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Editor's Choice

Is Hugh Grant the ultimate British heartthrob?

“The only reason my work seems to be eclectic up to a certain period is because I was a failure as an actor.”

With an enviable mop of floppy hair, strong jaw and absolutely swoon-worthy looks, even at 61, Hugh Grant, despite his constantly contemplative deliberations, will always be the ultimate British heartthrob. Born on September 9, 1960, in London, the actor is a natural flirt who has managed to charm men and women across the globe with his effortless charisma and easy demeanour. 

The actor started his career with the film Privileged, but the industry remained nearly oblivious to his charm for years, despite Grant delivering some noteworthy performances that secured him the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival for Maurice. It was not until the 1994 hit rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral that the bafflingly charming Grant garnered international acclaim and became a household name. Appearing as the fool in love, he earned the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for his performance. 

Grant has had a tumultuous career. From establishing his career in romantic comedies like Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Loe Actually, Music and Lyrics, Two Weeks Notice, About a Boy and more to garnering critical acclaim in films like Florence Foster Jenkins, Cloud Atlas among others, he has established himself as a character actor with incredible comic timing and a quintessential sardonic British humour and sarcasm that is a trademark in all his films. He has always been the resident charmer and despite his disdain for his profession, which he claims he merely chanced upon, he continues to reign supreme in our hearts. His larger than life persona has often interfered with his on-screen presence, and it has been difficult to separate Hugh the man from Hugh the actor. 

Grant, the ever funny guy, was once asked by an interviewer about how he felt typecast as “just the guy from romantic comedies”. He said, “I’ve got too old and ugly and fat to do them anymore, so now I’ve done other things and, um, I’ve got marginally less self-hatred than I had before.”

Despite ignoring romantic roles for quite some time now in his career spanning nearly four decades, his self-deprecating humour and suave charm has always made people go week in the knees. From playing the cute and dorky (and incredibly handsome) Prime Minister David in Love Actually, with an awkward yet iconic dance routine, to the hopelessly lovesick Charles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, or even the wonderfully intellectual William Thacker in Notting Hill, all the way to a pompous womanizer in Two Weeks Notice, Grant has starred alongside countless actresses, usually stealing the show. 

Although he has been playing much darker characters of late, courtesy of The Undoing and A Very English Scandal, it is very difficult to dissociate him from his quintessential loverboy image as he has imprinted himself in our minds as the ultimate British heartthrob. With his newer roles, he has incorporated a sinister aura that makes him seem beguiling and ominous at the same time.  

Regarding his role choices, he has always expressed his lack of inclination towards serious roles. “I’ve never been tempted to do the part where I cry or get AIDS or save some people from a concentration camp just to get good reviews,” said he. “I genuinely believe that comedy acting, light comedy acting, is as hard as, if not harder than serious acting, and it genuinely doesn’t bother me that all the prizes and the good reviews automatically by knee-jerk reaction go to the deepest, darkest, most serious performances and parts. It makes me laugh.”

No matter how many diverse roles Grant takes up, he will always be the alluring heartthrob with a striking accent and cheesy, flirtatious charms that will always win hearts a thousand times over!