Hugh Grant’s defining genre has been that of the romantic comedy. This was probably due to his breakout role in Four Weddings and a Funeral. After that, he has starred in such films like Mickey Blue Eyes (1999), Two Weeks Notice (2002), About a Boy (2002), and Music and Lyrics (2007). He also starred in three more romantic comedies which were written by Richard Curtis (who also wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral): Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), and Love Actually (2003). That’s not to say that he’s exclusively done romantic comedies, having acted in dramas like Sense and Sensibility (1995), and Cloud Atlas (2012). Still, his charming protagonist roles in the distinctly British style have caused his name to be forever linked to the romantic comedy genre.
As we all know, most romantic comedies end in weddings, so there’s no doubt that Four Weddings and a Funeral is a romantic comedy, since it contains four of them. In the first wedding, Charles (Hugh Grant) meets Carrie (Andie MacDowell) and they end up having a one-night fling before she has to fly back to America. By the second wedding, Charles is crestfallen to find that Carrie has brought along her fiancé: Sir Hamish Banks (Corin Redgrave). To add insult to injury, he is seated at a table full of ex-girlfriends, followed by being trapped in the hotel room where the just married couple burst in to consummate their vows. The third wedding between Carrie and Hamish came after Charles told her too late that he loves her. This is why the fourth wedding between Charles and Henrietta (Anna Chancellor) is made all the more awkward when he learns Carrie is now divorced.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Length: 88 minutes / 1.46 hours
The gap that often links romantic comedies to regular comedies is quite small. As such, comedies like Small Time Crooks (2000), Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009), and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) are all part of Hugh Grant’s repertoire. But, as I mentioned earlier in this post, since Hugh Grant is somewhat the epitome of the British actor, it makes sense that he would work with British Directors (like Richard Curtis and Guy Ritchie), as well as British production companies. One such company is that of Aardman Animation. These purveyors of plasticine plots have made their mark on the film world with such family classics as Chicken Run (2000), and Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). Because they work solely in animation, only Hugh Grant’s voice was needed for The Pirates!
On the high seas, many men are out to prove themselves. Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is trying to prove that he’s the best there is by attempting to plunder more treasure than any other pirate, thus winning the “Pirate of the Year” competition. Unfortunately, his inexperienced crew is unable to produce results. On their final attempt, the crew boards the Beagle, where they find a love-struck Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin is attempting to win the “Scientist of the Year” competition so he can impress Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) and get her to notice him. It is in this fateful meeting that Darwin finds that Pirate Captain’s bird, Polly, is actually the last of the dodo birds. In a twist of fate, Pirate Captain finally strikes it rich by making a deal with Queen Victoria, thus winning the competition. However, at what cost did this prize come?
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 hilarious Hugh Grant roles
Bacon #: 2 (Two Weeks Notice / Robin Weigert -> My One and Only / Kevin Bacon)