Hugh Grant says itâ€™s â€œa reliefâ€ for him to play horrible characters in movies, but he doesnâ€™t think weâ€™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 Ritchieâ€™s The Gentlemen.
Fletcher serves as an unreliable narrator for the movie, attempting to blackmail Charlie Hunnamâ€™s character with information he has learned about his boss â€” Matthew McConaugheyâ€™s drug kingpin Mickey Pearson.
Heâ€™s a foul-mouthed, racist slimeball of the highest order, but that made the actor very happy.
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â€œI find that the sleazier and more repellent a character is I play, the better I am,â€ Grant tells Yahoo Movies UK.
â€œThat 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.
â€œThen, of course, before that I was the baddie in Paddington 2 – a terrifying character.â€
And speaking of Grantâ€™s Paddington character, the actor doesnâ€™t think audiences will ever see him again, despiteÂ 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,Â leading his fellow inmates in a rendition of ‘Rain on the Roof’ from Stephen Sondheim musical Follies.
Grant says: â€œThey 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.â€
He adds: â€œThere’s no breakout, not for Phoenix. He doesn’t want one. He’s loving it. He’s dancing away with the other inmates.â€
Grantâ€™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: â€œEven my wife who’s a sort of phlegmatic Swede, who hates every film I’ve ever done, loved this film.
â€œShe 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.â€
The Gentlemen also stars Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong and Colin Farrell as figures within the criminal underworld of London.
Itâ€™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.