Hughman Touch

Hughman Touch

British star Hugh Grant has plenty to say about relationships, cheating—and the art of being a lazy actor


Originally published on on March 2010


Hugh Grant insists he doesn’t like acting. So why does he do it? “Because I’m not really good at anything else,” said the 49-year-old British star during a visit to Japan this month to promote his latest film, Did You Hear About the Morgans? “As it is, I have a limited range as an actor—light comedy. I have never been a fan of romantic comedies and yet, that is what I have ended up mostly doing.”

Directed by Marc Lawrence (whose Music and Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice both also starred Grant), Morgans deals with an estranged Manhattan couple (Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) who witness a murder and are then relocated by the FBI to a small town in Wyoming under the witness protection program.

Grant said he genuinely enjoyed making the film. “I know actors always say that when they are doing press and they are generally talking BS, but I had a great time. It was fun to be out on the huge open plains of the wild west and wear a cowboy hat. That has been a fantasy all my life. At home, I hardly ever leave London. I don’t like the countryside in England. People just want to shoot birds, and there is always a ghost in the old house.”

Working with Parker was another plus. “I don’t like most actors, but she was great. I’ve never seen anyone so active. She was on her BlackBerry the whole time. She was even using it in one scene with me when the camera wasn’t on her.”

Another inducement was the chance to work again with director Lawrence, who has a knack for putting Grant at ease and who also shares certain personality traits. “It’s interesting that we both have a gloomy view of life, even though we make comedies together,” he said.

While in Tokyo, Grant, who was making his sixth visit to Japan, attended a special premiere at Maru Building Hall where he was joined by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s wife Miyuki and comedian Hiroyuki Amano. The audience consisted almost entirely of young women. “Japanese women have always loved my films, even when no one else did,” he said. “Ever since I made Maurice in the 1980s, I’ve been getting hundreds of letters from Japanese girls. They definitely have a special place in my heart.”

One of the themes of Did You Hear About the Morgans? is marital infidelity, and many Japanese reporters seemed eager to hear Grant’s views on the topic.

“I can’t tell you how many questions I got asked on the subject of cheating. In my experience, infidelity is fatal to a relationship. The injured party never gets over it; the misery will always rise to the surface under stress. I’m terrified of angry women. Most women and men always have some secret ‘ammo’ they can use in a fight and I have been attacked. I was once even assaulted by a woman using my BAFTA award.”

Grant seemed amused when he was asked what he thought of a remark by actor Junichi Ishida that married men cheating in Japan was almost an accepted part of the culture. “Of course, it’s the same in France and Italy—married men all do it like rabbits, only they are more discreet about their cheating,” he mused. Then he added with a laugh, “Not in England, though. Men are more interested in their dogs than in having sex.”

Looking ahead, Grant said he doesn’t have any other film projects lined up.

“I started writing a book four years ago and got as far as 80 pages. I really have to finish it. It’s a novel, sort of a twisted comedy, but I am not even sure about that. I’m just too lazy.”

Chris Betros is the editor of Japan Today (