Could a Notting Hill 2 actually happen? Hugh Grant, the co-star of the original 1999 film, actually spoke to that possibility and his desire to return to the role of William Thacker, and his answer was more than a little surprising.
Hugh Grant, who is now 60 and quite far removed from his rom-com days, was answering questions while he was promoting his HBO series The Undoing when one fan asked him if he would like to star in a romantic comedy again, which led to a tangent about Notting Hill 2. His answer was classic Grant, delivered straight-faced with the tinge of humor Grant is well known for. “I would like to do a sequel to one of my own romantic comedies that shows what happened after those films ended. To really prove the terrible lie they all were, that it was a happy ending. I’d like to do me and Julia and the hideous divorce that’s ensued. With really expensive lawyers, children involved in tug of love, floods of tears. Psychologically scarred forever. I’d love to do that film.”
So, how much of this is Hugh Grant joking and how much of this is Hugh Grant actually telling the truth about a potential Notting Hill 2? Given his movie choices since his last big rom-com hit Love Actually, Grant seems to be more telling the truth than not. Love Actually was not his final foray into the rom-com genre, he followed that with the Bridget Jones series, Music and Lyrics, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, and The Rewrite, but none of these (other than possibly Bridget Jones) hit the rom-com stratosphere like Notting Hill or even Love Actually.
Grant would visit his Love Actually arena one more time with the Christmas short, Red Nose Day Actually, and followed that with One Red Nose and a Wedding. But Grant has made a conscious effort to leave the rom-com in his rearview, which makes the idea of Notting Hill 2 sound pretty unlikely. “I’ve been doing these much more character-y roles recently, and enjoying them, and they seem to work quite well. And I didn’t want to go back to sort of just doing a version of Hugh Grant. I needed to find a very specific guy to be, not just ‘dreamboat.'” Which explains his role in The Undoing. In it, he plays the husband of a therapist (Nicole Kidman) who is about to release her first book and whose life is about to unravel when she finds out her husband may be responsible for some bad things.
Grant was more forthcoming about the potential of Notting Hill 2, albeit in true self-deprecating form, to The Hollywood Reporter when he explained why he felt it was time to move on from his status as a rom-com lead, “I’ve gotten too old and ugly and fat to do them anymore, so now I’ve done other things and I’ve got marginally less self-hatred.” Sounds a little similar to why Matthew McConaughey decided to leave the genre.
For a time, Hugh Grant was “it” when it came to the romantic comedy. He came to rom-com fame with Four Weddings and a Funeral, then followed that with Nine Months, a little Sense and Sensibility (which leaned more toward the romance), and then his big one, Notting Hill. That movie, in which Grant starred with box-office babe Julia Roberts, has been heralded by many as one of the greatest rom-coms that has come out of Hollywood. Now, Grant wants to tear it all down in Notting Hill 2.
Before this hypothetical Notting Hill 2 would ever happen, there was the original film. It told the story of an unfortunate travel bookstore owner, William Thacker, who lives in a flat across from his store with an even more hapless flatmate. One day, while languishing in his extremely boring life, Ana Scott (Roberts) walks in to purchase a book. Ana Scott is a superstar American actress, one whom Thacker immediately recognizes and in a poor attempt, tries to have a simple conversation with her. It doesn’t go well.
A short time later, Thacker literally runs into Scott on the street, causing him to spill his orange juice all over Scott. He offers to help clean her up by taking her to his flat. This time the conversation goes much better, ending with an extremely unexpected kiss. From there, the romance builds. One that Scott needs to keep quiet as she has a boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) with whom she wants to leave.
A roller coaster relationship follows, with Thacker finally making the tough decision to walk away from it. Of course, a rom-com can’t be a rom-com unless the couple somehow finds their way back together, which these two mismatched lovers do. It’s a nice ending to a fun tale that shows the couple together with Scott pregnant. You may now be asking yourself, why did this author just describe the entire movie? Well, it was necessary based on how Hugh Grant visualizes the sequel and how he’d love to see the rom-com sequel prove that all rom-coms are lies.
Although, perhaps we shouldn’t take Grant serious with his Notting Hill 2 idea. Sometimes happy endings should be left happy.