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May 9th 2002
David Letterman Interviewing Hugh Grant

LETTERMAN: How are you doing?

GRANT: Excellent, thank you, yes.

LETTERMAN: Welcome back to the show.

GRANT: Thanks.

LETTERMAN: Are you excited about the movie?

GRANT: I'm excited. It's already been a big hit in England. Who knows what will happen here, but we had a premiere last night, you know, opened the Tribeca film festival, and people --

LETTERMAN: Well, how did that go? Is this the first time for the Tribeca film festival?

GRANT: Yeah, it's a big thing here, and, you know, organized by my mate, Bobby De Niro...


GRANT: And Jane Rosenthal. And it should be -- you know, the whole idea is to regenerate that lower part of Manhattan. So it's a very... it's a great idea and a great honor that our film opened it. I just had to make an extremely frightening speech yesterday at the opening ceremony. I was on the podium there with Nelson Mandela, Mr. Clinton; President Clinton.


GRANT: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Now what was he doing there?

(Short silence)

GRANT: Well...

LETTERMAN: I'm sorry, I don't... I mean, I understand you and Nelson Mandela…

(Audience laughs)

GRANT: Maybe he's just friends with that lot. Maybe he's friend of Bloomberg, I don't know. Maybe they --

LETTERMAN: Had you met him before? You probably met him before, haven't you?

GRANT: No, I never had actually. I think he met my ex-girlfriend. He certainly asked a lot...

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Well, now... all right, now it's all beginning to make sense.

GRANT: He was asking very kind questions about her, and -- but what a nice lot they are, and I thought mayor Bloomberg was charm itself; very nice.

LETTERMAN: Now do you have a regular relationship with, like, Robert De Niro?

GRANT: Well, the thing is, he -- his company are co-producers of "About a Boy"
So, yes, I know him a bit. He was actually making a film in America while we were shooting in London, but he did come over before we started production in London to just sort of be supportive, and we had a dinner with him at Noby, oddly enough, his restaurant.

LETTERMAN: All right. Now this guy owns, like, restaurants and hotels.

GRANT: Well, that's right. That's right. And what was great about meeting him then, which was the first time I'd ever met him, was that he was so like you hope Robert De Niro is going to be.

LETTERMAN: Oh, is that right?

GRANT: Yeah. I said him at one point during dinner, "So, Bob, what's it like having business interests outside acting?" And he said, "Let me tell you. It's not easy. It's not easy. It's not easy... let me... it's not easy." He must have said it 100 times. And, you know, after a bit, you start to enjoy it. You start to go, "You're saying it's difficult?" "It's not easy." But he's a riot. You know, after that we went out clubbing, me and him, and the two guys who were directing the film. He made us feel like a lightweight.


GRANT: Yeah. We went to bed at 3:00 in the morning and he was still at it.

LETTERMAN: No kidding?

GRANT: Yeah. But he has a very good technique, because he goes to sleep in the car between clubs. Yeah.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: That's pretty good.

GRANT: You say, "That place was pretty hot, don't you think, Bob?"

(Hugh imitates Robert snoring)

LETTERMAN: And what happens when you guys walk into a nightclub or something, or a bar? What is that like? You and Robert De Niro, I mean, my god.

GRANT: Well, it's horrible, actually, because I'm used to getting a little bit of attention. I'm just sort of pushed aside and everyone focuses on him.

(Audience laughs)


GRANT: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: But it is pretty much, you know what I'm saying? You know? It is... you know what I'm saying.

GRANT: Well, the odd thing is that he pulls the 20s and under, and I pull 60s and over. I've always... I've always appealed to the older lady.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Now you mentioned the movie, "About A Boy". And this was written by a guy who also wrote... a a a --

GRANT: "High Fidelity"

LETTERMAN: "High Fidelity" Nick Hornsby is his name?

GRANT: Hornby

LETTERMAN: Hornby... and it's doing very well in Great Britain, number one for a while?

GRANT: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Now does that usually translate? If a film does well over there, is it likely to do well here? Is that how that works?

GRANT: Invariably. Yes. No, it looks like everyone's going to like it. Yeah, I mean, what they call the buzz seems to be very good, so, yeah, we've just got our fingers crossed. And everyone made the right noises at the screening yesterday. There was laughter and quite a lot of tears. We get some tears towards the end, particularly from people of a nervous disposition. People who are on the edge of a nervous breakdown go right over the edge by then. That's good to see.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: But is it... it's about a guy who finds a way... in the beginning he meets women by going to single parent groups.

GRANT: Yes. He's selfish, shallow, lazy, really. Moi. And he develops a fixation with single moms, finds them attractive because... partly because they're so grateful.

(Audience laughs)

And so he... in order to meet more single moms, he enrolls in a single parent support group and pretends he has a kid of his own. And the whole thing is very cynical. But, you know, eventually through this thing he meets this disturbed bullied dysfunctional kid, and their relationship is what's sort of moving about the film.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, and then his life changes.

GRANT: Yeah, he gets more mature, and the boy is sort of helped out of his weirdness.

LETTERMAN: Speaking of more mundane things, I understand you're purchasing a car, some kind of a super car kind a deal.

GRANT: Yes. I didn't really want to, but the little boy...

LETTERMAN: What do you mean you didn't want to?

GRANT: Well, the little boy in the movie, the 11-year-old kid who plays the 11-year-old kid. His name is Nicholas Hoult, he has a name. He -- I made the mistake one day on the set of saying, "I need to get a new car." And he's a car nut, and for the next three months he brought in car mags every day and said, "You have to get this. You have to get this." And so in the end, just to shut him up, I said, "All right, I'll buy it!" and I bought, this is ridiculous...

LETTERMAN: You bought a car from an 11-year-old kid? God almighty! You're easy! What kind did you get?

GRANT: Well, I don't want it. It's, I mean, it's a beautiful car. It's an Aston Martin Vanquish, which is a new Aston.


GRANT: And it's... it's beautiful, but you know, I'm frightened of speed. I don't like to go above 35 miles per hour. I start weeping slightly. And it was... I went for a test drive, actually. They had one... you know, because they hadn't really come out on the production line yet. They just have a prototype. And I went to the factory and they said, "Bruce will take you out for a test drive." And they produced Bruce, who's the most insane looking man you've ever seen in your life. He's got slightly bulging eyes, and a broken demeanor, because he's failed racing driver.

(Audience laughs)

And you get in this thing, and he drives down this little lane outside the factory, and he says, "There's a lot of speed traps around here, so we have to be careful until we get a bit around the corner." And you get around the corner and he goes, "Whoomp" and you just go...

(Hugh imitates the roar of an engine)

And he said, "Not bad, eh?" and I was unable to speak because my body was in the front seat, but my head was lulling on the back.

(Audience laughs)

And we went around country lanes like this for about an hour and at the end, he said, "Do you want to go?" I didn't want to go. I didn't want anything to do but get out of that place as fast as I could. I signed everything they gave me.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. So, have you taken delivery on the monster?

GRANT: No, it arrives in June.

LETTERMAN: Well, good luck, for heaven's sakes.

GRANT: Yeah. Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Now speaking of things like that, you know, we have this superstar skateboarder, Tony Hawk, with us. Did you ever do any of that when you were a kid, or even now, skateboarding? Ever hailed a cab on Broadway?

GRANT: I've done... I can skateboard.


GRANT: Yeah, I saw Tony outside on the way in, and we jammed a few cutbacks out there together.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: You jammed a few cutbacks?

GRANT: Yeah, I showed him a few tricks of my own.

LETTERMAN: Have you ever, as a kid, injured, hurt yourself doing stunts like that, or bicycle accidents, or...?

GRANT: Yeah. No, certainly I had a horrible accident, which I keep meaning to get repaired, because it happened when I was 17, and I'm 41 now. And I still have half of my elbow hanging off. I fell off a bike in Oxford High street, and I just lost the end of my elbow. And it's still there, just under the skin. It's revolting, actually. I'd show you if I didn't think you were squeamish.

LETTERMAN: Jeez, I'm squeamish, but I'm not even sure I know what you're talking about. There's something broke...

GRANT: Well, you know there's a bone right at the end of your elbow.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, I got one right there.

(Audience laughs)

GRANT: Yep, there you go. Imagine that it's just chopped off but it's still hanging there in the skin.

LETTERMAN: Oh, my God!

GRANT: Yeah, it's not very nice. But you know, it doesn't really affect me, except when I arm wrestle, and that's very inconvenient.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, but how do you look in short-sleeve shirts?

GRANT: I look lovely. It's just a little dimple.

LETTERMAN: Have you ever thought about having it... would they take it out or reattach it?

GRANT: I should definitely get it done, but you know, I'm scared of doctors. I don't like any of that stuff.

LETTERMAN: Mm-hmm. Do you want to show folks a little bit of the film?

GRANT: Yes. I'm dying to do that.

(Film clip)

LETTERMAN: Well, it looks very nice. What do you do... when you're in town, what do you do after the show? Do you have plans this evening? Where are you going?

GRANT: I'm free, actually, Dave. No, I'm off to do... I'm still here filming this film with Sandra Bullock, and tonight we... all night -- my god, I can't believe it -- we shoot at Shea stadium. It's a scene based around a baseball match.

(Audience laughs)

What do we say? Game?

LETTERMAN: Game, sure.

GRANT: You say game. Baseball game, and a scene involving Mike Piazza. So we film some of a real match, and then he gets involved as well. But I'm slightly nervous because, as you just discovered, I know absolutely nothing about baseball. And I have to look like as I really care and know about the game and I have to shout stuff like, "That was never a strike!"

LETTERMAN: Well, that's pretty good.

GRANT: Yeah, but what's a strike?

LETTERMAN: It doesn't make any difference. It sounds --


LETTERMAN: I think you said once before you went to a baseball game at Yankee stadium about 20 years ego or something, right?

GRANT: I did. I did. That's the only baseball game I ever saw. That's the one where the guy dislocates his arm.

LETTERMAN: Yeah... stuff like, "Hey! Hey!" a lot of that. A lot of your De Niro buddy, a lot of his stuff.

GRANT: Okay.

LETTERMAN: "Hey, what was that?!" You know stuff like that.

GRANT: That's good. That's good.

LETTERMAN: "What are you looking at?!" That kind of thing.

GRANT: You see that's where it differs from cricket, clearly. “That was awfully good, a good shot.” Okay, so Mike Piazza... filming on him. I mean he's very famous, right?


GRANT: Okay. And is he a batter or bowler?

LETTERMAN: He's a very.

(Dave and the audience laugh)

LETTERMAN: Oh, it doesn't make any difference. It will be fine.

GRANT: All right.

LETTERMAN: The film opens... when did we say? Is it tomorrow... the 17th?

GRANT: No, it's next Friday. We're up against "Star Wars", which I think is a very brave decision of theirs.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: You will be fine. You will be fine. Always a pleasure. Hugh Grant, everyone!

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