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INT: Grant/Barrymore

02.14.2007

How can I not be thrilled and overjoyed at the prospect of meeting one of my all time favorite comedic actors? You bet Hugh Grant met my every expectation! I sat there like a little excited schoolgirl mesmerized by this ever so charming and handsome Brit, melting at every syllable being elicited from his mouth. What can I say, I have a weakness for British accents. Acclaimed veterans of romantic comedies, Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore are fittingly cast as a washed up 80's pop musician and a quirky girl with a gift for rhyming in the upcoming endearing comedy, MUSIC AND LYRICS.

Although an unusual match, Grant and Barrymore spark up lots of funny dialogue and generate continuous laughter with incredibly hilarious scenes in this film about a charismatic 80's pop star living in the shadows of his old fame and performing for his nostalgic audiences. I had the greatest pleasure in meeting these lovely stars as they sat down with us to discuss their takes and experiences on making their film. Wearing a baby blue shirt complimenting his eyes, Grant's irresistible sense of humor made him that much more lovable in person. Drew Barrymore was as giddy, cheerful and adorable as I anticipated. Completely grounded, she is the antithesis of the stereotypical Hollywood actress consumed with herself.

See what these incredible actors had to say about their latest romantic comedy, MUSIC AND LYRICS, appropriately hitting theaters on Valentine's Day.

Hugh Grant Drew Barrymore

I heard you apologized for being the grumpiest man in show business. Is that true?

Hugh Grant (HG): I apologize to everyone for that.

Who is the pop star you are modeling yourself after in this performance?

HG: I really don't have one. I did watched a lot of Wham tapes. It wasn't easy. The thing is I loved many aspects of this project but the thing I dreaded was the music. I'm not a musical person. Well I'm frankly miscast in this whole film and so it was very, very tough for me to have to get up there. I love to play the piano a bit, I love to sing a bit, or rather the computer will put you in tune. But the dancing there's no hiding, or there's sort of delivering a song on stage by yourself is torture rather. The only time I've seriously used alcohol and drugs were in acting (laughing).

Drew Barrymore (DB): You did a great job at it (laughing).

It was quite surprising how good you were at singing those songs.

HG: I worked like a dog to get better but I have to be honest, it is really the computer. The computer is unbelievable. You can bring in a dog and get it to bark. By the time they are finished with it, it sounds like Aretha Franklin.

What about doing your own choreography?

HG: Yeah that was tougher. That was very, very, very difficult. People kept saying "Just express yourself." I've got no self to express to be honest. I've got no movement or joy or life in me.

DB: I will say this though - there's quite a but of singing in the movie that has nothing to do with the computer where you're singing a cappella - in the piano store, in the apartment, in the bakery where he sings 'I've Got Sunshine' - all that has nothing to do with computers. It sounds pretty damn good and that's all you baby (speaking to Grant).

HG: Well, I got better. What happens is [that] it boosts your confidence after a bit. It's a bit like singing in a bar. You have that lovely echo. It makes you using better. And after you spend some days in the recording studio and they play things back to you, they sound unbelievable.

Would any of you think about bringing this film to Broadway and consider a future on live stage?

DB: Not for me because I don't think that I have any musical talent. But it was certainly fun to do this film because I think I love romantic comedies that are set in a world - that it's not just a boy and a girl falling in love and out of love and back in love whether it's in the Boston Red Sox or a girl loses her memory in Hawaii. You know, in the 80's like in the Wedding Singer, two songwriters, I like it set in a world and so I love this world that Marc Lawrence obviously created and that's close to his heart. I was excited about that.

HG: I hate the theatre. You couldn't get me to do it. I wouldn't even go watch a play.

So what does this say about show business? This is a guy that was on top of the world and ended up performing at Adventureland which is very far from what he did 20 years ago. Is show business one big slide from a peak to humiliation?

DB: But I also think that the film shows that there's always second chances out there too. I mean that's a huge part of it you know and I think it has to be earned. I mean he has to go out and work and write and create something in order to come back and that's a big part of the story. But if anything that this town shows is that he can crash and burn at a 180 miles an hour and the statue of limitations and hopefully somebody's talent, they can absolutely come right back again. I think this is a very sort of flexible world that way.

Who would you like to see make a comeback from the 80's pop world?

DB: I don't know. Most of them are still out there working today. Honestly there are a lot of bands I love but I can't think of anyone in particular 'cause then that would hurt that person's feelings thinking that they're gone.

HG: Yeah very often in these interviews people say to me "So is this a sort of comeback for you?"

DB: This crazy woman came up to me the other day and she was literally psychotic and she was like "You need to go back to work." I was like that's funny, I was thinking I need a freakin' vacation!

Hugh, what was it like for you to sing in front of a big audience in the arena? Was that nerve wracking for you? How did you build up to it and did you shoot it first?

HG: It was relatively late in the shoot and it was very frightening. There were a lot of extras in that but a lot of then were put in by CGI, but some of them were in flesh and blood. It was scary but normally what happens is that you recorded it beforehand and then they play it on playback on speakers and you mime to it. That's the normal procedure for shooting. But I got so cocky about singing and said I was so good at this song, so I said forget about the playback, I'll sing live. And then I completely ceased up with terror in front of thousand of extras and sang like I dog and there was a terrible deafening silence at the end of the take and I think that's when we went right back to the old method.

Do you think your character is happy leading this life of a has-been?

HG: Well I think he's interesting. I think it's one of those situations where you think you're comfortable in your little groove. This is okay, this is where I belong and it's fine, and I've got a sense of humor about it. But actually deep down you know you've undersold yourself and you know you could do better. You need someone like Sophie's character (Barrymore) to come along and shake you like a rat, get you out of this and say "you're better than that."

He does repudiate what he's been doing when she says that he should be trying something else?

HG: Yeah, he thinks he only writes dessert but he can in fact write.

Although it's Hugh and Drew together for the first time, it seems like you guys have done this before.

DB: We are both adventure repetitives.

Talk about the good and bad of working together.

DB: There is no bad for me.

HG: Contrary she's got a really tough job the next three days because there's a lot of lying about this. Although she is buoyant, friendly, warm and funny on top of that. I told you this before, I'm a monster in terms of.....I'm not actually physically nasty to anyone but I'm just so worried and neurotic and silent and grinding my teeth with anxiety. It's not easy. It doesn't create a perfect atmosphere for doing this.

Even after all these years of acting?

HG: More and more as the years go by.

You would think that all these years of acting would have made you more comfortable?

HG: No it's the other way around.

If you've thought about leaving this business, what keeps you back?

HG: All it was is that I didn't get back to the projects I had in my head and then after a year and half, two years of not doing very much, I thought I've got to work. Then this thing came up which I thought was genuinely funny. I love Marc's stuff. I think he writes better than anyone I know. It was also quite close to his heart and I thought it has a little warmth because of that. And it wasn't formulaic romantic comedy, it was something more interesting, and I thought 'yeah, I'll do that.'

DB: And I've always wanted to work with Hugh because I loved his movies. He's so funny and contrary to what he says about his intensity, I think it's also about making it as good as it can be. A lot of people I actually admire when they're like 'let's party later but let's get the work done and make it the best it can be.' He's incredibly professional and punctual and thoughtful about everything he does. It's true I am sometimes a little bit more spacey and giddy than he is at the moment but we worked really well together and it was a total dream come true for me 'cause I really love his work.

What was it like working with Haley Bennett and helping her accustomed to the Hollywood?

DB: I thought she really had an innocence about her and a wide-eyeness but I really liked her. I'm a total girl's girl and so I just hung out with her and she was just super fun and cute and excited about everything. She was wearing these tiny little outfits and was sort of [wanting to] skip lunch and I was "No, no eat lunch, it's good. You know, food is a good thing." She was just very sweet and she cares about making it good and I absolutely had the biggest pleasure in working with her because she's really enthusiastic about it. I like people who love what they do and want to make it the best.

And what about your take on life?

DB: I just think optimism is the best and life is too short to be miserable and everyday is a chance for happiness, love, giving, sharing, hopefully a ton of laughter, not taking it too seriously, the things that are too difficult only make you stronger and you got to go through them. So I just think everything is a learning experience and every moment that you have that actually feels good inside of your heart is an absolute blessing and a gift.

I was hoping that we would see your character get a second chance at telling her ex-boyfriend to go to hell.

DB: You know why? Because women love closure.

HG: There is a bit you didn't see in the screening which is now being tagged on at the end of the movie.

DB: Yeah it's a new pop-up video.

HG: So we played a video again and it's a pop-up video with pop ups gradually reveal things about what happens next including the fact that the film of Sally Michaels tanked. It was one of the worst films ever.

DB: So you get closure in a bubble.

Did you train for your fight scenes in the movie?

HG: No, I don't need to. I bring a natural menace to the screen (laughs).

Being romantic-comedy veterans now, how do you think these perfect story book tales affect people's views in their real lives?

DB: People should be full of romance and poetry and chivalry. No, life is not necessarily a fairy tale but it also is. Fairy tales have a lot of darkness in them and love stories have their 'it's not going to work' moment just like we have in real life all the time but I think it's nice to stay sort of striving for the ultimate romance. What are we supposed to do, throw in the towel? 'Yeah, life sucks, I'm never going to lift a finger for my lover and you're just going to screw me over anyway so screw you.'

HG: That's my philosophy (laughing).

Life can be a movie sometimes.

DB: Yeah, but there are all these different types of movies out there. If life is like a movie, there's comedy and there's tragedy and that's what life is. It's a bit of both so thank God when you have the comedy.

What are you two planning on doing next?

HG: You'll be glad to know I'll be going back into [retirement]. Well there's nothing I particularly want to do and it did take me 2 or 3 years to summon up the energy to do this one. I'm just so neutral about it. If something comes up, it comes up but I've never been one burning to act on it 'cause it's my life (laughs).

DB: I'm in like five things in development right now and whichever one comes up first to the best of its ability as it's being written up but I will try and enjoy my time off now, 'cause I'm such a workaholic. I'm always thinking about work so I'm trying to think about other things for a minute.

Drew, you've been in a lot of great movies in the past including Ever After...

DB: Thank you. I'm glad you bring that movie up because that's a very positive message, that movie. I relate more to that movie than any other movie I've done. Rescue yourself.

With all these hits and past accomplishments, do you think it's more difficult to decide what to do next and wonder if you're going to continue doing what people will love?

DB: I don't think you can work from a place of fear and I don't think you can work from a place of what people will expect from me. Because if you live your life trying to please other people, I think you'll have quite a miserable one. So I just keep trying to do what feels right in my heart and to be prolific is an accomplishment in itself and if I get ripped apart by wild animals because I totally screwed up everything royally then I'll deal with that when it comes.

HG: Yes it gets tougher all the time. It's terrible pressure. I'm feeling it right now (laughs).

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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