(London) Richard Curtis might describe what he does as writing about himself and his friends, but Hugh Grant brings it to a point.
"In two films, I've acted as Richard Curtis's alter ego ('Four Weddings and a Funeral' and 'Notting Hill')," says Grant. "I think I've become very like Richard, but in 'Bridget Jones,' that character is extremely unlike Richard. And in 'Love Actually,' there's an element of Richard, but it's not that kind of at least I hope it isn't the way I performed it an extremely kind of nice, loving, quite passive character that I was in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral.'"
Both went to Oxford and have roots in sketch comedy, giving Grant the ready knowledge needed to perform Curtis' brand of romantic comedy.
"We come from quite similar backgrounds," says Grant. "With the kind of comedy he writes, I know what he's up to. It's of the same kind of ilk, the university British stuff. I did sketch comedy in my early days as an actor and he came from sketch comedy at Oxford a few generations before, so I knew what he was up to and I was able to do it. And it changed my life, really."
With a reputation for being "very conscientious about the words the come out of his mouth," per Working Title Films co-chair Eric Fellner, Grant has a strong appreciation of Curtis' talents.
"If you read as many bad scripts as I did, you'd know how grateful you are when you come across one where the guy actually is funny," he says. "It's sort of one in 500. When it comes to light comedy, there's virtually no one in the world who can write well, and he can I mean, the jokes are funny. He's got great heart. That's what's unique to him.
"It's a part I always have the most trouble with, playing the part, because I don't have great heart. I have a sad shrivelled, thing.
"It's a unique thing how much he actually likes people. He's actually quote positive. He likes the world and believes in love and all kinds of weird things like that; hence the film, 'Love Actually.' So, that's his beat."
Sharon Knolle and Liza Foreman