“I argued hard against Hugh Grant”: Four Weddings and a Funeral Writer Wanted to Cast Harry Potter Actor in Iconic Rom-Com That Turns 30 This Year

Hugh Grant's reputation as Hollywood's king of romance had a rocky beginning despite the actor's floppy-haired, doe-eyed charm.

Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter

SUMMARY

  • Hugh Grant was not Richard Curtis' first choice for the lead role in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
  • Hugh Grant revolutionized Hollywood with his array of blockbuster rom-coms that have become classics in their own right.
  • Rom-com resurgence has ensured Hugh Grant finds his way back to the genre in a beloved Renée Zellweger franchise from the 2000s.
Show More
Featured Video

Hugh Grant’s remarkable ability to walk in the shoes of a hopeless romantic makes the audience swoon with every look and every dialogue that his characters convey. The British star has a lot of these characters in his old Hollywood roster to claim a credible authority over the genre of rom-coms as a whole.

Advertisement

However, it wasn’t until Four Weddings and a Funeral that he became the unofficial face of the charming lover boy that rom-com directors tripped head over heels for. Directed by the esteemed Richard Curtis, the 1994 film established Grant in Hollywood as the British counterpart of Tom Hanks, who was at the time equally famous for his rom-com films.

Hugh Grant – the face of rom-com [Credit Notting Hill, Universal Pictures]
Hugh Grant – the face of rom-com [Photo taken from Notting Hill; Credit: Universal Pictures]

Although the Forrest Gump star quickly grew out of his reputation as the affable and charming Everyman suited for a bit of nostalgic romance on the side, Grant would have to woo his way out of the genre by starring in more than 15 rom-coms across 4 decades.

Advertisement

Hugh Grant Almost Lost His Shot at Being the King of Rom-Coms

Despite his legendary status in the rom-com universe, Hugh Grant almost lost his opportunity to break out into the glamorous genre that transcends time, class, geography, and rationality. In his audition for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant was the perfect player on the chessboard but screenwriter Richard Curtis always had eyes for another.

Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral [Credit: Universal Pictures, MGM]
Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral [Credit: Universal Pictures, MGM]

In an interview with The Times, reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the film, Curtis revealed:

“The director, Mike Newell, took the casting unbelievably seriously. I argued hard against Hugh Grant. I had in my mind a less glamorous person because I’m a very unglamorous person. So I was thinking Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane, John Gordon Sinclair. I argued for Alan Rickman.”

Although there is no replacement for the late, evergreen Harry Potter actor, Alan Rickman, the final theatrical product starring Hugh Grant makes it difficult to believe that anyone other than the latter would have been correct for the role. Luckily, Curtis came to that realization before it was too late:

Advertisement

“But we interviewed about 70 other people and it turned out that the combination you need of charm and wit to make it funny was very hard to find. And Hugh had it instantly. He gives the impression of being feckless and that he can’t act, but he worked so hard on every line.”

The film, which was shot on an incredibly low budget and an even more constrained schedule changed the trajectories of both Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant’s lives. Four Weddings and a Funeral became one of the most commercially successful rom-coms in the genre and continues to live on in our memory as one of the treasures that make up for Hugh Grant’s lack of joie de vivre.

Hugh Grant’s Contribution to the World of Rom-Com

Four Weddings and a Funeral [Credit Universal Pictures, MGM]
Four Weddings and a Funeral [Credit: Universal Pictures, MGM]

Not all actors are made for the roles they are cast to play. But one famously cantankerous and cranky Brit was definitely born to embody the charming, witty, affable, and dreamy lead in rom-coms. In the ’90s and early 2000s, Hugh Grant became the go-to guy for directors like Roger Michell and Richard Curtis. And the films that were born out of their union became immortalized in Hollywood history.

Although Grant may not be the most familiar face in the genre of rom-com, he is definitely one of its most loyal representatives. Throughout his career spanning half a century, the actor has given us some of the most essential, cult-classic, era-defining, and famous rom-coms in the history of cinema. From the revolutionary Maurice to Notting Hill to Love Actually, Hugh Grant’s presence has marked each decade with a cult-classic and era-defining rom-com.

Advertisement

Although it has been a long time since he has played the part of a hopeless romantic, the audience can only wish he’d revisit more of his early rom-com era despite age being a deciding factor in Hollywood’s cinematic model.

Fortunately, time and Helen Fielding have sided with the masses and despite his claims of being “too old and fat and ugly” for the genre, Hugh Grant will reprise his role in the Renée Zellweger franchise with Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy that is set to release on Valentine’s Day, 2025.

Four Weddings and a Funeral is available for renting or buying on Apple TV and Prime Video.

Advertisement
Diya Majumdar

Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1668

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has over 1600 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for music, Monet, and Van Gogh.