Hugh Grant almost played the lead role in Black Mirror‘s shocking first episode The National Anthem, the actor has revealed.
The darkly comedic drama from Charlie Brooker sees a fictional member of the British royal family get kidnapped, with her captors demanding the Prime Minister has sex with a pig on live television.
The satirical piece explored themes associated with the rise of social media as well as the relationship between political figures and the general public, garnering generally positive reviews upon its initial broadcast.
The Prime Minister is played by Rory Kinnear, also known for playing Bill Tanner in the most recent set of James Bond films, but the role almost went to someone else entirely.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Hugh Grant revealed that he was offered the role of the besieged PM, but was unable to take it on due to other commitments.
He said: “I’ve got this feeling I was offered a part in one [Black Mirror] ages ago. Was there one in which the Prime Minister has to have sex with a pig?
“Yeah. I think I was offered a part in that. Maybe I was the Prime Minister. I can’t remember. But I knew I couldn’t do it at the time. I think I was busy doing something else. I was making some film. I really can’t remember. It was a long time ago.”
The news comes shortly after Grant collaborated with Brooker on the Netflix mockumentary Death to 2020, which attempted to be a light-hearted retrospective on the year that was, but was met with a frosty reception from critics.
Grant had previously portrayed a British Prime Minister in the festive romantic comedy Love Actually and, knowing Brooker’s sharp media savvy, this could be one reason why he wanted him in the role.
The actor is coming out of a remarkably strong year for his career, starring in both Guy Ritchie’s gangster comedy The Gentlemen and Sky Atlantic’s popular crime thriller The Undoing.