Hugh Grant on the joy of playing 'Pirates!'

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International  |  April 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM
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NEW YORK, April 30 (UPI) -- British film star Hugh Grant jokes that the stop-motion animators behind his new movie "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" helped him be the actor he has always wanted to be.

"That's the joy of this film," the famously witty and self-deprecating Grant told reporters in New York recently. "Physical comedy, I can't really do that, but I didn't have to. I left it to the animators. They did everything for me. I can't do physical comedy. I can't do stunts. I can't do emotion. They did it all."

The voice cast for the Aardman Animations movie features Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven and David Tennant, but Grant said he didn't work with any of them when he was recording his lines in a studio.

"They have a brilliant all-purpose actor, who reads the other [parts]. Otherwise, it's just Peter Lord standing next to me being extremely critical and difficult," Grant deadpanned to United Press International while sitting next to Lord, the film's director, who laughed at the remark.

Asked what it was like not having the energy of those other actors to feed off of while taping his lines, Grant replied, "Well, this all-purpose actor was so brilliant, actually, if you wanted ping-pong, you got ping-pong.

"People think as actors, it's so important to work off each other, but, in a way, animated films sort of give the lie to that because, on the whole, you just do it by yourself and they stick it together in an editing room," he told UPI.

So, how does the star of "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Sense and Sensibility," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Love Actually" choose his roles these days?

"I've just done jobs when I've found a script to be a) engaging -- I've actually wanted to turn the page without wanting to go and do the hoovering or make a cuppa tea, which is quite rare -- and b) which made me laugh, which is also very rare," he explained. "So, when I came across one of those scripts, I'd do it. No matter what the part was."

Rated PG, "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" opened Friday and grossed an estimated $11.4 million to finish in second place in its first weekend, Box Office Mojo said.

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