With a strong showing at the precursors and a healthy box office haul, could “Florence Foster Jenkins” sing a high-note at the Oscars? Directed by Stephen Frears, this Paramount Pictures release tells the true story of a New York heiress (Meryl Streep) who dreams of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. Hugh Grant, who co-stars as her supportive husband, and Simon Helberg, who plays her helpful pianist, both sat down with Gold Derby recently to chat about their roles.
Grant received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Comedy/Musical Actor for his performance, and competes in Best Supporting Actor at SAG and BAFTA. He describes his character as, “complicated,” because, “you are not sure for a large part of the film whether he’s a selfish guy hanging out with this very rich woman for his own self advancement and gain or whether he is what he says he is, which is a very loving husband.”
Helberg reaped a surprise Globe nom as Best Supporting Actor for the film. On working with Streep, he admits, “I worked so closely with her for a long time, and there was a point in the beginning where I wanted to tell her how brilliant I think she is… so I finally did. You assume she hears it all the time, but at the same time people are afraid probably.”
Among the below-the-line contenders, we spoke with screenwriter Nicholas Martin, who was drawn to the, “combination of the heartbreak and the hilarity,” in Jenkins’ voice, which inspired him to tell her story.
Click on any of the names below to be taken to the full interview:
Hugh Grant, who plays St. Clair Bayfield
Simon Helberg, who plays Cosme McMoon
Nicholas Martin, screenwriter
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