High Grant holding up a candle

Hugh Grant Goes Full Villain in New Trailer for A24’s ‘Heretic’

Make no mistake about it: Hugh Grant has always been a grumpy guy. In the latest A24 film Heretic, it seems the actor will finally get a chance to let his demons fully take the wheel.

Recommended Videos

Heretic is the hotly-anticipated new horror thriller movie written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. This is the same creative duo who conceived the story for A Quiet Place and subsequently co-wrote the screenplay with John Krasinski. Together they’ve written and directed three other horror films: Nightlight (2015), Haunt (2019), and 65 (2023). They were also tapped to write the film adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Boogeyman (2023).

A24 released a new trailer for the film on June 25, 2024. Heretic stars Grant as scary stranger Mr. Reed, who invites a couple of Mormon missionaries into his home with nefarious intentions. Soon the young ladies’ faith will be tested in a bizarre maze-like structure of Mr. Reed’s own design.


You may recognize one of the missionaries as Sophie Turner, who starred in the series Yellowjackets and The Book of Boba Fett. Chloe East plays her friend and fellow missionary. Interestingly, both actresses grew up Mormon. (They’ve both since left the church.)

Elle McKinnon, Carolyn Adair, and River Codack also appear. Yet it’s Hugh Grant who fully embraced his inner dark side to bring a certain creepy undercurrent to the trailer. You can see it in the glint in his eye, the tiny spark that lets viewers know that Grant is in on the joke, but he’s very much enjoying making us uncomfortable.

It’s about time!

Grant may be known as the floppy-haired leading man from romantic comedies in the 90s and 2000s, but he’s actually been perfecting the art of being an understated villain this entire time. It’s not difficult to imagine he’s not a fun guy to be around, and rumors about how difficult he is to work with on set (and off) have circulated for decades. Most recently, Entertainment Weekly reported that Grant’s Unfrosted co-star Jerry Seinfeld admitted that he and Grant “had lots of fights.”

“He’s a pain in the a– to work with,” Seinfeld continued. “He’s horrible. He tells you before you work with him, ‘You’re gonna hate this.’ And he’s so right.”

Timothee Chalamet as Willy Wonka and Hugh Grant as an Oompa Lompa in Wonka (Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

Grant seems to revel in his grumpiness, and he’s dabbled in increasingly evil characters for years. He’s one of the rare villains in the Paddington universe, playing the duplicitous actor Phoenix Buchanan in the delightful Paddington 2.

In 2023, he played a surly Oompa Loompa in Wonka, another Paul King-directed confection. While audiences loved his angry turn as a miniature orange prankster, Grant told Metro that he “couldn’t have hated the whole thing more,” half-jokingly adding, “I slightly hate [making films] but I have lots of children and need money.”

Prior bad guy (and bad boy) roles

In recent years, Grant has played the villain in a few films beyond the Paddington and Wonka worlds. He has played low-key bad guys in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves; Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre; and The Gentlemen (2019), though it’s been decades since he appeared as the lead in an actual horror film. He was still in his twenties when he appeared in the little-known 1988 Ken Russell movie The Lair of the White Worm.

You could even argue that Grant played a villain in some of his rom-coms, particularly as the smarmy Daniel Cleaver in the Bridget Jones movies. Grant appeared as the foil to Mark Darcy’s (Colin Firth) love interest in the first two movies, Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), but sat out Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016.) He is slated to reprise his role in the upcoming Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, which will premiere in 2025.

Daniel Cleaver is a divisive character, but ultimately a cad who lets Bridget down over and over. That might not make him evil, but it sure doesn’t make him a hero. With Heretic, it will be nice to see Grant totally lean into the dark side and let that evil flag fly!

When can we see Grant in Heretic?

Heretic is scheduled to be released in United States theaters on November 15, 2024. We’re looking forward to seeing how far the actor will take this character!

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.