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James Caan teased Hugh Grant in the cutest way making this rom-com

Hugh Grant went through a huge rise, fall, and rise again regarding fame in the 1990s and part of his comeback was the mafia comedy Mickey Blue Eyes.

James Caan and Hugh Grant

In the 90s, Hugh Grant was one of the biggest stars in the world. He broke through to massive worldwide fame in 1994 with one of the best rom-coms, Four Weddings, and capitalized on this by appearing in an astonishing five 90s movies in 1995 alone. 1995 was also the year that Grant was arrested, so there definitely a boom-and-bust feel to his fame. Grant stepped away from the limelight in 1996-1998, and then came back in 1999 with romance movie Notting Hill – which was an even bigger hit than Four Weddings.

His lesser known 1999 movie was Mickey Blue Eyes, which saw Grant still play British, but this time in an American mafia movie. James Caan plays Grant’s future father-in-law, who gets Grant’s character embroiled in the mob. To put Grant at ease, Caan came up with an affectionate nickname for him on set.

“It was a pretty big undertaking for him. He really felt a lot of pressure. So I’d try to lighten him up sometimes,” Caan told Entertainment Weekly in 1999. “I used to call him Whippy. He worries about things. That’s why I called him that. It’s short for whippet. You know, those little whippet dogs that get nervous and you gotta put a sweater on them when they’re cold.”

Grant produced the crime comedy movie with his girlfriend at the time, Elizabeth Hurley. He also reportedly did rewrites on the script, and directed reshoots – although he denied the latter. “He’d [Grant] send me a fax in the middle of the night. It would be four pages of script with two words changed. I’d say, ‘You can do that in the morning, don’t you think?'” remembers Caan. “I really plagued Jimmy Caan. Plagued him,” admits Grant.

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“You read all this stuff about how I fired him [the director] and recut the movie and all that stuff and it’s simply not the case,” says Grant. “He’s the director of the film, always was and always will be.” On the set, being lead actor, producer, and writer, let alone alleged director, was enough of a burden on Grant; “It’s f—ing exhausting and stressful.”

It’s interesting getting an insight into Grant’s career in the late 90s, when he was a massive star. In the last five years, he has leaned into comedic supporting roles in the likes of Paddington 2 and Dungeons & Dragons. He has also appeared in three Guy Ritchie movies (The Man from UNCLE, The Gentlemen and Operation Fortune) and made a memorable cameo in Glass Onion.

Check out our guide to the best rom-coms.