Your love scenes in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill are considered to be some of the most romantic of all time.
"Love scenes are extremely difficult. You’re always within a millimeter of sentimentality and “yuck.” But sex scenes are something else! The conventional response to sex scenes is that they’re horrible and not sexy and it’s all so unnatural. But I’ve always found filming sex scenes to be quite a turn-on. I like the experience of being in a sexual position when you’re not supposed to be in one."
After the massive success of Four Weddings and a Funeral, you could have easily moved to Hollywood, but you stayed in London.
"I don’t hate L.A., but I’m nervous about becoming one of those people who has a ferocious interest in how films did at the box office that weekend and, you know, would want to meet for egg-white omelets in the morning. After a few weeks of living there, I realized I was going native. I remember being tempted to not actually phone people myself but have my assistant say, “Hi, I’ve got Hugh Grant for you.” At that point, you know you’ve got to get out."
Did you find it odd how after Four Weddings your hair became an object of fascination?
"Well, Richard Curtis, the writer, didn’t want me in the film because he thought that the character should not be attractive—so they went to great lengths to make me look bad. I have terrible costumes in that film, and they gave me the worst haircut they could. How is that for ironic?"
In recent years, you’ve become a whistle-blower, alerting people to the fact that Rupert Murdoch–backed journalists were hacking into the phones of celebrities. How did you become involved in that?
"I had always droned on about how Britain was run by media barons rather than by the people we elected. And then I had this weird opportunity. I was on my way to a golf event, and my midlife-crisis car broke down in a remote part of the countryside. Out of nowhere, a van pulled up. It turned out it was the ex–news editor of News of the World. He started taking pictures of me, and I was swearing at him, but in the end I needed a ride. On the way to my golf thing, he rejoiced in boasting about how he used to hack all these phones. I thought, Christ, I wish I had something to record this with—it’s dynamite. A few months later, a friend and I went to his pub in Dover, and we both had these spy pens on us. I got him talking again, recorded it, and wrote it up for the New Statesman magazine. I meant to do it just as a brief flurry of activity, but a few weeks has now turned into five years. The organization I started, Hacked Off, even managed to change the law. It’s a privacy issue for everyone. I hasten to add that it’s not about the plight of celebrities. In that, I have very little interest."
Read the full interview at W Magazine.