By Arthur Flynn
One of Hugh Grant’s most successful films, Four Weddings and a Funeral, propelled him from British stiff-upper-lipped roles in films such as Bitter Moon (1992) and Remains of the Day (1993) into a major comedy actor on both sides of the Atlantic.
Richard Curtis, Mike Newell and the producers began the casting process for the film in 1992. Despite the fact that funding from backers fell through they continued scouting for actors. About 70 actors auditioned for the main role of Charles before Hugh Grant finally succeeded.
The film, directed by Newell in 1993, was from leading screenwriter Richard Curtis who was responsible for many popular television series including Blackadder. The production had a tight budget of £2.8 million and had a tight shooting schedule and had to be shot in 36 days.
The budget was so rigid that the extras had to wear their own clothes for the wedding scenes, while Rowan Atkinson was retained as the Vicar for two of the weddings to avoid having to pay another actor.
The moving script was set at a variety of social functions where Grant and the other leading actors are in attendance. Curtis got the idea for the film from the number of weddings he had attended. In 11 years, he had attended 65 different weddings.
Finally, the casting was concluded. The other leading actors included James Fleet as Tom, Simon Callow as Gareth, Kristin Scott Thomas as Fiona, John Hannah as Matthew, Rowan Atkinson as Father Gerard, David Bower as David and Charlotte Coleman as Scarlett.