Los Angeles: Ah, the sweet siren’s call of cold, hard cash. The Achilles heel to every well-meaning human, artist, and thespian; the temptation which leads good men to star in movies about being trapped in the body of a cat. Fresh off a highly-acclaimed performance in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins, Hugh Grant has been allowed some time to reflect on the path of his own career, and how money almost inevitably became a driving force in many of his choices.
“The people who wanted me were always the money people, much more than the important directors,” Grant told NY Daily News. “And so that I suppose, if I had any unit of success – any metric – it was how much money a film made. I was never in that whole other film world which is to do with prizes.”
However, though the upcoming awards season may see Grant forced into the prize race thanks to early talk surrounding his Florence Foster Jenkins role, the actor sees himself as essentially semi-retired now. “I got so involved with other things, particularly with politics in Britain, I’ve thought well, I’ve put show business behind me,” he noted, referencing his lobbying for stricter press laws in the aftermath of the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. “I’ve not sat there sweating and worrying about my career… ever.”
Indeed, Grant’s initiation into the acting world was partially accidental, with the then-amateur having been approached by an agent; his primary intentions to pursue an art history PHD.
“I thought and actually I could do that for a year or two and then go and do this other degree, so I said to the agent, ‘All right, I’ll do it for a year,” he explained. “And one year turned into 35 years, largely because in those first jobs I was so much worse than I thought I was going to be. So I thought I would just do another one to show my friends and relations that I’m not that bad. And that’s really what’s propelled me on for 35 years.”