In July 1994, he signed a two-year production deal with Castle Rock Entertainment and by October, he became founder and director of the UK-based Simian Films Limited. He appointed his then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Hurley, as the head of development to look for prospective projects. Simian Films produced two Grant vehicles in the 1990s and lost a bid to produce About a Boy to Robert De Niro's TriBeCa Productions.  The company closed its US office in 2002 and Grant resigned as director in December 2005.  Before the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant had reunited with its director Mike Newell for the tragicomedy An Awfully Big Adventure (1995), which was labelled a "determinedly off-beat film" by The New York Times.  He portrayed a bitchy, supercilious director of a repertory company in post-World War II Liverpool. Critic Roger Ebert wrote, "It shows that he has range as an actor", but the San Francisco Chronicle disapproved on grounds that the film "plays like a vanity production for Grant". Janet Maslin, praising Grant as "superb" and "a dashing cad under any circumstances", commented, "For him this film represents the road not taken. Made before Four Weddings and a Funeral was released, it captures Mr. Grant as the clever, versatile character actor he was then becoming, rather than the international dreamboat he is today. " His next role was as a cartographer in 1917 Wales in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995).