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12/10/2014 11:41 am ET Updated Dec 10, 2014

Hugh Bonneville's Funny Story About Julia Roberts' Million-Dollar Ad-Libbing In 'Notting Hill'

Before Hugh Bonneville graced our TV screens as the dashing Lord Grantham on "Downton Abbey," he made a small appearance in the British rom-com "Notting Hill," opposite Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

In a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday, the "Paddington" actor revisited his scene, in which his character innocently asks Roberts (whose character is, unbeknownst to him, a blockbuster actress) about her paycheck per film, expecting a modest figure. She then replies with a number in the tens of millions, a figure the mega-star came to as a result of her own experiences. Bonneville explained:

When she says $15 million, that's the third take of her close-up. When we did rehearsals in the script, it said $10 million. In rehearsal she changed it to 12, and then suddenly she changed it to 15. And I said, after we finished, 'Out of interest, why did you change it?' She said, 'I'm kind of tired of lowballing!'

But the timing of the remark was hardly coincidental, as "a week later it was announced she was doing 'Erin Brockovich' for some huge amount of money," Bonneville recalled.

That huge amount of money would be $20 million, a figure that earned Roberts a place in history as the first film actress to earn such a large paycheck.

Watch more from Hugh Bonneville's conversation with HuffPost Live here.

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