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[Commlist] CfP - Celebrity Studies Special Issue: Hugh Grant
Wed Oct 30 13:44:24 GMT 2019
*CALL FOR PAPERS*
Special issue of /Celebrity Studies /Journal, edited by Alice Guilluy
(London Film Academy) and Eleonora Sammartino (Imperial College London)
*Deadline for proposals: 18^th January 2020*
Since his breakthrough role in /Maurice /(J. Ivory, 1987) and his rise
to fame with /4 Weddings and a Funeral/ (M. Newell, 1994), Hugh Grant
has been one of the most popular British actors in the public imaginary.
His continued collaboration with Richard Curtis in the 1990s and early
2000s, in films such as /Notting Hill/ (R. Michell, 1999) and /Bridget
Jones’s Diary/ (S. Maguire, 2001), cemented his fame internationally,
inextricably associated with the romcom genre.
Yet, his career and public persona have undergone a shift in the 2010s.
During a period of self-imposed semi-hiatus from acting, in which the
/tour de force/ playing six different characters in /Cloud Atlas/ (The
Wachowskis and T. Twyker, 2012) represents a notable exception, Grant
has devoted himself to campaigning for the protection of privacy.
Starting with his article in /The New Statesman/ (2011) exposing the
phone hacking practices at /News of the World/ and continuing with his
engagement through “Hacked Off” and Twitter, where he has further
vocally opposed Brexit, Grant has become more closely associated with
political activism. At the same time, his image has been reshaped
through fatherhood, often depicted as the reason behind his career
change in the press.
On the other hand, his acting career has experienced a comeback since
/Florence Foster Jenkins/ (S. Frears, 2015), marking a turn towards more
“serious” roles and a distancing from his former romcom persona. His
roles in /Paddington 2/ (P. King, 2017) and /A Very English Scandal/
(BBC, 2018) have garnered him awards nominations (BAFTAs, Golden Globes,
Emmys among the others) and increasing attention and praise from
audience and critics, who have framed his recent work as a renaissance.
Public interviews in the press and online, such as “Hugh Grant Breaks
Down His Most Iconic Characters” for /GQ/ (2018) or “/The Hollywood
Reporter/ Drama Actor Roundtable” for the Emmys (2019) have further
reinforced the reappraisal of his own career and the self-reconstruction
of his persona.
Whereas Grant’s work has been explored with regards to the intersection
of national identity and masculinity in contemporary transatlantic
romantic comedy (Honess Roe 2009; Higson 2011), little academic work has
been conducted on his star image. We thus seek original 7-8000 words
essays that explore Grant’s stardom through an interdisciplinary
approach, with a focus on the (self)production and reception of his
persona across media for a special issue of /Celebrity Studies/
(prospective publication in December 2022).
*Topics that the articles may address include, but are not limited to:*
* the self-reflective reconstruction narrative in his career, as in
the “Iconic Characters Breakdown” interview for /GQ/ (2018);
* performing as himself on film and TV (/I’m Still Here/, /W1A/, etc.);
* Grant and his on-/off-screen relationship with co-stars (Whishaw,
Streep, McDowell, etc.);
* discourses of legitimization and renaissance through dramatic roles
vs. his previous work in romcoms;
* Hugh Grant as a political celebrity (privacy campaigning, hacking
exposé, Brexit, etc.);
* Hugh Grant’s online presence;
* gender politics, romance and the reception of Grant's romcom work;
* intersectional explorations of masculinity and representation in his
* Britishness and nostalgia in the discourses surrounding the landmark
anniversaries of /4 Weddings and a Funeral/ (and its “Comic Relief”
sequel) and /Bridget Jones’s Diary/;
* Grant’s enduring popularity as a romcom icon and fandom;
* Hugh Grant’s work on TV (/A Very English Scandal/, the upcoming /The
* ageing and belated fatherhood;
* the tension between reinvention and sameness in his recent work.
Please send proposals of 300 words and 50-words bio to Alice Guilluy and
Eleonora Sammartino at (hgrantstardom /at/ gmail.com)
<mailto:(hgrantstardom /at/ gmail.com)> by 18^th January 2020.
Grant, H., 2011. ‘The Bugger, Bugged’, /The New Statesman/, 12 April.
Higson, A., 2011. /Film England: Culturally English Filmmaking since the
1990s/. London: I.B. Tauris.
Honess Roe, A., 2009. A ‘Special Relationship’? The Coupling of Britain
and America in Working Title’s Romantic Comedies. In Abbot S, Jermyn D
(eds.), /Falling in Love Again: The Contemporary Romantic Comedy/.
London; New York: I.B. Tauris, 79-91.
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