Title : Drew Barrymore Web
It's an old feminist slogan, and the ultimate cold-water response to romanticism -- "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the king and queen of romantic comedies, Mr. Fish and Miss Bicycle, Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.
Grant's self-deprecation and insouciance has carried films like Four Weddings And Funeral, Notting Hill (both for director Richard Curtis), Love Actually and Bridget Jones' Diary. Barrymore's been the adorable child-woman in 50 First Dates, The Wedding Singer (both with Adam Sandler), Fever Pitch and Never Been Kissed.
Now the two rom-com machines are together again for the first time in the movie Music And Lyrics -- playing a washed-up Wham!-like '80s pop star, and his flaky new lyricist who have to come up with a hit song for a Hilary Duff-esque pop singer (Haley Bennett).
"They're very, very different people, fundamentally different human beings," says Music And Lyrics director Marc Lawrence.
"If you went into their separate trailers on the set, Hugh's was really meticulous and beautiful, there'd be a nice salad in a beautiful bowl and everything in its place. And you'd go into Drew's and it was like Berkeley in '68, dogs and people and clothes all over the place and music playing.
"It was sort of a capsule of who they were. But I think they were both kind of fascinated and amused by each other."
As we talked to them, their respective problematic real-life love lives were off the table. Drew had reportedly just broken up with fiance Fab Moretti of The Strokes.
Hugh is attached to model Jemima Khan, but there's said to be friction in that relationship over the upcoming wedding of Grant's ex Elizabeth Hurley.
Sun: Do you find the whole idea of love-at-first-sight more appealing if you're in a relationship yourself or not in one?
Hugh: (With a grin) First of all, are you in a relationship?
Sun: I'm in, whaddya call it, a marriage... kids, dog...
Hugh: You look brow-beaten, my friend.
Sun: Well, there ya go, but you have been on record as saying you don't believe in love at first sight.
Hugh: Well, I've had mega-crushes at first sight. I've never experienced love at first sight, but I wish I had. Maybe it'll happen today ... Listen it's all bollocks, it's just to make money, actually.
Drew: (To Hugh) You're instilling the idea of love at first sight for women -- and for men -- all over the world. How nice is that? And then you can go off and be a cynical curmudgeon in real life. You get the best of both worlds.
Hugh: Yes, I'm a very lucky man. I'm very grateful.
Drew: (To Hugh, laughing) You have ruined my life pushing this idea that love is a beautiful thing with a happy ending, and the dot-dot-dot of reality never sinks in. But despite myself I do love romantic comedies. I love love stories, I love love in literature and in movies and in music. The idea of love has got to be what gets us out of bed every day.
Sun: Hugh, you were cast first. How did you end up matched with Drew?
Hugh: I sat down with Marc (Lawrence), and we watched every romantic comedy ever made -- especially the recent ones. And we all at the end just said it must be Drew. She's the only girl.
Drew: Ohhh, Hubert!
Hugh: 50 First Dates. I loved that film. There was a terrible moment after the first preview of this film in New Jersey, and Drew and I snuck out of the cinema and hung out at the arcade. And this woman found us and said 'I just wanna say, I don't often see a film more than once. But I have seen 50 First Dates 10 times.' And it was so depressing. We thought she was going to be nice about our film."
Sun: What was your taste in '80s music?
Drew: I was more into alternative. I loved the Sex Pistols and Violent Femmes, Joy Division and New Order and Depeche Mode. But I was also into rubber bracelets and lace, and acting like Madonna and going to Prince concerts and pretending I would marry every member of Duran Duran if only they'd just met me. Life seemed sort of happy in the '80s.
Hugh: Look, I'm a fraud in this film. I've been completely miscast from the musical aspect. I don't own any records apart from Godspell, I don't listen to any music, I don't particularly like the noise. My brother had a bit of ... what was that very naff band? ... Dire Straits! When I lived with him in the '80s, that was always playing. And the Gypsy Kings!
Sun: But you learned piano for this film.
Hugh: The music part was what I dreaded most. But actually it came to be what I enjoyed most. You need new stimuli when you get to be 46 and I genuinely enjoyed playing when I'd get home. I'd play and sing and this weird thing happened where I started to like the sound of my own singing.
Drew: And what a beautiful voice it is.
Sun: Is there a particularly dreadful outtake of you guys singing?
Hugh: If you mean the version before it got tweaked by Protoolst to put us in tune, that's the version I really hope never sees the light of day.
Sun: And the dancing. That's a first.
Hugh: I had these rehearsals with a choreographer, just the two of us in a rehearsal room in New York, and he put the music on and said "Just express yourself." And I'd just stand there. I have no self to express. It was only the sixth session where I started to move a little bit, and even then I'd had a kind of boozy lunch.