Gritty reboots are all the rage in Hollywood, from CW’s tortured take on the world of Archie Andrews in Riverdale, to the Power Rangers movie being more about depressed outcasts rather than “teens with attitude”. Now, actor Hugh Grant wants to be part of the trend, as he recently revealed during a Q&A with HBO that he wants to make a Notting Hill sequel that shows his character getting divorced from Julia Roberts.
“I would like to do a sequel to one of my own romantic comedies that shows what happened after those films ended. To really prove the terrible lie they all were, that it was a happy ending. I’d like to do me and Julia and the hideous divorce that’s ensued. With really expensive lawyers, children involved in tug of love, floods of tears. Psychologically scarred forever. I’d love to do that film.”
A generation of women swooned over Hugh Grant in the 90’s as a thirty-something actor fresh off the breakout success of Four Weddings and a Funeral. For that generation, Grant personified a certain epitome of Hollywood leading man who combined dashing good looks with a self-deprecating sense of British reserve that fans found irresistible.
The zenith of the actor’s success in that particular genre arrived in the form of the 1999 movie Notting Hill, where Grant teamed up with box-office sensation Julia Roberts to tell the story of a hapless travel book store owner in London, who finds himself unexpectedly embroiled in an affair with a famous American actress, and the public scrutiny that followed.
The movie is often cited as one of the greatest rom-coms Hollywood ever produced, and Grant’s suggestion for the possible sequel would scandalize the army of fans who still watch the original movie regularly. But the actor has proven again and again that he wants to explore a world beyond romantic comedies in his career.
After a decade of being known as the go-to lead in a rom-com, Grant shook things up with 2006’s American Dreamz, where he played a villainous talent show host modeled on Simon Cowell. The movie sank at the box-office, but it signaled the arrival of Grant as a character actor after years of being typecast as a matinee idol.
In the following years, the actor took on one critically-acclaimed role after another in offbeat movies, from Cloud Atlas to The Rewrite. Most recently, while discussing his new HBO drama The Undoing opposite Nicole Kidman, where Grant plays Jonathan Fraser, a pediatric oncologist and New York society socialite who goes missing after a young mother is bludgeoned to death, the actor explained he is more than happy to have left behind the world of the rom-com.
“I’ve been doing these much more character-y roles recently, and enjoying them, and they seem to work quite well. And I didn’t want to go back to sort of just doing a version of Hugh Grant. I needed to find a very specific guy to be, not just ‘dreamboat.'”