Hugh grants Mis­fit a per­fect fit

Bri­tish favourite Hugh Grant never saw him­self as a pi­rate, writes Caris Bizzaca

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

HUGH Grant says he didn’t grow a beard or learn to swash­buckle dur­ing his prepa­ra­tions to voice the Pi­rate Cap­tain char­ac­ter in The Pi­rates! Band of Misfits.

In­stead, he jokes about go­ing a bit more rad­i­cal.

‘‘I went to So­ma­lia and I cap­tured an oil tanker,’’ the Bri­tish ac­tor dead­pans.

‘‘It was nice. I just don’t know what to do with it now.’’

The Love Ac­tu­ally star trav­elled to Australia for the pre­miere of The Pi­rates! Band of Misfits, which marks his first foray into an­i­ma­tion – a world where he quickly learned type­cast­ing doesn’t re­ally ex­ist. Hav­ing be­come known for play­ing fop­pish English­men in ro­man­tic come­dies, Grant says it came as a sur­prise when an­i­ma­tion house Aard­man, which made Chicken Run and Wal­lace & Gromit, asked him to play a clay­ma­tion pi­rate.

‘‘Es­pe­cially when I saw the char­ac­ter they cre­ated, this lit­tle model,’’ he says.

‘‘I thought, ‘well I’m not at all like him. This is a ter­ri­ble piece of cast­ing’. But in the end it was a chal­lenge . . . and I don’t nor­mally chal­lenge my­self to any­thing, but I quite en­joyed try­ing to find the voice to fit him.’’

Grant’s dap­per English ac­cent is not one typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with pi­rates, but he says in this case it works be­cause the guys at Aard­man didn’t want your av­er­age ‘‘Argh me hearties!’’ type voice.

Af­ter all, Grant’s Pi­rate Cap­tain isn’t your av­er­age vil­lain of the high seas. In The Pi­rates! Band of Misfits, the Pi­rate Cap­tain is en­thu­si­as­tic, leads a loyal rag­tag crew and sports a lux­u­ri­ous beard, but he’s a ter­ri­ble plun­derer whose pa­thetic pi­rat­ing means he’s yet to win the Pi­rate of the Year award.

Since it’s a prize given to the pi­rate who steals the most loot, it usu­ally goes to ri­vals Black Bel­lamy (Jeremy Piven) or Cut­lass Liz (Salma Hayek).

Writ­ten by Gideon Defoe, noth­ing ap­pears to be sa­cred as The Pi­rates! Band of Misfits glee­fully pokes fun at ev­ery­thing from Charles Dar­win and the Elephant Man to the Ru­bik’s cube and Queen Vic­to­ria.

‘‘Well, we are a lit­tle harsh on Queen Vic­to­ria, it’s true, but the film is not pre­tend­ing to be his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate,’’ Grant says, asked whether he thinks Queen El­iz­a­beth would ap­prove.

‘‘In fact, it’s prob­a­bly the most his­tor­i­cally in­ac­cu­rate film ever made.’’

Grant says the ‘‘bang-on funny’’ script was one of the rea­sons he jumped on board, but also be­cause it gave him a chance to work with Aard­man di­rec­tors Peter Lord and Jeff Ne­witt. He ad­mits his af­fec­tion for plas­ticine an­i­ma­tion ex­tends back to when he was a child watch­ing a char­ac­ter on TV called Morph, which Lord cre­ated.

Aard­man, renowned for its time­less and unique sense of hu­mour, has al­ways ap­pealed to Grant.

‘‘I like it for be­ing de­ter­minedly and quintessen­tially Bri­tish,’’ he says.

opens to­day.

Pi­rate Cap­tain (voiced by Hugh Grant) and his mot­ley crew (from left) Al­bino Pi­rate (Rus­sel Tovey), Sur­pris­ingly Cur­va­ceous Pi­rate (Ash­ley Jensen), Pi­rate with Scarf (Martin Free­man) and Pi­rate with Gout (Bren­dan Glee­son) in the an­i­mated school hol­i­day romp

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