Hugh Grant (‘A Very English Scandal’) on the ‘absurdity’ and ‘pain’ of politician Jeremy Thorpe [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“The whole nation was loving it,” recalls Hugh Grant of the real-life political intrigue that inspired “A Very English Scandal.” Grant, who was a teenager at the time the events were unfolding in 1979, remembers it being a “fabulous comedy-drama unfolding in front of us. It had this brilliant sort of ‘Monty Python’ aspect to it because it was really about the absurdity of the British establishment.” Powerful men “ran the country, and if they got into trouble, they backed each other up and hushed up their scandals.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Grant above or listen to the audio version below.

The Amazon limited series recounts the shocking true story of British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe (Grant), who was accused of a conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover, Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw). It was directed by Stephen Frears, who previously collaborated with Grant on “Florence Foster Jenkins” (2016), and it was written by Russell T. Davies (“Doctor Who”). In adapting John Preston‘s nonfiction book, everyone involved wanted to preserve the “delicate” tone, which recounts the events accurately but “with an eye for the absurd elements of it.”

Thorpe was a man who “seemed to have it all, but because of the social mores and restrictions of the day, he couldn’t admit that his true sexuality was that he was gay.” When Norman refused to go away after their love affair ended, Thorpe thought killing him “was the only way to preserve his career and his family.” In playing the character, Grant considered his interior life and saw a lot of “pain,” particularly in “being unable to express his sexuality” and “in being a narcissist, because he certainly was that too, like so many politicians.”

SEE BAFTA TV nominations: Full list of nominees

Grant has already earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Critics’ Choice nominations for “A Very English Scandal.” He was nominated for those four awards for “Florence Foster Jenkins” too. Additionally, he won the Globe and BAFTA for “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994) and contended twice more at the Globes for “Notting Hill” (1999) and “About a Boy” (2002). He also picked up a SAG Award nom as a member of the ensemble cast of “Sense and Sensibility” (1995). His role in “Paddington 2” (2017), which also starred Whishaw, brought him a BAFTA bid as Best Supporting Actor.

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