Hugh Grant gets animated at premiere of Aardman film The Pirates! in Bristol
HOLLYWOOD superstar Hugh Grant brought Cabot Circus to a standstill when he attended an exclusive charity premiere of the new Aardman film The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists.
Hugh, 51, was in Bristol for nine showings of the 3D adventure at the Cinema de Lux for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal, which raises money for the Children's Hospital.
The dashing actor, who plays The Pirate Captain, chatted and posed for photos with young patients from the hospital before joining Aardman co-founder Peter Lord to introduce the film at each of the screenings.
Hugh, for whom The Pirates! is his animated debut, spoke highly of Aardman and the company's cast and crew, hundreds of whom were invited to the premiere.
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He told the Evening Post: "It is a fantastic honour to be in an Aardman film, a privilege. I have watched their films all my life, loved them and admired them, and I was just worried I would let them down. I love the film – it may be my favourite film I have ever made."
He also spoke of his fondness for the city, saying: "How very nice to be back in Bristol, I don't spend enough time here. I came in the eighties and did a very bad American mini-series for HTV. It is nice to be back and this is a very good event. It is great to be here and to back it up."
Before the first screening he told the audience he wanted to thank the film's crew for making him look – or sound – so good. He said: "In terms of my performance you made me way, way better than I have ever been before. I wish you could animate me in all my performances. To be in an Aardman film is an honour and a privilege."
About 1,500 people, mostly Aardman and Grand Appeal staff and their families, descended on the cinema for the red carpet premiere, many dressed as pirates. The foyer was decked with palm trees and children had their faces painted and wore fancy dress.
Mr Lord said the event was a "big Bristol day". He said: "It is for the crew mostly, and their families and friends. They are so fantastic, and of course the Grand Appeal is very close to our hearts.
"The film is a very big comedy adventure – crazy and absurdist and brave and bold – and I have been working on it for over five years.
"Having Hugh was a huge coup for us. He said so many times he thought the script was uniquely funny, and I chose him because he is a great comic actor. It is bigger than anything we have done before and I just hope it is fun for the children."