Why Hollywood Won't Cast Hugh Grant Anymore

For about a decade, Hugh Grant was everywhere. The charming Brit was the crown prince of romcoms and practically inescapable at the movies. Then, well, he wasn't around much anymore. What happened?

That whole sex scandal thing

Back before a sex tape could make someone famous and successful, sex scandals were, well, scandalous—and Hugh Grant was embroiled in a particularly infamous one. In 1995, the affable actor was busted for hooking up with a prostitute named Divine Brown in his car. He looked particularly sheepish in his mugshot. Oh, and did we mention he was dating actress Elizabeth Hurley at the time? Yeah, there's that too. Grant released a statement telling the press, "Last night I did something completely insane. I have hurt people I love and embarrassed people I work with. For both things I am more sorry than I can ever possibly say."

Grant got off easy in more ways than one. He escaped the potential six months of jail time and instead paid a $1,000 fine and participated in an AIDS education program. He also faced some comeuppance from Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, who asked him, "What the Hell were you thinking?" Grant said simply, "I've done an abominable thing, and she's [Liz Hurley] been amazing about it, and contrary to what I read in the paper today, she's been very supportive, and we're going to try to work it out."


He's over romcoms

The romantic comedy market has begun to dry up in recent years, and Grant's most recent effort in the genre didn't fare so well. Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2009) was a critical and box office bomb, netting only half of its $58 million budget in ticket sales.

It doesn't sound like it bugs Grant too much, though, because he's tired of the genre. Grant admitted to The Telegraph that part of why he's not in a lot of movies anymore is because he doesn't feel like doing them anymore and because Hollywood is an ageist place. ”Nowadays I pretty much turn everything down anyway, because I just feel too old, certainly for romantic comedy and certainly for show business in general," he said. "Occasionally, they wheel me out.”

His other genre films aren't moneymakers, either

Cloud Atlas (2012) had very lofty expectations: A stellar cast featuring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Grant, among others, as well as a time-warping plot, lots of double-casting, and plenty of attempts at depth and touching moments. It also had a $102 million budget. Unfortunately, the film only netted about $27 million in ticket sales. Similarly, the action-packed The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) cost $75 million to produce but only grossed $45 million at the box office. Are those bombs Grant's fault? Of course not, but combined with his spotty track record, casting directors and producers likely remember those financial flops.

He's picky about his projects

Because he's made a ton of money already, Grant can afford to be picky with his projects. He explained to The Telegraph that he won't take on just any film, and even when he does, it's with some stipulations. Speaking about the aptly titled The Rewrite (2014), Grant explained, "I'm very difficult and queenie, even with [writer and director Marc Lawrence]. I put him through the ringer and there were many drafts before I deigned to sign on the dotted line.”

He can't stop having kids

Grant has had four love children in the last four years. At one point, two of his lovers were pregnant at the same time! In December 2015, the London Lothario fathered his fourth child, a daughter, with Swedish television producer Anna Eberstein, who is also the mother of his son, John, who was born in 2012, according to the Daily Mail. Grant's other two tykes, Tabitha (born in 2011) and Felix (born in 2013) were birthed by restaurant hostess Tinglan Hong. We suspect Grant may be having a hard time squeezing movies in between all that baby making.

He's almost too handsome

Grant's breakout role was in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), and he almost didn't get the part because he was too sexy. Screenwriter Richard Curtis told the Daily Mail, "The absolutely key thing for that film when I was writing it was that the person who was playing the lead would not be good looking. That was the absolute starting thesis of the film. So when finally we'd auditioned every single young person in the country and we were voting, me, Mike [Newell, the director] and Duncan [Kenworthy, producer], two people voted for Hugh—that was them. And I voted for someone else."

He's a bit too posh

Grant revealed on The Graham Norton Show that his good looks weren't his only obstacles when auditioning for his life-changing role in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). After the talk show host said the part was written for Grant, the actor scoffed, "I had to audition, and in fact I was very much unwanted. Richard Curtis did everything in his power to stop me getting the part after the audition. I remember it was a very traumatic audition," he added. "It was in the Jim Henson studio for some reason, and in front of the writer, director, producer and 50 full size Muppets, which was unsettling. I read the speech I had made at my brother's wedding, which I thought would charm them but I think it slightly sickened them. I think they wanted someone rather more middle of the road and thought I was too hoity-toity posh."

What's next?

It looks like a comeback is in order for Grant. The charmer stars alongside Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), which has already garnered critical acclaim ahead of its release in August 2016. If he can keep his nose (and uh, other things) clean, chances are he can nab whatever roles he wants from here on.