The romantic comedy is a sure thing on Valentine's Day
Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore will overcome you with sweetness in Music and Lyrics. The film comes out on Valentines Day for a reason. It's a love-fest with enough syrupy goodness to keep you on a sugar high for a month. I almost went for an insulin shot afterwards. The pair were very nice in the interviews, as always, but Hugh Grant especially was on the charm offensive. He's got the affable British guy spiel down pat. I'd love to see him after a few drinks. On with the love baby...
Did you model your character after any particular 80's pop star?
Hugh Grant: I really don't have one. I did watch a lot of Wham tapes. It wasn't easy. I loved many aspects of this project, but the thing I dreaded was the music. I'm not a musical person. I'm frankly miscast in this whole film, so it was very tough for me to have to get up there. I love to play the piano and sing a bit, but the computer will put you in tune. There's no hiding the dancing.
So you were vocally enhanced for this role?
Hugh Grant: I worked like a dog to get better, but to be honest; it is really the computer. It's 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.
Drew Barrymore: You did a great job. There's quite a bit of singing in the movie that has nothing to do with the computer. You're singing in the piano store, in the apartment, in the bakery, where he sings 'I've Got Sunshine', that has nothing to do with computers. It sounds pretty damn good and that's all you baby.
What about the choreography? Did you find it challenging?
Hugh Grant: That was 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.
Were you nervous singing and dancing in the big arena scene?
Hugh Grant: It was very frightening. There were a lot of extras, then some were put in by CGI, but most of them were flesh and blood. Normally what happens is that you recorded it beforehand, and then they play it on speakers that you mime to. That's the normal procedure for shooting. But I got cocky about singing and said forget about the playback, I'll sing live. Then I completely ceased up with terror in front of thousand of extras and sang like I dog. There was a terrible deafening silence at the end of the take. That's when we went right back to the old method.
Who would you like to see make a comeback from the 80's pop world?
Drew Barrymore: 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. That would hurt that person's feelings thinking that they're gone.
Hugh Grant: Very often in these interviews people say to me, "So is this a sort of comeback for you?" (laughs)
Would you take these characters and music to the live stage, possibly Broadway?
Drew Barrymore: Not me, I don't think that I have any musical talent.
Hugh Grant: I hate the theatre. You couldn't get me to do it. I wouldn't even go watch a play.
So if it isn't the chance to perform, what attracted you to this role?
Drew Barrymore: It was certainly fun to do this film. I love romantic comedies that are set in a world. It's not just a boy and a girl falling in love, out of love, and back in love. Whether it's with the Boston Red Sox, or a girl losing her memory in Hawaii, or in the 80's in The Wedding Singer; I like it set in a world. I loved this world that Marc Lawrence [the writer/director] created. I was excited about that.
So what does this film say about show business? Is it one big slide from a peak to humiliation?
Drew Barrymore: I think that the film shows that there's always second chances out there. I think it has to be earned. He has to go out and work and write and create something in order to come back. That's a big part of the story. This town shows that he can crash and burn, but if somebody's talented; they can absolutely come right back again. I think this is a flexible world that way.
Hugh Grant: 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, but actually deep down you know you've undersold yourself and you know you could do better. You need someone like Sophie [Drew Barrymore] to come along and shake you like a rat, get you out of this and say, "you're better than that."
This is your first film together, but you seem so comfortable with each other on screen. Where there any bad moments where you got sick of each other?
Drew Barrymore: There is no bad for me.
Hugh Grant: I'm not actually physically nasty to anyone, but I'm just so worried and neurotic and silent and grinding my teeth with anxiety. She's got a really tough job the next three days because there's a lot of lying about this. She is buoyant, friendly, warm, and funny on top of that.
You would think that all these years of acting would have made you more comfortable?
Hugh Grant: No, it's the other way around.
Have you ever thought about leaving this business? Why make this film?
Hugh Grant: 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. It wasn't a formulaic romantic comedy. It was something more interesting.
Drew Barrymore: 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. He's incredibly professional, punctual, and thoughtful about everything he does. I am sometimes a little bit more spacey and giddy than he is at the moment, but we worked really well together. It was a total dream come true for me because I really love his work.
What was it like working with Haley Bennett in her first film? She does a great job as Cora Corman?
Drew Barrymore: I thought she really had an innocence about her. I really liked her. I'm a total girl's girl, so I just hung out with her. She was just super fun and cute and excited about everything. She was wearing these tiny little outfits and wanting to skip lunch. I said, "No, eat lunch, it's good. Food is a good thing." She was just very sweet. 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.
What are you two doing next?
Hugh Grant: There's nothing I particularly want to do. It did take me two or three 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.
Drew Barrymore: I'm in like five things in development right now. Whichever one comes up first, but I will try and enjoy my time off now. I'm such a workaholic. I'm always thinking about work so I'm trying to think about other things for a minute.