Four Weddings and a Funeral’s Richard Curtis fought ‘hard’ against Hugh Grant involvement

Alan Rickman, Jim Broadbent, and Robbie Coltrane were also in contention for the role

Louis Chilton
Saturday 04 May 2024 22:42 BST
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Four weddings and a funeral 1994 trailer

Richard Curtis has revealed that he “argued hard” against the casting of Hugh Grant in the 1994 romcom Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Grant played the lead role of Charles in the hit Curtis-scripted film, opposite Andie MacDowell. It would become one of Grant’s best known roles.

In a new retrospective for The Times, Curtis claimed that he had initially resisted the casting of Grant over concerns that the actor would be too glamourous.

“The director, Mike Newell, took the casting unbelievably seriously,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

Newell, MacDowell and several other members of the cast and crew also reflected on the experience making the film, to mark Four Weddings’ 30th anniversary.

“The script was not necessarily going to endear the audience to us,” Newell recalled. “Who are these snotty young folk climbing into their tail suits once every three weeks?

Hugh Grant in ‘Four Weddings'
Hugh Grant in ‘Four Weddings' (Orion)

He continued: “It was a very cheap movie. I think it was less than £3 million. We only had 32 days to make it. There are five huge public occasions in the movie, plus everything else. We had to move very quickly – there wasn’t time to have second thoughts.

“I remember in one of the church scenes going out into the churchyard in an absolute paddy at something or other and kicking a gravestone very hard indeed and having to limp for the rest of the day. Comedy is really hard. But you know it’s working when people laugh or have a bounce in their step when they play the scene.”

Four Weddings is now considered one of the best British romcoms of all time, and helped solidify Grant’s status as one of the foremost leading men of the 1990s.

In 2019, the original cast of Four Weddings reunited for a short film sequel set years after the events of the original.

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