the bugger bugged

Hugh Grant Tapes a Tabloid Reporter, Writes About It Hugh Grant–ishly

Over in England, the tabloid News of the World illegally and scandalously bugged the phones of famous people (royal family included). Hugh Grant decided turnabout is fair play, and opted to bug a conversation he had with a former News of the World staffer and write about it for the current edition of The New Statesman. The news here is that the writer Grant spoke with, Paul McMullan, says that his editor-in-chief “absolutely” knew News of the World was illegally hacking people’s phones. The fun part is that Grant’s writing style sounds exactly like one of his rom-com characters.

To wit:

“When I broke down in my midlife crisis car in remotest Kent just before Christmas, a battered white van pulled up on the far carriageway. To help, I thought. But when the driver got out he started taking pictures with a long-lens camera. He came closer to get better shots and I swore at him. Then he offered me a lift the last few miles to my destination. I suspected his motives and swore at him some more. (I’m not entirely sympathetic towards paparazzi.) Then I realised I couldn’t get a taxi and was late. So I had to accept the lift.”

It’s like a movie: Grant, in a spot of trouble, gets flustered, starts adorably cursing, then accepts the offer of help!

Turns out the driver of the car was the tabloid reporter. Grant made a plan to meet up with him a few weeks later so he could record him, but also, we suspect, so he would have an occasion to make a pun on “bugger” that would fit right into Four Weddings and a Funeral (the R-rated version, anyway). Check it out.

“I wanted to hear more about phone-hacking and the whole business of tabloid journalism. It occurred to me just to interview him straight, as he has, after all, been a whistleblower. But then I thought I might possibly get more, and it might be more fun, if I secretly taped him, The bugger bugged, as it were.”

The bugger bugged! Grant’s already basically written the screenplay! Someone get this project into development, stat!

World exclusive: Hugh Grant turns the tables on the phone-hackers [New Statesman]

Hugh Grant Tapes a Tabloid Reporter, Writes About It Hugh Grant–ishly