Hugh Grant explains the ‘big fuss’ he made before signing on to ‘The Undoing’

Hugh Grant in HBO's "The Undoing."
Hugh Grant’s chilling performance in “The Undoing” left viewers stunned.
(Christopher L Proctor / For The Times)

Hello! I’m Yvonne Villarreal and welcome to another edition of the companion newsletter to “The Envelope: The Podcast,” where my cohost, Mark Olsen, and I are bringing you highlights from each week’s episode throughout awards season.

Most news from last week got buried, understandably, by the insurrection at the Capitol. So you might have missed the announcement that the 63rd Grammy Awards, which was scheduled to take place Jan. 31 in Los Angeles, has been postponed because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19. The ceremony will now take place March 14.

Another shift to the awards season calendar as the pandemic rages, the date change also put the Grammys in direct conflict with the SAG Awards — a move over which SAG-AFTRA said it was “extremely disappointed.” On Wednesday, the SAG Awards ceremony, which is typically held in January and televised on TBS and TNT, was moved to a new date, April 4.


Who can even keep track of time or dates anymore in this ongoing Groundhog Day we’re living? As Glenn Whipp noted in his post on the double booking, the March 14 date also coincides with the NCAA basketball tournament’s Selection Sunday. And that matters because CBS airs both the tournament and the Grammys. (Hear Glenn talk about the challenges of enjoying film and TV at a fraught moment for the country — and his hopes to do so fully again one day soon — in this week’s awards minute.)

At this point, it’s probably best to start penciling everything in between all the doomscrolling.

Hugh Grant, Noma Dumezweni and Nicole Kidman in a scene from HBO's "The Undoing."
Hugh Grant plays an accused murderer in HBO’s “The Undoing.”

Hugh Grant, our guest on this week’s episode of “The Envelope” podcast, left viewers stunned last fall with his performance as an accused murderer in HBO’s whodunit psychological thriller “The Undoing.” After leaning into darker territory with roles in “An English Scandal,” “The Gentleman,” and, yes, “Paddington 2,” the actor who has made a career of playing charming characters in your favorite rom-com managed to deliver quite the epic Mr. Wrong performance.

In the six-part series, which also stars Nicole Kidman, Grant plays Jonathan Fraser, the unfaithful and charmingly roguish pediatric oncologist who is suspected of killing the mother of a student who attends the same elite private school as his son.

If you haven’t seen the series yet, but plan to, we won’t spoil the ending for you here. (Fair warning: All bets are off on the podcast itself!) But it’s safe to say the series, which is based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s suspenseful 2014 novel “You Should Have Known,” left viewers guessing in the lead-up to its finale. Grant knows the feeling. He wanted to know the ending before signing on to the project.

“It was an amazing offer, on paper,” Grant said. “I knew I was going to do it, but I like to make a big fuss first. And in a way, it was legitimate because they only had one script. And I needed to know how it ended. In particular, I needed to know, ‘Am I guilty or not?’”

Thanks for reading/listening/subscribing. We have lots more to come, including conversations with Radha Blank for “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini for “Dead to Me” and Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari.”


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