Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Lainey Posted by Lainey at May 12, 2011 13:32:00 May 12, 2011 13:32:00

Written by Duana

I really get prickly when people talk about ‘movie actors’ vs. ‘TV actors’. You can disagree with me and that’s fine. But consider this - how can it be considered more skillful to present a character in 90 minutes, supported by lots of sweeping vistas or explosions or fill-in-your-trope-of-choice, when they might have to maintain said character over 22 half-hours or hours – multiplied by several years?

So let’s give the most praise to Charlie Sheen that anyone will allow, and say that the lead of a super-successful sitcom is probably working long hours. Whether or not you think it’s a difficult or challenging job, it’s probably a 14 hour workday 5 days a week for 8 months, plus a month, including weekends, of press.

It’s a long haul.

So the news that Hugh Grant was in, thought about it, got really close, and got back out again doesn’t surprise me all that much.

A movie is a fast-paced, balls-out 12 week endeavor. (Sometimes 10 weeks, sometimes sixteen. You get the idea.) It comes, it goes. So it was good or it was bad, it’s over, it’s behind you. By the time it comes out, you’re onto the next project.

But a show – a show is a job. It’s as unglam as you can get. There are all kinds of people that maybe you like or maybe you don’t, but the pace is too fast and the stakes for ratings are too great to change anything or fix problems or do anything but put your head down and keep going.

Unlike films, actors in TV spend precious little time lounging in their trailers waiting for the set to be ready – many people work very hard to make sure that that very expensive actor is not waiting around being ‘wasted’ for more than five minutes, ever.

To really cry about celebrity problems (warning – may induce nausea), yes you’re making $1 million a week – but you’re working too long to actually spend it.

(Yeah, I know. You can roll your eyes all the way out of their sockets now).

In short, though it is an extremely lucrative job, it is a long grueling one. Still, lots of people would jump at the chance, right? To star in an incredibly successful show to know where your money is coming from for the next three years -

But what do we know about Hugh Grant? He’s grown too old to be adorably foppish. He never got around to putting a ring on Elizabeth Hurley. He doesn’t care about working that much. (I know the word is he’s not getting offered parts, but if he were starving, there would be all kinds of roles he’d be bound to take) So, in short, he’s a commitment-phobe. He was terrified at the amount of permanence this kind of a high-profile grind-it-out role would require.

So he walked away from the money, which is variously reported to be $1m an episode (or not).

Which is, in a way, kind of respectable. No?

As for the fate of the show – it’s a completely new show no matter who they build it around. So if they’re ever going to make it happen, with James Marsden or whomever they find (purely speculation) they need to have all the other parts that make the show firmly in place. If I’m Jon Cryer, I sit back, relax, let them sort through and find whoever they can land on - and then renegotiate with the ferocity of a Tiger Mother.

File photo from

Tags: Hugh Grant
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