The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The business behind an affair

Los Angeles, Nov. 20: It may look like love but the couple seen kissing passionately on a Manhattan street have driven the American media into a frenzy of excitement about what is really going on in their relationship.

For although this kiss was for the film cameras on the set of Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock’s new picture, it has not stopped the detailed chronicling of the rise and fall of a love match that the two involved maintain was confined purely to the cinema screen.

First Grant and Bullock were supposedly to have fallen in love on the set of their new romantic comedy Two Weeks’ Notice, then it was they had split up, that he still loved her, now they are apparently arguing like “cats and dogs”.

Speculation has become so intense that yesterday the film crew shooting the feature in New York poked fun at the rumours around the production.

Signs stuck on their back proclaimed “Hugh hates Sandy”, “They both sound horrible” and “Hugh loves Sandy” with a giant cross struck through it.

The furore says much about the modern realities of marketing. In the modern age, the success of a film has as much to do with what has appeared in the gossip columns prior to its release as anything the critics might say after seeing it.

A good romance between the stars can generate millions from viewers wanting to see the passion replayed on screen but if everyone knows the lovers hate each other then few can believe the tender glances and kisses.

Therefore, studio heads were worried after the New York Post ran a piece that word “was not good” on the picture. The paper’s gossip columnist wrote that the “utter lack of chemistry” between Bullock and Grant was adding to the problem. The stars seemed bemused by the whole circus, having denied they were anything else but colleagues.

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