Hugh Grant Wished Illness Upon His Director To Put a Stop To 1 “Excruciating” Scene in Iconic 2003 Film

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There was once a time when Hugh Grant became the definitive face of the romantic comedy genre. From Notting Hill to Four Weddings And A Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary to Two Weeks Notice—the actor’s charming smile and ability to share swoon-worthy chemistry with his on-screen partners as the quintessential British love-interest shot him to superstardom. He became well-versed in the nitty-gritty of the genre.

Hugh Grant in Love Actually (2003)Hugh Grant in Love Actually (2003)

Read more: Hugh Grant Almost Turned Down One Of The Best Films Of All Time For Being Too Similar To ‘Notting Hill’

However, not even the talent’s pre-existing expertise could have prepared him for this one scene from Love Actually. The scene in question is the much-celebrated dance sequence from the beloved holiday classic directed by Richard Curtis. While enthusiasts still think highly of it, Grant made it clear on the ABC News – Diane Sawyer Special ‘The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later’ that he was not looking forward to it.

In fact, the actor’s displeasure and refusal to commit to the sequence made Curtis think Grant hoped for the former to get sick!

Hugh Grant Didn’t “Fancy” Doing The Love Actually Dance Sequence

Love Actually (2003)Love Actually (2003)

Talking to Diane Sawyer during ABC NewsThe Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later’ Special, Hugh Grant reflected on the uber-memorable dance sequence in the film.

His character, David, the Prime Minister, breaks into an elaborate routine to The Pointer Sisters’ 1984 electro-pop song Jump (For My Love). He begins by swaying his hips, boogying downstairs his residence at 10 Downing Street through the hallway into a room, and then gets caught by his secretary.

The entire sequence remains among the most memorable in rom-com history. Most would agree.

But Grant deemed it a nightmare to commit to. He told the following to Diane Sawyer:

“I saw it in the script … I thought, ‘Well, I’ll hate doing that. I didn’t fancy doing the dance at all, let alone rehearsing it! [It was a] contractual guillotine, yeah.”

The actor wasn't ready to dance!The actor wasn’t ready to dance!

Read more: Hugh Grant Landed In An Embarrassing Situation With His Makeup Assistant

On the same subject, Grant’s frequent collaborator and Love Actually director, Richard Curtis, remarked that the Notting Hill actor alum declined to participate in the dancing. The 67-year-old British screenwriter assumed the actor wished illness on him so they could call off the scene. He stated:

“He [Grant] kept saying no! I think he was hoping I’d get ill … and we’d say, ‘Oh, well, what a shame, we’ll have to lose that dancing sequence.’ He was grumpy. But he knew. It was a contractual obligation. A bit of contractual obligation acting!”

When the scene was filmed, Curtis felt glad that the actor committed to it, and he could only think how “agonizingly embarrassing” it was. However, that was precisely the effect the helmer wanted, so he deemed the actor’s efforts “perfect.”

Hugh Grant’s verdict? “… To this day, there’s many people—and I agree with them—who think it’s the most excruciating scene ever committed to celluloid!” he concluded lightheartedly.

As mentioned, this isn’t the first instance that marked a collaboration between the renowned screenwriter and the actor, but it is the first initiative where Richard Curtis directed the actor! The helmer expressed his gratitude for Grant in the same segment.

This Isn’t The First Collaboration Between Hugh Grant And Richard Curtis

 ABC NewsHugh Grant and Richard Curtis. Credit: ABC News

Grant has worked with Richard Curtis before the screenwriter’s directorial debut with 2003’s Love Actually. In Notting Hill, where Grant plays the leading role alongside Julia Roberts, Curtis served as the endeavor’s screenwriter. He additionally wrote screenplays for other Grant rom-com classics, such as Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), and its follow-up sequel.

During that same ABC News Special, the celebrated screenwriter expressed gratitude towards his longtime collaborator, claiming he wouldn’t have had a film career if it weren’t for Grant’s tagging along:

“He’s my luckiest break. I don’t even know if I would have a film career without Hugh. I’m very grateful he came along.”

Love Actually (2002)Love Actually (2002)

Read more: Hugh Grant Received an Awkward Letter From Director For a Role That Got Him into a Lot of Trouble!

In the 2003 film Love Actually, ten separate stories are told through the lens of a predominantly British ensemble cast who portray interlinked characters. The film is deemed a contemporary Christmas rom-com classic and delves into the various nuances related to love. Against a budget of $40 million, the endeavor amassed $248.3 million at the box-office.

The pursuit received a mixed response in terms of critical reception. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie enjoys a 64% approval rating. But among viewers, the Richard Curtis-helmed rom-com has emerged as a memorable production indispensable to the holiday season, as evidenced by the 72% audience score.

Hugh Grant’s dance sequence may have proved excruciating for the star. For the rest of us, however, it will stay timeless.

Love Actually (2003) is available for streaming on Netflix.

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