Hugh Grant, Marc Lawrence discuss “The Rewrite”

By Jordan Scott

hughmartin
via Jordan Scott

 

Actors Hugh Grant (“Love Actually”), Chris Elliott (“Groundhog Day”), and director Marc Lawrence (“Miss Congeniality”) sat down for a press conference to discuss their new comedy, “The Rewrite.” The film is not the typical Hugh Grant rom-com. Rather, it focuses on the love story between a has-been screenwriter turned professor and his students, who share a love for film. Feel-good in its truest form, the viewer will leave the theater feeling as though with a bit of elbow grease and determination, anything is possible.

WSN: What was it like working with and writing for this technology-obsessed, Hollywood-obsessed generation? And also, this wasn’t your (to Hugh Grant) normal love story with a big kiss at the end.

Marc Lawrence: We kissed at the end (gesturing to Hugh). For me, it’s watching my kids. I find that my son (who also wrote the score) and his friends at school say stuff like “I’m totally down with that.” “Word” has made a resurgence. Like “I’ll see you later.” “Word.” There’s a lot of that.

Hugh Grant: Makes no sense.

Chris Elliott: You’re just saying “word.” Wasn’t it “word up”?

ML: It might’ve been, but now it’s just, “see you later – word.”

HG: Might as well say bird. I sometimes wonder if one could anymore make a romantic comedy because, the people under 25 or 30 don’t talk much. How would you do it? Every shot would be a close-up of the phone.

Q: Marisa Tomei has a lot of odd jobs in this film. Was there any point in your career that you had to take on some weird jobs to survive?

HG: I cleaned a lot of lavatories. And I was rather good at it. But I did hate it. I remember I was cleaning lavatories at IBM in London and I was on my way to work one day and I thought, “I really can’t stand this another day, I wish the place would just burn down.” And as I turned the corner, it was burning down. And I didn’t know I had that power. I’ve tried not to use it too much since. I was a very good waiter in a gay restaurant on Kings Road. I got lots of tips and was very flirty.

Q: What do you think of this idea of re-writing your life?

ML: I think focus and hard work will do something. You need a certain wattage on the light bulb in order for it to shine, but then I think that Marisa’s argument in the movie that it’s about focus and hard work and all those things…“99% perspiration, 1% inspiration,” I think there’s probably something to that.

CE: I’ve always wanted to paint but I couldn’t start right now and be a painter. I don’t think I could actually commit to a lifetime of doing that. At least not at my age. I think age does have a little something to do with it. And how tired you are. Of breathing.

HG: I had a crazy art teacher at school who thought that art died in the year 1900. He absolutely swore that he could teach anyone in the world to draw perfectly. And I think there’s something in that. Because the flipside of his argument is maybe we all rely too much on the inspiration. Actually, unbelievable hard work and application in learning a trade, the equivalent of the ballet mistress whipping the feet of the student — actually does produce beauty in the end. And it’s very unfashionable.

CE: And the whipping is fun, too.

Jordan Scott is a contributing writer. Email her at film@nyunews.com.

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