Hugh Grant Says He's 'Out of Show Business,' Exits 'Bridget Jones' Sequel

Twenty years after winning a Golden Globe for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh Grant tells Yahoo Movies UK he’s no longer actively seeking film work. “I’m not out there looking for films,” Grant said while promoting his new film, The Rewrite (which opens in the UK this week). “On the whole, I’m out of show business.”

The 54-year-old actor also says he vigorously discourages friends looking to go into acting from following in his footsteps: “It’s miserable," he said. "It’s a very cruel world, no-one should go into it. I’m always getting cousins and friends, and daughters and sons of friends…wanting to talk about going into acting and I always say just don’t do it at all. It’s brutal.”


Grant in The Rewrite, which opens in the UK this weekend.

Grant’s made similar declarations before: In 2003, he told Vanity Fair that he was rethinking his career. “I kind of hate [acting],” he told the magazine. “In fact, I hate it quite a lot — all acting, but especially movie acting. I’m fine at the beginning of the day, when it’s a wide shot; I’m quite relaxed and good. But by the end of the day, when it’s the same scene you’re still shooting, and it’s you in close-up, and the entire focus is on you — now you’re got to repeat the little amusing thing you did earlier. And it’s so brutally difficult to do that, because you’re not feeling relaxed anymore…that accumulates over weeks and years, and you just think, ‘Oh, I don’t need this.’”

Nevertheless, Grant’s self-imposed work-stoppage didn’t last long, as he went on to star in such films as Music and Lyrics (2007), I’m Not Here (2010), and this month’s The Rewrite, in which he plays a frustrated screenwriter who takes up a teaching position to pay the bills.

Grant’s latest semi-retirement claims seem equally iffy: For starters, he told Yahoo Movies UK that, while he’s not actively looking for work, he won’t retire from acting completely. In fact, he’s already lined up a new project for the spring — one he describes as “definitely not a romantic comedy” — and he’s also due to appear in a small role in Guy Ritchie’s forthcoming big-screen version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Still, there's the chance Grant may not be fooling around this time: He recently announced that he's pulled out of the next Bridget Jones sequel, effectively exiting the only major franchise of his career.

In his Yahoo Movies UK interview, Grant also laments that some of his recent non-comedy roles — particularly Cloud Atlas, in which he played (amongst other things) a heavily tattooed cannibal — haven’t fared well at the box office.”I thought [Cloud Atlas] was amazing,” he said. “[The Wachowskis] are the bravest film-makers in the world, and I think it’s an amazing film…it’s frustrating to me. Every time I’ve done something outside the genre of light comedy, the film fails to find an audience at the box office. And, sadly, Cloud Atlas never really found the audience it deserved.”

Photo: Getty Images

Watch the trailer for The Rewrite below: