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The Graham Norton Show

BBC One and BBC Two chat show hosted by Graham Norton. 433 episodes (28 series), 2007 - 2021. Stars Graham Norton.

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Series 16, Episode 2 - Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Luke Evans, Lenny Kravitz

Together on Graham's sofa this week: floppy-haired heart-throb Hugh Grant, starring in rom-com The Rewrite; Oscar-winning actress and writer Emma Thompson, talking about her new Peter Rabbit book; rising star Luke Evans, currently starring in Dracula Untold; and music from Lenny Kravitz, who performs Strut.

Further details

In this week's show, Graham welcomes award-winning actors Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson, rising movie star Luke Evans, and music legend Lenny Kravitz.

Hugh, talking about his latest movie, The Rewrite, which he describes as "Grown up, intelligent and heart-warming," says, "It's more than just a rom-com. I almost never make films any more and it took a good script to get me off my arse." Emma jokingly interjects, "Did they offer you a lot of money? Sometimes that is why we work of course," to which Hugh jokes, "Not me love, I do it for the love of acting!"

Talking about the subject matter of the film and recalling a horrible LA executive meeting, Hugh says, "It was my very first encounter in Hollywood before I had any success. I was out there auditioning for a film and I had a one to one meeting with this very distinguished producer-director who wanted to hear me reading. I got about half way through the first page and he said, 'Oh my God, oh my God,' and then was sicker than any man I've ever seen, it was like a cat being sick - real projectile vomiting. I thought it was my acting but it turned out to be Mexican food! I got the job!"

Revealing he may not have been the first choice for the lead in Four Weddings And A Funeral, and dispelling the myth that the role was written for him, Hugh says, "I had to audition and in fact I was very much unwanted. Richard Curtis did everything in his power to stop me getting the part after the audition. I remember it was a very traumatic audition. It was in the Jim Henson studio for some reason and in front of the writer, director, producer and 50 full size Muppets, which was unsettling. I read the speech I had made at my brother's wedding, which I thought would charm them but I think it slightly sickened them. I think they wanted someone rather more middle of the road and thought I was too hoity-toity posh. But I got the part in the end because I don't think they could find anyone else!"

Emma and Luke reveal they have inadvertently worked together before "We were both at Shepperton studios where I was filming Nanny McPhee," recalls Emma, "And I was on the set of The Clash of the Titans during a break, chatting to Liam Neeson." Luke picks up the story, "So we were all there on 'Mount Olympus' with Liam as Zeus and me in my golden armour and all of a sudden we heard the tapping of a walking stick and we looked to the end of the set and on walks Nanny McPhee, she trots across the globe, up the steps and sits on Liam's lap and says, 'I think you have been a very naughty boy!'"

Emma continues, "When the cameras started rolling I said, 'Hadn't I better go?' And Liam was like, 'No, no, no it's fine, Ralph (Fiennes) is just coming up here and he's gonna say a couple of things, the camera won't be on me so just stay where you are.' And I said, 'No I don't think it is fine actually, he has to act and he can't be acting with Zeus and Nanny McPhee together, so I hid behind the throne and I am in that shot in that film!"

Revealing she only agreed to write her latest Peter Rabbit book because the "very clever publisher" wrote to her as Peter, she says, "I had a slightly mad moment when I thought maybe, just maybe Peter really did write to me so I had to do it," modestly adding, "I just scrape on to the edge of Beatrix Potter's greatness." Asked if there will be more books, she says, "I am stepping away for a little while, but you never know, Peter's quite demanding."

Asked about her famous photo bombing on the red carpet she says, "It's not my natural habitat and after so many you would do anything for a laugh by then," before demonstrating her bonkers technique with a smouldering Luke.

And, revealing just how far she takes her zany humour, she says, "I was on the set of Saving Mr Banks and we'd had a bit of day of it, a bit of a slog, the 'Sherman Brothers' were a bit depressed so I went outside, took off my bra and stuck Mickey Mouse stickers to my breasts and then went back in and showed them!"

Luke, talking about auditioning for Dracula Untold, says, "I had the meeting on Skype, it's a very 21st Century way of getting a job and I have fangs, naturally enhanced canines, and they are quite large, so during the meeting I kept laughing and exposing my teeth in an exaggerated Dracula-like way while talking. On the first day when I met them all I expected them to bring it up but they hadn't even noticed I had them!"

Asked if there will be more Dracula films, he says, "He could come back, he can't die, so who knows."

Revealing his long stint in Miss Saigon didn't always go to plan he says, "I had done it for a year and my brain went to mush. After about six months my brain went on to autopilot and it was quite terrifying. One evening I completely glazed over and was briefly thinking about where I was taking my family to dinner later that evening and I just made up the words - it was gibberish. When I met up with my mother later I said, 'I had a terrible moment, I forgot my words,' and she said, 'Oh, I thought you were speaking Vietnamese!'"

Lenny performs Strut live in the studio, before joining Graham for a chat.

Asked if it's hard keeping in great shape at his age, he says, "I have good genes and a lot of discipline. I'm trying to go for the next 50."

Talking about his heavy workload while filming The Hunger Games and recording his latest album, he says, "I stayed awake for two weeks. It was a choice of letting the album go or not sleeping."

Revealing he now has a new, younger audience for his music since his appearance in the cult movie, he says, "A lot of them are very young and it's very odd being recognised as 'Sinner'."

Broadcast details

Friday 3rd October 2014
50 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Lenny Kravitz Guest
Hugh Grant Guest
Emma Thompson Guest
Luke Evans Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Steve Smith Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Rina Dayalji Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer


Emma Thompson's photobombing skills

Graham chats to Emma Thompson about her love of photobombing on the red carpet.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Emma Thompson.

Hugh Grant's first Hollywood audition

Hugh Grant tells a story about his first big audition in Hollywood.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Hugh Grant.

Graham Norton and Hugh Grant re-enact rain scene

Graham Norton and Hugh Grant re-enact a scene from Four Weddings And A Funeral.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Hugh Grant.


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