Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant
Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant at the premiere of Florence Foster Jenkins in LondonJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Going by the trailer of Florence Foster Jenkins, there seems to be a great onscreen chemistry between the film's lead couple, Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep. But the Notting Hill actor revealed recently that it wasn't smooth sailing for him from the word go.

At the film's world premiere in London's Leicester Square, Grant told Press Association that he was terrified ever since he got cast for the role as Streep's agent and partner St Clair Bayfield. "I was terrified of her really and I signed up a year before we shot so I had a whole year of being frightened.

"I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming sometimes, thinking 'I have to do hard emotional scenes against Meryl Streep'. You have to raise your game. She's such an icon, it's very odd to be in her orbit at all," he said.

The Liverpool-shot film tells the story of a wealthy and tone-deaf operatic soprano Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep), who despite widespread ridicule, prepares for a concert at Carnegie Hall with help from pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg).

Speaking about the film, 55-year-old Grant opined, "Someone pointed out to me the other day that in things like Britain's Got Talent they love the people that are really bad almost better than the people who are really good, so hopefully there is an audience for this film here."

Comparing the real Jenkins to today's competition singers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. actor added, "I can't see how she wouldn't have won, she really was a sensation in her day. It's quite something to fill Carnegie Hall when you can't sing a note."

Stephen Frears, who helmed the film, also directed other strong women-centric films like The Queen and Philomena, yet he doesn't intentionally choose films of that kind. "It's unconscious. I dread to think what that says about me, I had a very strong mother," he said during the premiere.

Florence Foster Jenkins will hit UK cinemas on 6 May and will release in the US on 12 August.