Hugh Grant Admits He Should Never Have Made One Swashbuckling Movie

Hugh Grant thinks he shouldn't have made the movie The Lady and the Highwayman.

By Jessica Scott | Updated

hugh grant

Hugh Grant just appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Along with his Dungeons and Dragons co-star Chris Pine, he played a game of “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts,” during which he was pressed to either divulge a film he would like to erase from his resume or eat a piece of worm-filled shepherd’s pie. As one would expect, he chose to reveal which film he would like to un-film: The Lady and the Highwayman.

“I’m a highway man. I’m meant to be sexy,” Hugh Grant said, after making sure that everyone knew that he would never want to diminish his co-stars’ performances… even if he himself has “specialized in being bad for decades.” But instead of sexy, Grant felt that the low budget of the film really showed and that in his bad hat and wig, he looked like “Deputy Dawg,” a cartoon character from the 1960s.

Hugh Grant also made fun of his own voice in the movie, saying that “When I’m tense, my voice goes up two octaves.” Which, as one could imagine, didn’t really help to make his supposedly dashing lead character any more debonair. 

For those who (understandably) may not have heard about The Lady and the Highwayman before this article, it is a British made-for-television movie about a young woman named Lady Panthea Vyne (Lysette Anthony), who falls in love with a handsome highwayman played by Hugh Grant. He saves her from her abusive husband, whom he kills in a fair duel. But that is not the end of Lady Vyne’s troubles. She later attends the royal court and gets on the wrong side of the king’s ex-mistress and things only get worse from there.

Hugh Grant’s least favorite movie is a “swashbuckling tale” based on a novel called Cupid Rides Pillion by Barbara Cartland that has a bit of everything: romance, jealousy, 1660s court intrigue, and even murder. Unfortunately, a low budget made the movie much less impressive than it could have been. 

The film first aired in 1988, but reviewers on IMDb note that the “feel” of the movie was more like a 1930s film like Robin Hood or Zorro, not an eighties film made about the 1660s. One reviewer was quick to point out, though, that Hugh Grant shouldn’t feel too bad about this film being a flop: it isn’t supposed to be “great theatre.” It is, instead, supposed to be a fun, cheesy adaptation of a “bodice-ripper” romance novel into movie form. 

With that in mind, maybe Hugh Grant could reconsider his wish to eliminate it from his resume, as people really enjoy seeing his early work – and having a laugh while doing so. It may not be the best movie from an artistic (or lighting, or acting…) standpoint, but it is a fun, funny piece of the past that shows how much Hugh Grant has grown as an actor of the years. He didn’t just burst onto the scene making smash-hits like Love Actually and Notting Hill! He had to pay his dues in some regrettable roles just like all the rest of the greats.