Hugh Grant interview: ‘The Undoing’
***MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE ARTICLE AND VIDEO FOR THIS HBO SERIES***
“I probably wouldn’t have done it had I not been the ultimate killer,” Hugh Grant quips about taking on the role of a respected pediatric oncologist and devoted husband and father, who we discover is also a malignant narcissist and ultimately, a violent murderer.
“Had I not been the killer, I would have just been the husband who let himself down, shagged the wrong woman and then spent five episodes apologizing,” Grant declares in his trademark matter-of-fact demeanor. “That would have been considerably less interesting. But to be a cold-blooded narcissistic sociopathic killer, beautifully disguised … it was going to be fun!” Watch the exclusive video interview with Grant above.
“The Undoing,” is a six-part HBO limited series created by TV writer/producer David E. Kelley (“L.A. Law,” “Picket Fences,” “The Practice,” “Ally McBeal,” “Big Little Lies”) and directed by Danish auteur Susanne Bier (“The Night Manager”). Based on the book “You Should Have Known” by Jean Hanff Korelitz, the series follows Grace Sachs (Nicole Kidman), who lives a picture-perfect life in New York City as a successful therapist, married to esteemed doctor Jonathan (Grant), raising their son Henry (Noah Jupe). Their lives painfully unravel after a mysterious woman is brutally murdered, Jonathan goes missing and it is later revealed that the victim was Jonathan’s mistress. As a series of shocking revelations rock Grace’s world and the family endure a painful trial, she is forced to start over with her son while questioning whether she truly ever knew the man she married.
The shocking series finale concluded with the reveal that Jonathan was not only guilty of violently bludgeoning his mistress to death, but that he was really a depraved sociopath hiding in plain sight as an upstanding family man. For Grant, it was key to keep the audience guessing until the big reveal.
“I realized half way through that it would be unconvincing in any moment where I would be saying ‘it wasn’t me’ or ‘I love you Grace’ or ‘I love you Henry,'” Grant explains, noting that because there would be so many plot points throughout the series pointing to his guilt, it was important that he did not show any sign of anxiety, guilt or remorse.
“I had to, by necessity, play Jonathan as an incredibly extreme and incredibly adept sociopath who could cover anything and his veneer never cracked and who actually like a lot of narcissistic sociopaths believed his own lies. When he says ‘I didn’t do it,'” Grant gasps in the same desperate pleading that his character would often exhibit throughout the series, “he really believes he didn’t do it and has almost convinced himself that he can’t have committed a ghastly murder and have his whole life fall apart. It doesn’t happen to someone as great as him.”