Hugh Grant has joked that it was “hurtful” to be cast as a vain actor whose best days are behind him in the new Paddington film.

The Four Weddings And A Funeral star said his role of Phoenix Buchanan, a former thespian who has resorted to doing dog food adverts, highlighted the “impenetrable narcissism” of his profession.

Grant joins the cast for the highly anticipated sequel to the 2014 film and said he had mixed feelings when he first read the part he was being offered.

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He said: “It was hurtful but it came with a lot of money attached.

“It was a very funny script and I hadn’t seen Paddington 1 so I then watched it and laughed and cried and all those things, then I went to meet Paul (King, the director).

“I found him a little weird to be honest but it was a very easy thing to say yes to.”

The actor revealed his part was even named Hugh Grant in early versions of the script, because the writers wanted him so badly for the role.

He added: “It played into all those psychoses of every actor, I think, deep, dark impenetrable narcissism and insecurity and selfishness and greed.”

Paddington 2 Photocall – LondonGrant with his Paddington 2 co-star Hugh Bonneville (Matt Crossick/PA)

One memorable scene in the sequel reveals Buchanan has a room in his house filled with photographs of himself and when asked if he has something similar, Grant joked: “People keep asking me this as if it’s a surprising thing. I thought everyone had this.

“I have some wallpaper with me just in my Y-fronts. I like it. My children like it.”

Paddington 2 is released in UK cinemas on November 10.