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Trash Talker?

Between his roles in mostly romantic comedies, the witty, urbane British actor Hugh Grant loves a testy game of golf.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Hugh Grant, November/December 2009

(continued from page 4)

Rather, the attention-hogging scene-stealer in question is a massive, trained Kodiak bear named Bart, with whom Grant and Parker share a scene in the new romantic comedy.

"Oh, he was very queenie," Grant says of Bart, feigning shock at another actor's bad behavior. "He had to have endless cans of iced tea before he'd go on. When he did something right, his trainer had to give him a frying pan full of whipped cream and the crew had to applaud. Then the keeper would come and wrestle him. I got quite jealous at that and so I'd make Marc do that with me after particularly tough scenes."

In Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Grant and Parker play a pair of almost-divorced New Yorkers who jointly witness a murder. The upscale city-dwellers are then whisked into the witness-protection program together and hidden by the government in Wyoming (actually, New Mexico, doubling for the Cowboy State). During one wilderness adventure, these fish out of water are menaced by a large wild animal played by Bart the bear.

Says co-star Parker, "Hugh got much closer to it than I would have in a million years. The bear could have touched him. I was a nice distance away."

"We were both joking that this might be the day that Bart loses it," Lawrence says. "Ultimately, it is still a bear. The only question anyone wanted to ask the trainer was, 'Well, what if he does decide to flip out?' And the answer they kept giving was, 'Oh, he won't.'"

Says Grant, "By the end of the day, I realized the bear was a total pussy. But I was very brave."

The Hugh Grant wit: It's dry, it's sharp-edged and it's often self-deprecating. Such as his riff on his discovery of American country-western music, which he fell in love with while on location in New Mexico.

"I have famously poor taste in music," he says. "My iPod plays strange things like British military bands, football songs and Mozart. Actors run screaming from the makeup room when my music is on."

Then there were the costumes: His character dresses like a Wyoming local, with lots of jeans, cowboy boots and flannel shirts.

"I like the way they dress," he says. "In real life, it's such a nightmare to know what to wear. But they've got their boots, their jeans, their plaid shirts—it's fantastic, and easy. There's an old-fashioned elegance to it. There are a couple of scenes where I dressed that way and I thought, I look quite sexy like this. But having seen the film now, I'm here to tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth. I'm quite shocked by the way I look in films. When I see myself on-screen, I see a withered old lesbian."

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