Hugh Grant says it’s “a relief” for him to play horrible characters in movies, but he doesn’t think we’ll see his Paddington 2 villain Phoenix Buchanan again soon.
Grant is still best known for his romcom turns, but says he relished the opportunity to amp up the worst side of his personality as private investigator Fletcher in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen.
Fletcher serves as an unreliable narrator for the movie, attempting to blackmail Charlie Hunnam’s character with information he has learned about his boss — Matthew McConaughey’s drug kingpin Mickey Pearson.
He’s a foul-mouthed, racist slimeball of the highest order, but that made the actor very happy.
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“I find that the sleazier and more repellent a character is I play, the better I am,” Grant tells Yahoo Movies UK.
“That has been what I’ve learnt over the last few years. Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal is pretty dark, narcissistic and he plots a murder.
“Then, of course, before that I was the baddie in Paddington 2 – a terrifying character.”
And speaking of Grant’s Paddington character, the actor doesn’t think audiences will ever see him again, despite saying the film is his best ever work.
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Dastardly actor-turned-thief Phoenix Buchanan was locked up in prison at the end of the 2017 movie, leading his fellow inmates in a rendition of ‘Rain on the Roof’ from Stephen Sondheim musical Follies.
Grant says: “They probably will make another Paddington, in fact I think they are but no, Phoenix is happy in prison. He’s got a special friend there.”
He adds: “There’s no breakout, not for Phoenix. He doesn’t want one. He’s loving it. He’s dancing away with the other inmates.”
Grant’s recent run of villainous roles is certainly at odds with his romcom-honed persona, but he says it is his role in The Gentlemen that has earned the love of his wife.
He says: “Even my wife who’s a sort of phlegmatic Swede, who hates every film I’ve ever done, loved this film.
“She said it was red hot. She likes the testosterone and the guys who are guys and who hurt and kill each other. She’s a violent woman.”
The Gentlemen also stars Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong and Colin Farrell as figures within the criminal underworld of London.
It’s a return to the gangster thriller genre for Ritchie, who achieved great success in that world with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.
The Gentlemen is in UK cinemas from 1 January, 2020.